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Posted on: June 13, 2019 at 11:59 am
Last updated: July 29, 2019 at 5:46 pm

With the summer heat rolling in, everyone is looking for ways to cool off and stay hydrated. Many people dislike plain water or aren’t in the habit of drinking it. Fortunately, many foods contain a high-water content, such as celery, tomatoes, and spinach.

However, the vegetable with the highest water content is the humble cucumber, which is about 96% water. [1] Here’s a salad recipe featuring this nourishing vegetable in an easy and creamy dish.

The Health Benefits of Cucumber

Besides aiding in hydration, cucumbers are rich in other health benefits.

  • High in nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium [2]
  • Rich in antioxidants [3], which fight free radicals that contribute to chronic illnesses such as [9]:
    • Cancer
    • Heart disease
    • Lung disease
    • Autoimmune disease  
  • Aids weight loss, for two reasons:
    • It’s low in calories.
    • Aids in proper hydration which benefits our metabolism. [4]
  • Hydration, as mentioned, helps the body function optimally and reduces strain on the cardiovascular system and central nervous system. [5]
  • Its antioxidant capacity may help prevent diabetes-related complications due to oxidative stress. [6]
  • Supports digestive health [7]
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Best of all, cucumbers are tasty and versatile. They can be chopped into green salads, served with hummus, infused into water for a refreshing twist, or pickled at home. Today’s recipe brings this nutritious food into the spotlight it well deserves.

Sour Cream Cucumber Salad

This recipe is a perfect summer dish, whether it’s enjoyed at a picnic, barbeque, pot-luck, or even inside during a sun shower. It’s bound to please the picky eaters who have yet to discover the deliciousness of this vegetable.

For alternative options, including vegan and “healthier” variations, see the notes below.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 medium-sized cucumbers, peeled if desired and thinly sliced
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced thinly and separated into rings

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the sour cream, apple cider vinegar, honey, and pepper until well-blended.
  2. Add the cucumbers and onions, and toss until coated with the sour cream dressing.
  3. Cover and refrigerate the salad for at least 4 hours.
  4. Served with a slotted spoon for easy plating.

The Herb Version

If you prefer a more herbal flavor, add dill to the recipe.

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Simply mix ¼ cup of freshly snipped dill into the sour cream sauce, add the cucumbers and onion rings, and continue the recipe as directed.

Vegan Option

For a vegan version of this dish, here are a few options to substitute the dairy sour cream.

  1. Make your own homemade sour cream:  
    • Simply, soak 1 ½ cups cashews overnight in ¾ cups of water.
    • The next morning, drain the water and blend the cashews with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of sea salt.
    • Use this sour cream in this recipe as directed, or in other recipes if desired.
    • For more details about this recipe, check out this post on Oh She Glows.
  2. For those who can’t wait for cashews to soak overnight, a quicker option is coconut milk.
    • Take a chilled can of full-fat coconut milk and skim the cream off the top.
    • Blend 1 cup of coconut cream with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
    • Use the coconut “sour cream” as directed in the recipe.
  3. For those with limited cooking time can use a ready-made store-bought vegan sour cream from your local grocery or health food store.

Instead of honey, use 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar.

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Lower Carb and Higher Protein Option

For a lower-calorie version of this recipe, swap the sour cream for Greek yogurt, which has a higher protein content and typically lower in fat and calories. Greek yogourts are available unsweetened with a range of milk fat percentages, usually from 0-5%, but they can go higher too (hint: the higher the percentage, the tastier – but you knew that).   

If you prefer a zero-calorie substitute use an all-natural, sugar-free sweetener like Lankanto, which is made from erythritol and monk fruit.  

Note: Diet-friendly versions of foods may not always be the right choice depending on the individual and their goals. Every person’s body is different in how it responds to certain foods, and every calorie is different, depending on what it came from. [8] In the end you have to do you.

So choose whichever version of Sour Cream Cucumber Salad that best fits your tastes and your body’s needs. Either way, it’s bound to be a delicious and satisfying way to beat the heat this summer.

  1. Contribution of Water from Food and Fluids to Total Water Intake: Analysis of a French and UK Population Surveys https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5084017/
  2. Cucumber, peeled, raw https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2440/2
  3. In Vivo Antioxidant Properties of Lotus Root and Cucumber: A Pilot Comparative Study in Aged Subjects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26193861
  4.  Effects of changes in hydration on protein, glucose and lipid metabolism in man: impact on health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14681716
  5.  Hydration and physical performance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17921463
  6.  Protective mechanisms of Cucumis sativus in diabetes-related models of oxidative stress and carbonyl stress https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4916550/
  7.  Water, Hydration and Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
  8.  There’s no sugar-coating it: All calories are not created equal https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/theres-no-sugar-coating-it-all-calories-are-not-created-equal-2016110410602
  9.  Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/
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Sarah Biren
Founder of The Creative Palate
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender. Her blog The Creative Palate shares the nutrition and imagination of her recipes for others embarking on their journey to wellbeing.

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