Cucumber and Rice Noodle Salad

I don’t know about you, but when we’re all at home (and obviously thanks to Covid-19 that is ALL the time right now) I struggle with lunch ideas the most. The other meals and snacks I find I can think up ideas, be creative and non-repetitive, but for some reason lunches often stump me. I guess it’s just one meal too many each day.

However, as I now have plenty of time to get creative with the contents of my fridge and pantry I’m trying to have at least part of each lunch as an exciting, fresh, healthy new idea.

This rice noodle salad is loosely inspired by an Ottolenghi dish; it’s fresh, tasty, easy to make with mainly store cupboard ingredients. Perfect for these days when popping to the shops is a dim and distant memory.

Cucumber Rice Noodle Salad

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

100g rice noodles

1 tbsp olive oil

30ml vinegar

15g caster sugar

1/2 shallot, finely chopped

thumb size piece of ginger, julienned

3 mint leaves, finely shredded

1/4 red chilli, finely chopped

small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)

1/4 cucumber, sliced in half, seeds removed and cut into half moons

  1. Place the noodles in a bowl, pour over boiling water and leave to sit for about 15 minutes
  2. In another bowl combine the sugar, vinegar and shallot. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Add the julienned ginger and finely sliced shallot to the vinegar mix and leave to infuse
  4. Drain the noodles once soft and mix with the olive oil so they don’t clump
  5. Add the chilli, cucumber and noodles to the vinegar mix, stir well and leave for 10 minutes for the flavours to mix
  6. Add the herbs and poppy seeds if using, toss and serve

Cucumber and Pea Salad

IMG_7961I’m not sure about you, but my children struggle with composed salads – they’re fine with lettuce, cucumber etc. but as soon as I make a pretty plateful of mixed salad ingredients they shy away. I can totally understand that some salads can be challenging, but such is my love of eating any kind of salad that I keep on trying – they will one day love them too, I hope!

Anyway, I think a good starting point as to be unchallenging vegetables that are usually enjoyed, where they’d be tempted to at least to try a little (I could at this point mention ‘ratatouille-gate’ which has become part of family folk lore – I served Big S some ratatouille when she was about 2 and a half – she hated it so much that she has never forgotten the mushy tomatoey experience!!). I think most children enjoy peas and cucumber, so that’s the basis of this recipe. D and I love it, the girls actually said it was ‘quite nice’ – result!!

Pea and Cucumber Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

IMG_7962serves 4

  • 2 cups of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/2 bag fresh pea shoots
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

– Place the frozen peas in a bowl and pour over a kettle of boiling water, set aside for about 5-10 minutes to thaw
– Halve the cucumber length-wise, scrape out the seeds with a spoon and cut into fine half moons
– Whisk together the oil, vinegar and seasoning. It has to be very sharp to ouster the sweetness of the peas.
– Drain the peas, combine with the cucumber, chives and dressing.
– Toss well. Taste and add more vinegar or seasoning as required
– Arrange the pea shoots on a platter, pile the cucumber and peas on top, using any remaining vinaigrette to dress the leaves around the edges.
– Sprinkle over a few more chives and serve.

IMG_7964

Tangy Cucumber Salad

I find it really hard to get my children to eat salads – they’re fine with salad vegetables on their own, but combine or dress them and then they’re not keen. Since Big S loves both cucumber and anything with a bit of zing, I thought we’d try a basic marinated cucumber salad. It worked pretty well – maybe this could be the start of her loving salads too?

Tangy Cucumber Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 4 as a side

  • 1 cucumber, halved and deseeded with a spoon.
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
  • 3 tsps caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps cold water
  • pepper
  • bunch of chives (or other herb)

– Slice the cucumber into even semi-circles

– In a large bowl mix together the vinegar, water, sugar and salt until the sugar has dissolved

– Thoroughly toss the the cucumber in the vinegar marinade.

– Season with pepper and scatter over the herbs.

– Leave to marinate for at least an hour before eating.

Cucumber and Poppy Seed Salad

Here’s my first recipe inspired by a recipe in my lovely new Ottolenghi cookbook. It’s certainly a step up from an average, rather bland cucumber salad – there’s nothing flabby and watery about this recipe. Give it a go, these luscious cucumbers will certainly excite your palate.

Cucumber and Poppy Seed Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

This recipe comes from Ottolenghi the Cookbook, with a couple of alterations.

(apologies for the bad photo quality at the moment, our camera has sadly died and I’m having to rely on my phone!)

serves 4 as a side

  • 1 1/2 cucumbers
  • 1 red chilli (must be red for the colour contrast), thinly sliced
  • 30ml wine vinegar
  • 65ml sunflower oil
  • handful of roughly chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • salt and pepper

– Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and using a spoon scoop out the watery seeds. Then cut into thin batons, about 5cm long

– In a large bowl mix together the chilli, vinegar, oil, coriander, poppy seeds, sugar and seasoning. Mix well and taste.

– Toss in the cucumbers and mix well.