Italian Dressing and Simple Cucumber Salad

I don’t understand why some people don’t care for cucumbers. I love them! They’re crisp, cool, and yummy. In fact, as I was stuck in traffic on the way home from work tonight, trying to decide if I felt like stopping by the grocery store to pick up lettuce to make a salad to accompany the soup I planned to make, I realized the part of the salad I was really craving was just the cucumber, and since I had a cucumber at home and traffic was really irritating me, I decided to forgo the lettuce and just make a cucumber salad.

I wanted to dress it up a little more than just oil and vinegar, and I don’t tend to keep bottled salad dressings on hand because I usually just whip them up as needed, so I had to make one. A standard Italian dressing seemed apropos, if not necessarily creative. I really liked this combination for the dressing, though, so I wrote it down.

Italian Dressing

1/4 cup flax or olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried red bell pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp flaked (Maldon) or sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp chili flakes

Reconstitute the red bell pepper flakes by soaking in hot water for 2 minutes. Whisk all ingredients together.

It’s pretty hard to photograph a bowl of Italian dressing and have it look like anything.

This dressing would be good on any tossed salad, or try it on:

Simple Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber, thinly sliced (on a mandoline if possible)
1/2 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp Italian dressing

Toss all ingredients together and chill for at least a couple of hours.

The mandoline …

… is one of the things Mark has gifted me with for no reason. He just sometimes randomly comes home with an expensive present. SORRY, LADIES – and gentlemen – HE’S TAKEN. The mandoline is a real boon for making very thin, very uniform slices.

Here’s the salad after chilling, when the cucumber slices have relaxed:


  1. Cecilia Said,

    July 16, 2008 @ 12:58 am

    Ugh … this post reminds me of summer … :0( It’s winter here in Australia …

    Yea, nothing beats cucumbers in summer .. I LOVE cucumbers, too!! I’m bookmarking this recipe – will make them when summer comes – I DON’T eat cold salads in winter, hehehe!

  2. renae Said,

    July 16, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

    Sorry to rub summer in your face like that while it’s cold there! I’m actually planning to visit Australia in February. I want to see the house my friend just bought in Sydney (I don’t know if you saw it, but I mentioned him here: but I told him I wanted to go when it was warm so he suggested February. I just have to worry about snow interfering with the flight on my end!

    He’s actually coming to visit us in a couple of days, so maybe I’ll do a few posts on entertaining the Aussie. It’s a challenge, because he’s a confirmed carnivore. He does love rockmelon and beetroot though.

  3. Melissa Said,

    July 17, 2008 @ 12:27 am

    Yum! I love the Italian dressing. The cucumber salad is marinating for my lunch tomorrow…

  4. Melissa Said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 9:37 am

    This was simple yet exquisite. Renae, you have a great base of recipes. Thanks so much for sharing them!

  5. renae Said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

    Thank you, Melissa!

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