Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cucumber, Daikon Crunch Salad

I have a huge crop of cherry tomatoes from my garden this year, so I am looking for new ways to serve them. I also happen to love the combination of cucumbers and tomatoes, but I did not want the classic Greek salad so
I went a different route. 

I really like the mix of crisp, sweet, spicy radish, and nutty seeds. Especially on a sunny day. So here is my simple and quick salad. 

1 cup of peeled and chopped Daikon radish. This radish is usually overlooked in the grocery store. It is in the oriental section. It is very mild and is very easy to work with. Because it is so big it is much easier to clean and prep than the little radishes we are more familiar with. Just cut a piece off, Peel it and cut it up, and it is ready to use.

 The next ingredient I have used is chopped baby cucumbers. Now you do not have to use the baby cucumbers because they are rather expensive, you can use regular English cucumber, but the baby cucumbers are just so sweet and good. If you can get them on sale or get a deal on them they are well worth the price. They are great to take in your lunch too. Just the right size for snacking. 

I used about a cup of chopped cucumber, but the recipe is very flexible you can add however much you like. You can change the amount of whatever vegetable are your favourites. 

I then added about a cup or more of cherry tomatoes, as I said these amounts are not exact and can be changed to suit your needs. I happen to have lots of tomatoes to use right now, so I probably used more tomatoes.

I love pears in a fresh salad so I chopped up a fresh pear, and squeezed on the juice of half a lemon to keep it from turning brown. I then tossed it in the salad bowl. 

One of the things I do to get my husband to eat salads is to add nuts & or seeds to the salads. When I add nuts and seeds he seems much more inclined to eat salad. I always toast my seeds first, to bring out the nutty flavour.  This is one step that you must be very careful doing. It is not hard it is just one of those things you set a timer for and do not leave the kitchen as nuts and seeds burn easily. I usually toast mine in the toaster oven or the oven, but they can be done on the stove top too. Which ever is easier for you at the time. For this day I already had the oven on to cook my ribs so I just slipped the pumpkin seeds in a little pan and popped them into the oven for about ten minutes. This step brings out all of the nutty flavour and freshens them.
I usually add my nuts and seeds to my salad just before tossing so they do not get soft or soggy and so they stay nice and crunchy.

They only step left is to mix up your homemade dressing. In a small bowl mix together 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup agave syrup, 1/4 tsp salt & pepper or to taste, 1/2 tsp dried lemon peel or fresh peel. Mix together all of these ingredients. Pour the dressing over the salad and let it marinate. You could use other vinegars in your recipe, but once you try the white balsamic you will be hooked just like me. It is smooth like red balsamic, but it is not as strong as red balsamic. Another alternative would be white wine vinegar. I have had a problem finding the white balsamic. I finally found it at Thrifty Foods which is part of the Sobey Foods Chain. I also used the lemon juice from the other half of the lemon that was used on the pear. (I could have used the lemon zest from the lemon rather than dried lemon peel, but I was tired and this was a quick salad). 

For this meal I have served the salad as a side to baked baby back ribs and baby red potatoes. It was a very satisfying meal. The salad is packed with flavour and nutrients. 

Cucumber, Daikon Crunch Salad

1 cup chopped, peeled Daikon radish
1 cup chopped baby cucumber
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 pear, chopped & squeezed with lemon
1 lemon, cut in half
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds, roasted


1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup agave or honey
1/4 tsp salt & pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp dried lemon peel or 1 tbsp fresh peel
juice of 1/2 lemon

Mix together all salad ingredients after they are prepped as per list. Mix together all dressing ingredients and whisk. Add to salad when ready to serve. Salad will keep for a few days in refrigerator. 



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