Cucumber Basil Hummus

There were a few snow flurries in the air when I drove to the airport this morning, but it’s fully summer in Austin so I’m slightly in climate shock. May is the Juneau month of Bozeman’s year: often overcast, windy, and with varying seasons of precipitation. It’s a test of patience waiting for the skies to clear and the trails to dry, but on the plus side, we can always count on actual summer to find us in June, unlike my hometown.

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In anticipation of barbecues and picnic lunches, here’s a nice simple hummus recipe for your repertoire. Last week’s lemon and garlic version is perfect for spring, but for a slightly milder experience today’s recipe is a delicious option.

Cucumber Basil Hummus {{Baking Bytes}}

Crisp cucumber brings a refreshing lightness to the dip while maintain a fairly neutral flavor profile. Basil is my favorite herb to pair with cucumber, and it’s a great way to use up fresh herbs from the store or your garden, especially when you don’t quite have enough for pesto. No basil? Thyme or dill would be excellent here as well depending on the other items around the table.

Cucumber Basil Hummus {{Baking Bytes}}

This hummus is light and creamy, with pleasant flecks of green. Lovely as a standard dip, of course, but also a perfect addition to a wrap or sandwich for a packable lunch. A batch keeps several days in the fridge so make some for appetizers and use up the leftovers for lunches and snacks. It’s perfect as the spread for a dairy-free cucumber sandwich/wrap, paired with your favorite toppings and protein. Vegan? Add spinach and zucchini and some extra chickpeas. Vegetarian? Maybe include some egg or parmesan. Pescatarian? Include smoked salmon too. Omnivorous? Chicken or turkey is the perfect lean protein to use here. Wrap them all in bread or a tortilla rounded with a drizzle of Sweet Basil Balsamic Vinegar from Olivelle and you have a phenomenal lunch at your fingertips.

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Whether you go for the simple snack or build up a wrap, this hummus is sure to please. Give it a whirl and let me know how you put it to use!

Cucumber Basil Hummus

Adapted from Vegan Family Recipes

Ingredients

1 (15oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 large cucumber, diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp (Caramelized Garlic) olive oil
1/4 rounded tsp (Roasted Garlic) sea salt
1 large clove garlic, to taste
2-4 large basil leaves

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust salt/herbs accordingly. If the hummus is too thick, add additional oil or cucumber.
  3. Drizzle with additional oil and serve with sliced veggies, pita, or crackers. (Also excellent in veggie or chicken wraps!)
  4. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Cucumber Gazpacho

This recipe is brought to you by a friend leaving the country and gifting me half their fridge as well as several weeks of their CSA. With an unplanned abundance of cucumbers and neither of us being huge on eating them plain, I turned to the internet for ideas. Unsurprisingly, Pinterest had my back.

Cucumber Gazpacho {{Baking Bytes}}

I personally forget about gazpacho since cold soup was not really a thing in Alaska. Honestly, it’s hot soup season about 80% of the year anyway so you don’t really need a chilled variety to tide you over. Nonetheless I have had some truly delightful ones, including a watermelon variety at a random restaurant in Poulsbo, Washington that was just fantastic. Maybe next year I’ll add that to my repertoire.

In any case, with about six cucumbers of varying size and species needing a good home, a search for cucumber recipes pulled up several good options: salad dressing, cucumber sandwiches, and gazpacho. I still intend to try the salad dressing, and I had a cucumber sandwich (with herbed goat cheese, spinach, red onion, and challa) for lunch, but the gazpacho really intrigued me. With very little to lose, I gave it a shot.

Cucumber Gazpacho {{Baking Bytes}}

As usual I modified the recipe a bit, mostly to incorporate the ingredients I had on hand. Light and crisp cucumbers are given a little zing with the red onion, herbs, and garlic oil. I added some spinach for extra greens, filler, and a little thickener. My latest Olivelle obsession, Sweet Basil Balsamic Vinegar, was a perfect addition to give a nice tang and a little sweetness at the same time. The result is a cool, refreshing, and surprisingly filling gazpacho perfect for summer afternoons.

Cucumber Gazpacho {{Baking Bytes}}

The fairly neutral palate makes it great for a side dish or appetizer, or pair it with a protein for a light entree. Punch it up with the herbs of your choice, extra onion, or a jalapeño, or keep it as listed for a milder palate. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this recipe and will definitely keep it on the short list for a quick and healthy addition to any meal. Summer may be winding down, but hopefully there’s still some time left to give this chilled soup a try.

Cucumber Gazpacho

Adapted from Amuse Your Bouche
Serves 2-4 

Ingredients

2 large cucumbers (I probably had about 6-8 cups of chunks)
1/3 cup red onion
3 Tbsp garlic-infused olive oil1
1 cup (or 2) packed spinach, frozen and crushed2
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh herbs (I used mostly basil with some spicy oregano)
1-2 Tbsp basil balsamic vinegar3, optional but recommended
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Peel your cucumbers (for those with a firm/bitter skin) and chop into chunks. Don’t worry about peeling it perfectly, just get most of it.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree to desired texture.
  3. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use and then serve chilled.4

Notes

If you don’t have garlic olive oil, use plain and add one clove peeled garlic.

I keep excess spinach in the freezer for smoothie, soups, and scrambled eggs. Frozen spinach blends much more easily than raw and helps keep things chilled which is perfect for smoothies as well as gazpacho, as it turns out. For this recipe, place a large handful or two of spinach in the freezer, then crush. You should have about a cup but more or less is just fine.

The balsamic adds a lovely tang so I recommend adding a splash even if you don’t have the basil variety.

The gazpacho will lose a fair amount of its punch over time, so I wouldn’t recommend making it more than a couple hours ahead. If you are eating leftovers the next day, stir in a little extra minced onion just before serving.