Growing up, there was a fantastic seafood store just down the street from where we lived. This is considerably more shocking when you consider that this store existed in the fully land-locked state of Ohio. However, I suppose that’s the brilliance of modern transportation, because we would get almost all of our seafood there, and everything they had was delicious. If we were particularly lucky, my mom would pick up some smoked salmon and a yogurt dill sauce they made in-house for appetizers. When she got home, my sister and I would slice cucumber rounds, top them with the sauce and salmon and enjoy these little bite-sized treats before dinner. I was craving that unique flavor combination of the creamy, crisp, and salty, so I decided I would try to whip up my own version. I landed on this cucumber noodle salad, and it was exactly what I was looking for.
As the weather warms up (or tries to at least), it’s nice to have some no-bake, no-cook recipes as part of the mealtime rotation. Of course, my spiralizer addiction shows itself again here (seriously, these things are so much fun), and I made the cucumber noodles by turning a whole cucumber through the spiralizer. I also added some radishes, mostly for color, but also for added crunch and flavor. Certainly, you could slice the cucumbers into rounds and make little cucumber bites out of this, or just chop up the cucumbers into chunks and top with the sauce and salmon if you don’t have a spiralizer.
The sauce is my own take on the yogurt dill sauce we used to find at the seafood shop. To make it, you’ll just need a couple ingredients: plain greek yogurt, feta cheese, dill, and lemon. A quick whir through a food processor will give you just the consistency you want – creamy and thick. In fact, the sauce might come out thicker than you’d expect (it’s more like a dip consistency), but once you toss it with the cucumber noodles, it will thin out as the cucumbers release some water. In my family, it’s always best to err on the side of having more sauce, so if you’re just serving two, you’ll likely have some leftover. Luckily, you can store any extra sauce in the fridge and use it as a fantastic veggie dip for later in the week.
You can find smoked salmon in almost any grocery store (or at your local seafood store… assuming those still exist), but make sure to look for regular smoked salmon, not lox. Traditional smoked salmon has the firmer texture you want, while lox has a softer, chewier texture that won’t hold up as well in this dish. I used a smoked salmon with lemon and pepper, and it was the perfect complement to the flavors in the dish.
In case you’re curious, I used the regular noodle blade on my spiralizer to make the cucumber noodles, but just the flat slicing blade to make the radish curls. They were just too pretty to pass up! Larger radishes are certainly easier to work with (and particularly fatter ones!). If you’re just cubing the cucumbers to make a chopped salad, I’d recommend thinly slicing the radishes or cutting them into small matchsticks before tossing everything together.
I’m a little behind on my recipe posting, so I actually didn’t mean to post this on Mother’s Day, it worked out for the best, as this recipe is inspired by the appetizers my Mom would whip up for us, and I know she’d love this dish. If you can’t have a meal cooked by your Mom, a meal inspired by your Mom seems like the next best thing!
Cucumber Noodle Salad with Smoked Salmon
Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2 (makes enough sauce for 2-4)
1 English (seedless) cucumber
3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 packed teaspoons fresh dill
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 oz smoked salmon
Additional dill and lemon zest for topping, optional
Spiralize your cucumber (I like to cut the cucumber in half before using the spiralizer), or cut into bite-sized chunks for a more chopped salad feel. Set aside in a colander to drain for a few minutes while you prep the radishes and yogurt sauce. Spiralize your radishes (cutting of each end so it’s flat before beginning, and using the flat blade on your spiralizer) or thinly slice them. Set aside.
In a small food processor, combine yogurt, feta cheese, dill, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Pulse until fully blended (mine still had a few small chunks of feta, but I liked the added texture). The sauce will likely look very thick, but will thin out as you toss with the cucumbers and they release their water.
Divide the cucumber and radishes into two bowls. Toss with a generous dollop of the sauce. I used about 1/3 of the sauce for each bowl, and saved the remaining third for another meal. Add smoked salmon and garnish with dill and lemon zest.
Store any leftovers in the fridge separately (if you’re only making one meal, I’d suggest waiting to toss the veggies and sauce together until you’re ready to eat).