Refreshing Cucumber Salad



I’ve been getting tons of cucumbers from the CSA. I juiced some of them this weekend (cucumber mango juice is great!) but I still had some lying around. One of my friends suggested pickling them, but it’s so hot I thought they’d be perfect for a summer evening meal. Throw in some sweet corn and parsley and you get pretty much the easiest salad ever. I had alongside some hummus and pita. And minimal standing in front of the stove time, unless you use dry beans like I did for the hummus, but the pressure cooker allows you to at least go to the next room for a while and escape the hot kitchen!

For the hummus:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (I used dry beans and cooked in pressure cooker but canned is fine, just add less salt)
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup water (or cooking water from pressure cooker if available)
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste
Throw everything in the food processor until it’s smooth and creamy. Garnish with some paprika and parley.
For the salad:
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • crushed red pepper
Toss everything together in a bowl and garnish with some parsley sprigs (for prettiness, of course!)

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Hummus Arepas

I’ve been thinking about making arepas for a while. One of my fave restaurants in New York is Caracas Arepa bar, and every time I go there, I think, “This can’t be so hard to make!” And living in Bushwick, there’s no lack of corn flour in the bodegas around here. So I bought a bag and decided to finally give it a go. Despite a couple speed bumps along the way, they’re pretty simple to make and turned out better than expected for my first try. And so cheap! A 4.5 pound bag of masa corn flour only costs $2.99. I used good old hummus for the filling, my go-to staple food whenever I’m running low on funds and need something nutritious and filling for the week. To top it off I added some spinach and tomatoes from my favorite veggie market in the neighborhood, Angel’s Fruit Market on Knickerbocker and Willoughby. They have the best and cheapest produce I’ve found so far. So overall, pretty cheap meal!

For the hummus:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (I used dry beans, soaked overnight and boiled for about 30min)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup warm water (or cooking water from chickpeas if you still have it lying around)

Process everything up and set aside.

For the arepas, I used this recipe for the dough and used this corn masa mix.

What I found was that I should have flattened the balls out more than the recipe called for because I had to cook them in the oven for twice as long and then eventually I realized they weren’t cooking on the inside and had to cut them in half and leave them in the oven another 15 minutes.

Finally, spread some hummus on each side of the arepa, add some fresh spinach and sliced tomoatoes, and eat like a sandwich.

In the end they turned out delicious. I’m even thinking of having a plain one tomorrow with some vegan butter for breakfast!

Lentil Jalapeno Hummus

I know, lentils and jalapeno again. But since it’s after the holidays and I’m totally broke, I’m trying to use up stuff I have in my cupboard, and hummus is always cheap and easy to make. And I discovered an awesome cheap fruit and vegetable market in my neighborhood that has a million types of peppers. So since I recently started to experiment with hummus made from other beans besides chickpeas (split pea is good too) I thought I’d try lentils because they cook fast and don’t require soaking (great news if you hate canned beans, like me!) And the cumin and jalapeno give it a spicy kick!

I like making a big batch of hummus at the beginning of the week and then I pretty much eat it with anything. Scoop some on a salad, put it in a sandwich, or just with veggies or crackers. It fills you up but isn’t as starchy and carby as chickpeas are.

  • 1 cup dry green lentils boiled in plenty of water with a clove of crushed garlic and pinch of sea salt until soft (about 40 min)
  • 1 jalapeno chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish (optional)

Blend all ingredients in the food processor (it blends better and will come out creamier if you process it right after you cook the lentils) and garnish with parsley.