Cucumber and Hakurei Turnip Salad

June 15, 2011 · 14 comments

in asian,dairy-free,healthy,salads

A lot of people probably think that cucumbers are a weird food to like, but I’ve always loved them.  They’re my favorite part of a Greek salad (besides the feta, obviously), I could put tzatziki on anything, and I always appreciate the sliced cucumbers on the veggie trays, way more than I  care for the carrots (or cauliflower, ick). Although they’re  not exactly the most flavorful food on the planet, they are cool, crisp, and refreshing, and what’s not to love about that?

I’ve been dreaming up all sorts of different cucumber salads lately–ones with radishes, ones with creamy yogurt dressing. But, when I picked up my first CSA basket last week, I came face-to-face with the Hakurei turnip. The amount of things I’ve made with turnips is not exactly exhaustive so I wasn’t initially sure what to do with them. The farmer told me these particular turnips are best eaten raw. Seemed easy enough for me.

The Hakurei turnips were delicious. They kind of reminded me of jicama, in that they are just a bit sweet and starchy.  They pair great with cucumbers and would add a nice crispness to any salad, really.

I used my mandoline to slice the cucumbers and turnips thinly and quickly, but you obviously don’t need to do that. I was just looking for an excuse to unearth the mandoline from the back of my cabinet. I think sliced red onions would be a great addition to this salad but, unfortunately I didn’t have any around.

Cucumber and Hakurei Turnip Salad

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1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
4 Hakurei or other salad turnips, thinly sliced
1.25 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1.25 tsp. sugar
a couple dashes of soy sauce
1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp. sesame seeds
salt and pepper

Place the sliced cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.  Let them sit for about 20 minutes, and get rid of any excess moisture (draining, patting, squeezing, etc.) Mix together with the sliced turnips.

While the cucumbers are sitting, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, ginger,  red pepper flakes if using, sesame seeds, and a little black pepper to taste.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the drained cucumbers and turnips and stir to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Banana Wonder June 15, 2011 at 11:16 pm

This says super refreshing to me. Love the sesame seeds on top too. Good for you and your CSA bounty!

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Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul June 16, 2011 at 1:24 am

I love cucumbers too! ( I laughed at the cauliflower comment). This looks lovely and fresh and great Japanese flavours too Elly.

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Joanne June 16, 2011 at 4:29 am

Gotta say, I’ve never really fallen for the cucumber. It’s ALRIGHT but it’s not my favorite. I might change my mind after tasting this salad. I do love a good Asian-infused dressing!

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bellini June 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

This is such a refreshing salad Elly. Roll on summer!!!!!!!!!

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Natalie June 16, 2011 at 10:42 am

Thanks for this! We’ve gotten a few bunches of those turnips, too, and I was never sure what to do with them! I’ll for sure try this salad. Another idea I saw was to slice them thin, coat them with spices and roast them in the oven to make “chips”. I love any kind of roasted vegetable so those were easy to like. :)

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Stephanie June 16, 2011 at 11:28 am

I love cucumbers too! This salad sounds really good — nice and refreshing!

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Claudie June 17, 2011 at 7:14 am

I love cucumbers too! They play important part in one of the most traditional Bulgarian salads too (“Shopska”) and, as a child, my mother would often serve them to me sliced (in 4 or 6) as a snack with just a small dash of salt on top. Great substitute to baby carrots I’d say ;)
Anyway, I really like your recipe (as I’m a big turnip fan too) :) It’s a really good way to get some variety in!

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Cara June 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Love how fresh and simple this is – what a great way to showcase your summer veggies!

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Katie June 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I could eat tsatziki on anything, too! But this looks like a delicious (and different) way to use cucumbers. Yum!

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Kim June 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm

We’re having this salad for dinner tonight…. if there is any left after my “taste-testing.” Delish!

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