This Sweet and Spicy Smashed Cucumber Salad is an easy, healthy, and light side dish that takes cucumbers from bland to fabulous. Slightly sweet and spicy, garlicky, and fresh, it’s surprisingly addictive yet very healthy (vegan, Paleo, and refined sugar-free).
– Persian cucumbers – Peaches – Garlic cloves – Red pepper flakes, – Red wine vinegar – Pure maple syrup – Extra virgin olive oil – Kosher salt – Black pepper – Pine nuts – Golden raisins – Fresh basil leaves
Smash the cucumbers. Using the back of a heavy knife, smash down on each cucumber using the widest part of the blade (similar to smashing down on a garlic clove to remove its peel) until the cucumber cracks open into a few pieces.
Using your hands, tear the smashed cucumbers into rough chunks. Place the cucumber chunks in a colander and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. Place the colander on top of a bowl. Allow the cucumbers to rest for at least 15 minutes, or up to 1 hour. Discard any liquid collected in the bowl.
Toast the pine nuts. To toast pine nuts, add them to a dry skillet over medium-low heat and toss occasionally until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Make the Sweet and Spicy Vinaigrette. Crush the garlic cloves. Add them to a bowl, along with the red pepper flakes, vinegar, and maple syrup. Whisk to combine, then stream in the olive oil, whisking as you go.
Slice the peaches (don’t slice earlier, as they tend to bruise). Add the sliced peaches to the cucumbers, and then toss them with the Sweet and Spicy Vinaigrette.
Top with the toasted pine nuts, golden raisins and slivered basil. Taste, and adds salt and pepper as needed.