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).
5-6mini Persian cucumbers(or 1 large English cucumber)
2-3ripe but firm peaches,sliced
Sweet and Spicy Vinaigrette
½teaspoonred pepper flakes,plus more to taste
2tablespoonsred wine vinegar
1teaspoonpure maple syrup
2tablespoonsgood-quality extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
One handful of fresh basil leaves,slivered
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.1. NOTE: If using a large English cucumber, cut the cucumber into three segments before smashing.
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.
Meanwhile, 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.
Meanwhile, 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. Season to taste with salt and pepper.1. Alternatively, add all of the ingredients to a jar, close the lid, and shake up the jar until the dressing is emulsified.
Add the drained cucumbers to a large serving bowl.
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.