20 Creative and Cost-Effective Cucumber Recipes
Cucumber recipes, like rhubarb recipes, play a large part in the summer menus of many families. They grow prevalently in home gardens, provide a fresh addition to dinner plates, and can even be used for basic skin care. These twenty cost-effective cucumber recipes represent my list of favorites. (See also: 5 Ways to Preserve Zucchini)
One of my favorite ways to cut calories when preparing party food is to use sliced European cucumbers in place of bread. I use whatever spread or topping I would normally use, but I create cucumber canapés instead of ones that are loaded with carbs. One fun recipe I use to top the cucumber slices is canned salmon dip. It’s a hit at parties and relatively affordable to make.
2. Thai Cucumber Salad
If you prefer a bit of Asian flair with your side dishes, then this Thai cucumber salad featured in the Washington Post should serve you well. It’s light, perfect for summer, and pairs well with rice and grilled meat entrees.
3. Eye Gel
I’m always on the lookout for multi-purpose beauty products, and cucumbers are certainly on the list. Easy enough to slice and use for puffy eye relief, cucumbers can also be pureed and used to create other spa treatments as well, such as a homemade cucumber eye gel. Use it to soothe the general eye area while relaxing after a long day.
4. Classic Cucumber Sandwich
If you’re like me and constantly searching for fun sandwich ideas, then consider enjoying a bit of English fare with these cucumber sandwiches from the Paupered Chef. They’re great for an afternoon tea or dinner when you just don’t feel up for a heavy meal.
Do you prefer simple freezer treats with a bit of elegance? This cucumber granita is fine on its own or as an accent to serve with a chilled tomato gazpacho. Vegetable granitas aren’t what I typically think of, but this is definitely an interesting take I’ll be trying soon.
6. Flavored Water
One way to supplement your family’s frugal fitness plan is to prepare your own exercise beverages. Certainly water is the one we know we should be drinking the most of, but the flavor of plain tap water does get to be a drag. That’s why creating your own flavored water with things like cucumbers, lemon, and other produce is a great alternative. You get a light addition of flavor without a ton of extra calories, and the cost is negligible.
Trying to plan a classy date dinner on a shoestring budget? Consider a cucumber mousse. Mousses are elegant, sophisticated, and typically short on ingredients, making them the ultimate gourmet meal addition for cooks trying to keep things frugal.
8. Fresh Relish
When planning your backyard barbecues this summer, try a cucumber relish to liven things up. It will bring a welcome change from the expected mango salsa when you serve grilled fish and make a fun condiment for grilled chicken breast.
As fans of international cuisines, we are constantly trying various ethnic recipes out in our kitchen. One that my husband remembers fondly from his time in Turkey is tzatziki sauce. Made from yogurt, cucumber, and a few other ingredients, it’s great to enjoy with fresh flatbread and grilled chicken kabobs.
For those who enjoy summer cocktails, an interesting way to spruce them up is with fresh herbs and produce. That’s why I especially enjoy recipes like this cucumber cocktail or an herbed beer drink. Summer cocktails don’t necessarily have to be sweet and syrupy.
12. Refrigerator Pickles
One of my favorite salad add-ins is a nice crisp pickle. While you can certainly purchase them, those who have a home garden and a ton of extra cucumbers can craft their own refrigerator pickles on the cheap.
13. Potato Chip Replacement
When I want something crunchy without all of the fat, I slice a three-pack of Euro cucumbers into thin rounds and use them in place of chips with a homemade dip. Choose one such as a clam dip or hummus, and snack away.
14. Savory Soup
Feeling brave? This cucumber soup is an interesting addition to any summer menu. Try some with a loaf of crusty French bread, your favorite soup garnishes, and a bottle of white wine. This would make for a fun menu when dining with friends for the afternoon by the pool.
15. Face Mask
If you’re someone who’s used to making beauty products at home, then this cucumber face mask just might make your new short list of treatments to try. It’s cool, refreshing, and great for the skin. It’s also incredibly inexpensive.
Who says fruit is the only thing that gets to be made into a frozen treat? These salty cucumber ice pops provide a crisp alternative to the traditional sugary version of popsicles. If you don’t have popsicle molds, consider using your ice cube trays to create miniature versions of the same thing.
17. Baked and Stuffed
I have to admit, baked stuffed cucumbers weren’t something I’d ever even heard of before, let alone considered preparing for dinner. However, I’m always up for something unusual, and these look like they’d be fun to add to my list of summer dinners.
Smoothies make great, healthy drinks provided they are not overly loaded with sugar. That's why this cucumber spa smoothie recipe caught my attention. Enjoy one after your warm-weather workouts to replenish and refresh.
19. Cucumber Casserole
While not exactly the vegetable I go to first when planning a dinner casserole, the truth is cucumbers can in fact be used for such a purpose. This cucumber casserole recipe from Suite 101 provides a place to start.
20. Nosh on Some Noodles
One of the most creative ways I found to experience this cheap summer food is to shave the vegetable into cucumber noodles that can be enjoyed with simple herbs and other seasonings. This is a great way to have a pasta experience that’s low on carbs and high on style.
Do you have any favorite cucumber recipes that haven’t made this list? Feel free to link to them in the comment section below.