Cucumber Salad with Yogurt-Poppy Seed Dressing
I don’t feel like cooking every night. Gasp. I know. I write a food blog, right? I should want to cook every minute of every day!
But to all my teacher friends out there. You love teaching, but don’t even try to tell me that you want to be surrounded by 2nd graders and math textbooks every minute of the day. And construction workers, I’m sure it feels amazing to have a day off when nobody asks you to put this 2 x 4 next to that 2 x 4. So no judgement please. Sometimes I just want to keep it simple.
This cucumber salad comes from those kinds of nights. It’s also sort of nostalgic for me. Cucumber salad always brings me back to my parent’s kitchen table in the summer time. Windows open, breeze coming in through the screened in porch, peepers just starting their racket from the pond across the street. And cucumber salad. I don’t remember (sorry, mom), if we ate cucumber salad with a yogurt dressing or not, but I do remember complaining that it wasn’t right when there were no poppy seeds and devouring three servings of it in one sitting.
This kind of salad works with any entree you serve next to it. Cucumber salad is crisp, light and colorful and if you are one of those “I’ll eat salad but no lettuce please” folks, this is for you. I’ve served it with meatloaf, with chicken tikka masala, with ribs, and with chickpeas and naan. Really. It goes with anything. And if you didn’t gather from my schpeel about not-feeling-it-cooking-nights, cucumber salad is easy.
I make a lot of homemade dressings. *Cue Dos Equis guy voice* I don’t always make creamy dressings. But when I do, I use yogurt. And it’s perfect with cucumber salad.
Jokes and voice-overs aside, I love using plain, Greek yogurt in dressings. It’s an amazing base for every flavor profile I’ve ever want to play with. It’s a neutral color and flavor with just enough tartness and the almost-perfect consistency. Lemon juice and cold water are usual additions, and then play with any number of other ingredients (Sriracha, soy sauce, smoked paprika, herbs, or in this case, poppy seeds). I make a spicy, Mexican-style crema and this lemony tzatziki at least a couple of times a month. In fact, I make so many versions of Greek yogurt dressing, I am thinking about making a short video tutorial on how to make a few of them. What do you think?
- 2 English cucumbers, halved, seeded, sliced into half moons
- 1/2 cup red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup plain, Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon dry or 1 teaspoon fresh dill
- pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- cold water
- Place cucumbers in a collander over the sink. Toss with 1 tablespoon of salt. Let drain 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and pat dry.
- In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, honey, poppy seeds, dill, salt and pepper until smooth. Add water too loosen dressing if needed (you want the dressing to be thick enough to coat a spoon but loose enough that it doesn't glob on).
- Add cucumbers and red onion. Toss gently to combine.
- Refrigerate until ready to eat.