3 August 2022

The 13 best cucumber substitutes for your recipes

By Killian

Cucumbers are known for their health benefits and for being a versatile type of fruit that is used in several different recipes. Despite their popularity, some people cannot digest cucumbers or simply dislike their slightly bitter taste.

Many recipes that call for cucumbers are simply too delicious to miss out on, and if you’re looking for a cucumber substituteyou’re in luck because there are several types of cucumbers and several other vegetables that can be a good substitute.

The best substitutes for cucumber are zucchini, celery, jicama, iceberg lettuce, Armenian cucumbers, radishes, green beans, green bell peppers, green papaya, borage leaves, fennel, squash, and pumpkin. cucumber essential oil.

The best cucumber substitutes

Although many people are not aware of this fact, cucumbers are not vegetables, but fruits. In fact, they have seeds and grow from the ovaries of flowering plants, just like their very similar cousins, zucchini.

Cucumbers are part of the same family that includes melons and squash, which is why their flavor is sometimes described as that of a melon. Not everyone likes their sour taste, which is a shame because they are a great source of valuable nutrients.

Cucumber is mainly used in salads, soups, sandwiches, and juices. There is also the famous cucumber water, which is an inexpensive and easy to prepare drink that has many health benefits when consumed regularly.

Depending on the recipe you have in mind, you can try one of the following cucumber alternatives.

1. zucchini

Among all the vegetables that resemble cucumbers, zucchini takes the crown. In fact, the common dark green variety of zucchini you often find in stores is so similar to cucumbers that the two fruits are often confused.

Zucchini has a mild sweet flavor and is incredibly versatile. They can be cooked in almost any way, but boiling is not recommended because their core tends to become soft when cooked for too long or in too much water.

This cucumber-like vegetable does not need to be peeled and can also be thinly sliced ​​and eaten raw. One of the easiest and most delicious ways to enjoy zucchini is to simmer it in a skillet with oil, salt, and chopped onion. They will make a tasty side dish or work as a savory sauce for pasta.

Zucchini and cucumber share a high water content and crunchy texture, making zucchini the ideal cucumber substitute in salads.

2. Celery

Celery is known for being one of those crunchy, low-calorie vegetables that makes the perfect snack when you’re trying to lose weight, but there’s so much more to this “diet vegetable.”

Recent studies have highlighted the valuable anti-inflammatory properties of celery. Additionally, celery is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and vitamin C. It goes without saying that when you substitute cucumber for celery, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Celery’s refreshing flavor and juicy crunch make it a perfect substitute in salads and sandwiches, but you can also opt for the increasingly popular celery juice.

3. Jicama

When talking about jicama, you will only hear about its roots, because the rest of the jicama plant is really toxic. The roots are the only edible part of this plant and are usually eaten raw.

This Mexican root vegetable is often considered a superfood because it is rich in vitamins and inulin, as well as being low in calories.

Jicama is a good substitute for cucumber in recipes that call for raw vegetables, such as salads and sandwiches, but it’s also a successful substitute for celery. It can also be cut into thin slices and eaten on its own as a snack. It is often flavored with lemon juice and chili powder.

4. Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is often found cut into thin, pale strips, and despite having a reputation for being nutrient-poor (probably because it’s often found in burgers and other fast foods), it’s actually not.

In fact, iceberg lettuce is a good source of

  • Water
  • Vitamin A
  • vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • folate

Although it cannot be considered a cucumber-like vegetable, it is a perfect substitute for raw cucumber, especially for kids who don’t like the bitter taste of cucumber, but are surely used to the taste of iceberg lettuce.

5. Armenian cucumber

This cucumber-like vegetable is actually neither a cucumber nor a vegetable. In fact, Armenian cucumbers are a variety of melon that look almost exactly like cucumbers and can work perfectly as a cucumber substitute in both cooked and raw recipes.

Armenian cucumbers are great added raw to greens, pasta, and chopped salads, but they can also be roasted, sautéed, or pickled. They have a mild flavor that becomes the perfect complement to sandwiches and sushi.

They are available in summer and are a good source of vitamins A, K, C and potassium.

6. Radishes

Radishes are a root vegetable that have a crunchy texture and a spicy flavor. The most common variety found in stores is the red-skinned, white-fleshed variety, but you can also find black radishes, which have a stronger flavor.

You can find radishes all year round, plus they are very easy to grow if you fancy doing some gardening.

