Cucumber Dill Salad

Cucumbers have always been one of my favorite vegetables. My mom tells me that one of my first words was “More”. She would give me slices of cucumbers and peppers, and I would say “More!” I guess I was meant to be vegan! I’ve always loved veggies.┬áThis recipe definitely showcases cucumbers, which is probably why I like it so much.

Cucumber Dill Salad

When I used to work at a farm market, we made a cucumber salad very similar to this one. It’s a simple and fresh salad that goes perfectly with summery barbecues. If you’ve never had a similar cucumber salad, just imagine fresh pickles. The vinegar, dill, and sugar give the cucumbers a sweet and sour pickle taste while keeping the crunchiness of the fresh cucumbers. I found some pickling cucumbers at a local farmers market that looked really good, so I decided to use those, but you can use regular cucumbers as well.

Ingredients:

3 cucumbers
1/2 small white or yellow onion
3/4 cup vinegar
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp dried dill

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and dill. Whisk until well combined.
  • Thinly slice the cucumbers. You can peel them first if you prefer, but I usually leave the peels on. Thinly slice the onion. Place the onion and cucumbers in the mixing bowl. Toss to coat with the liquid.
  • Let the cucumber salad sit for at least an hour or two and preferably overnight. The cucumbers will soften up a little and the flavors will seep in more if it sits overnight.

Homemade Vegan Sorbet – Mango Banana & Watermelon Strawberry Lime Sorbets

For a while now I’ve been thinking about experimenting with making sorbets in my ice cream maker, but I never got around to it until now. It turns out it’s super easy! It’s also much healthier than ice cream, since it’s almost entirely made of fruit. This is a great treat for hot summer days. Now the fun begins experimenting with flavor combinations. The possibilities seem endless! I started simply with a Mango Banana Sorbet. My second attempt included Watermelon, Strawberries, Banana, and Lime. Both turned out really well!

I initially followed directions from the Candle 79 cookbook, which basically gives you some general ratios of ingredients. They include water and a little bit of oil in their sorbets. I eliminated the water right off the bat. I tried the oil in the first batch, but eliminated it in the second batch. I don’t think it’s really necessary to include the oil. You basically want to have about 3 cups of fruit and add about 1/4 of agave. The fruits and agave get blended until smooth and creamy. Then you churn them in your ice cream maker. It’s really that simple.

If you’re going to use just juice, for instance if you’re making a lime, lemon, or grapefruit sorbet, the proportions and directions can change. Sometimes the recipes call for adding water, more sugar or agave, straining the liquid, or boiling part of the mixture first.

I used banana in both recipes because I thought it would help make the sorbet creamier. That may be true, but I’m also finding that the banana flavor overpowers some of the other fruit flavors. In my next batch, I’m going to try making it without banana. If you’re looking for more ideas for flavor combos, check out this Cooking Light Slideshow. I really want to try the Lemonade Iced Tea Sorbet!

Mango Banana Sorbet Ingredients

2 ripe mangos
3 bananas
1/4 cup agave
1 tsp canola or safflower oil (optional)

Mango Banana Sorbet Directions

  • Peel and roughly chop the mangos and bananas.
  • Add the bananas, mango, agave, and oil (optional) to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and let it churn for 1/2 – 1 hour based on your ice cream maker directions.

Watermelon Strawberry Lime Sorbet Ingredients

2 generous cups of chopped watermelon
1 generous cup of chopped strawberries
2 bananas
juice of 3 limes
1/4 cup agave

Watermelon Strawberry Lime Sorbet Directions

  • Chop the watermelon, making sure you remove any seeds. Chop the strawberries and banana, and juice the limes.
  • Add the watermelon, strawberries, banana, lime juice, and agave to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and let it churn for 1/2 – 1 hour based on your ice cream maker directions.