Every year I anxiously watch the cucumber plant in my garden twist, curl, and stretch until it takes over the whole plot. Before I know it the vines are producing more beautiful, fresh veggies than I know what to do with. I love eating cucumbers straight from my garden. They are ridiculously good. Unfortunately, the cucumber isn’t all that versatile. It can’t really be used in baking like it’s zucchini cousin. It can’t be frozen or saved other than making pickles and those really depend on the kind of cucumber you have. I do give away a lot of my harvest but I still end up trying to find ways to incorporate them into our meals.
One of my favorite dishes is this orzo pasta salad with cucumbers and an amazing light lemon/garlic/oil dressing. I LOVE the combo of lemon, garlic, and a good quality olive oil (I use Kirkland organic) especially in the summer. It is so flavorful, but doesn’t feel heavy at all. This dish is a great side, light lunch, or cook-out contribution. It really highlights the fresh cucumber flavor and is easily adjusted to flavor preferences.
I wish there was a way to enjoy garden fresh cucumbers year-round. Living in Michigan, my options are pretty limited. I intend to enjoy it while I can and take advantage of all the locally grown produce during these beautiful last weeks of summer. We love to have this as a side dish with some grilled chicken and cantaloupe.
Pasta – Of course you don’t have to use orzo if you can’t find it. It is a fun little pasta that isn’t seen as commonly and works really well with this dish. My kids love to argue back and forth over if it is actually pasta or rice 🙂 Whole Foods 365 line makes a great, affordable, organic orzo. You can also find it here. Or you can use another small pasta as substitute.
Garbanzo Beans – Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are pretty common among generic organic store brands. They are easy to find and inexpensive. I find them on sale every so often as well.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers are 1 off the Dirty Dozen list of pesticide contamination coming in at #13. Organic cucumbers greatly reduce the exposure to pesticides and are worth it in this case. Of course if you are able to grow your own organic cucumbers – you can ensure there are zero pesticides!
Cucumber Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad
This refreshingly light summer pasta salad is the perfect side dish or quick lunch. The flavors are fantastic and it is a great way to take advantage of freshly grown cucumbers!
- 1 cup Orzo Pasta uncooked
- 1 can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) drain and rinse well
- 1/3 cup Feta Cheese
- 1/4 cup Diced Red Onion
- 1 cup Diced Cucumber
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice fresh squeezed
- 1 clove Garlic crushed
- 1 tsp Dried Dill Weed
- Salt & Pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions. When done cooking, drain and rinse well with cold water.
Drain and rinse garbanzo beans well.
Combine orzo pasta, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, red onion, and cucumber in a large bowl.
In a small bowl or container, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and dill. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Pour over the pasta mixture and gently stir to evenly distribute.
Serve right away or chill in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod.