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July 20, 2014

Cucumber salad with roasted lemon, mint and basil dressing {vegan, gluten-free}

Thinly sliced cucumber dressed with roasted lemon, mint and basil. #vegan #glutenfree

What happens when you roast a lemon? It morphs from a fruit that's impossibly sour, to one that's improbably sweet. Squeeze the juice from that sweet lemon and blend it with bright, fresh herbs and fruity olive oil, and you create a salad dressing that's a little bit magical. For this simple salad, I sliced a seedless English cucumber into paper-thin slices on the mandoline, drizzled it with the dressing, and let it sit for 15 minutes so some of the dressing seeped into the cucumber. Try this with zucchini, or beets, or thin slices of boiled potato, or nectarines. I had some dressing left over, and slathered it on grilled salmon -- and yes, it was perfect.

Dress thinly sliced cucumber with the juice of a roasted lemon, and fresh herbs.

Cucumber salad with roasted lemon, mint and basil dressing

From the pantry, you'll need: lemons, extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar or honey, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

For the dressing:
1 lemon
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp agave nectar or honey, or to taste
2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh basil
1 tsp roughly chopped fresh mint
Pinch each of kosher salt and fresh black pepper

For the salad:
1 large seedless (English) cucumber

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the lemon into quarters, and place cut side up in the baking dish. Roast for 12-14 minutes, until the edges of the lemon wedges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a couple of minutes.

Using a mandoline, or a very sharp knife, slice the cucumber into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices on a platter.

Into a small food processor or blender, squeeze the juice from the roasted lemon quarters.  Add the remaining ingredients for the dressing, adjusting with more agave or  honey, salt, and pepper to taste.

Pour the dressing over the cucumber. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. Don't let it sit longer, or the salt in the dressing will begin to draw the liquid out of the cucumber, and you'll have a watery salad.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More salads with lemon in the dressing:
Composed salad with lemon-yogurt dressing
Salmon and greens salad with buttermilk lemon-thyme dressing
Chickpea, quinoa and spinach salad with preserved lemon vinaigrette
Lemon-caper broccoli slaw salad

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Whipped ricotta with lemon and olive oil, from Joy the Baker
Lemony olive oil banana bread, from 101 Cookbooks
Lemon olive oil pound cake, from A Cozy Kitchen
Caramelized Brussels sprouts with lemon and olive oil, from The Naptime Chef
Greek style roasted potatoes, from Copykat.com

Cucumber salad with roasted lemon, mint and basil dressing. #vegetarian #glutenfree

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Comments

Well, this looks perfect for the freshly picked cucumbers I just got from the farm. Already dreaming of lunch!

TW, I'm jealous of your cucumbers!

I love the idea of roasted lemon! Garden cucumbers are just starting to come on here, can't get enough of them!

Roasted lemon! Now that's the next experiment on my list, now that local cukes are just coming in. And then the beets waiting for a destination - sounds amazing.

Kalyn, I beg my gardening friends for cukes at this time of year.

Susan, the dressing is great on cold, thinly sliced beets. Enjoy!

Roasting a lemon...what a genius idea! I have to give this a try. Cucumbers are a staple in my pantry all summer.

As soon as I have cucumbers in the garden... this looks great! And you can have some of mine - once they come in, I will be up to my eyeballs in cukes.

Janel, you'll find lots of ways to use this dressing!

Julia, it's a deal -- I'm coming for them!

Love all the flavors in your cucumber salad Lydia - so fresh and light!

Jeanette, thanks! I've been trying this roasted lemon dressing on other vegetables, and it's a winner.

This salad is very delicious! Plus it's gluten free and purely vegan.

Just wanted to let you know: After the Labor Day burgers and chickens and weiners were done, I commandeered the coals to grill not-quite-ripe nectarines and peaches for ice cream dessert plus LOTS of lemon! I halved them lengthwise and let them brown, cut-side down. Some were immediately squeezed over the dessert, but most were snuck inside to cool and become a freezer stash.
My brother and others were skeptical of grilled fruit for dessert (so uninformed!) but gave up after the first bite. And the grilled lemon? Heavenly!!! Even toddlers and kindergarteners were angling for more.

Thanks so much for reminding me of this wonderful new treatment of a pantry staple: Fresh lemon.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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