Radishes and cucumbers are interchangeable, in fact, cucumbers are often mentioned as the main alternative to radishes.

Common red-skinned radishes are best used raw in salads, where they will make a tasty, crunchy alternative to cucumber. Daikon radishes can also be sautéed.

7. Green beans

Green beans are a delicious, low-calorie, nutrient-packed alternative to cucumbers for both raw and cooked recipes.

They are a good source of vitamins K and C, folate, fiber and silicon, which help keep hair, skin and bones healthy.

Ripe green beans should be bright green, feel firm to the touch, and make the characteristic popping sound when broken. They are easy to find during the summer.

You can substitute green beans for cucumbers in soups, salads, and stews. They also make a tasty stand-alone garnish when sautéed with olive oil and garlic.

8. Green peppers

Green bell peppers aren’t the closest substitute for cucumber that you can use, but they are very easy to find and you probably already have some at home, since bell peppers appear in a wide variety of recipes.

Green bell peppers are slightly different from their colored brethren, which taste quite sweet. The green variety of peppers has a slightly acidic flavor, similar to that of cucumbers. They also have an earthy taste.

What makes them similar to cucumbers is their crunchy texture and versatility. You can substitute green bell peppers in virtually any recipe, whether cooked or raw. You can use them sliced, cubed or even fill them with other ingredients.

9. Green papaya

Green papaya is the immature version of the papaya fruit, which is why it has a bright green color. It is considered a powerful fruit because it strengthens the immune system and helps fight various conditions and diseases.

It’s available year-round, but depending on the area you live in, it may not be as easy to find as other fruits and vegetables. If in doubt, you can go to your nearest Asian market or a Thai restaurant, where they could give you advice on where to buy it.

Green papaya can be eaten neat as a crunchy appetizer, best dipped in vinegar for a good balance of sweet and sour flavor.

You can also use green papaya as a substitute for cucumber in salads, because its texture and mild flavor are very similar to cucumber.

10. Borage leaves

Borage is a Spanish plant that has green leaves and star-shaped flowers. Both the flowers and the leaves are edible and can be used in different ways.

The leaves are similar to cucumbers in taste and smell, so they can be used as a substitute in sauces and salads when they are young and fresh.

The older leaves can be cooked in the same way as spinach or can be a tasty addition to cucumber in soups.

If you can’t find borage leaves in your area, try calling nearby greenhouses or garden centers. You can also choose to purchase borage seeds and grow the plant in your garden.

11. Fennel

Fennel is the wonder root vegetable, because it can be cooked any way you like, and it can also be used in its entirety, from the seeds to the stems.

It is very popular around the world and is available year-round, although the best fennel is found during the cool months.

Fennel can work as a cucumber substitute in salads when eaten raw for its fresh flavor and crunchy texture, but you can also cook it in stews and soups, where the bulbs become silkier.

The sweet and sour flavor of fennel could also add just the right touch to your sauce.

12. Pumpkin

Although many squashes could work as quite successful substitutes for cucumbers, the crookneck variety is the most popular cucumber substitute when it comes to squash.

They are easy to grow at home and work in a wide variety of recipes because of their versatility. They are easily recognizable by their bottle shape and grow mostly in summer.

Crookneck squash can be eaten raw, steamed, stewed, grilled, breaded, or fried. It’s a popular ingredient for casseroles, but it can also substitute for cucumber in a nutritious green smoothie.

13. Cucumber essential oil

Cucumber oil is obtained by cold pressing the seeds in the center of the cucumber. The seeds contain a considerable amount of oil, which has many health benefits and is used for many different purposes, from cooking to skin care.

In fact, cucumber essential oil is a famous detoxifying agent for the skin because it cleanses our pores and fights free radicals, responsible for the aging process.

In the kitchen, cucumber essential oil is a healthy and time-saving alternative to cucumbers. Use cucumber oil if you want to give your recipe the fresh taste of cucumbers without having to go through the preparation of the actual fruit.

How to choose a cucumber substitute.

When making salads, most raw cucumber alternatives are interchangeable without much of a difference. For cooking recipes, it is important to do your research beforehand to make an informed choice.

Although many vegetables have satisfying results when cooked in the most common ways, some vegetables like zucchini are not ideal for boiling or long cooking because they become mushy and will ruin the texture of your dish.

Another fundamental thing to keep in mind is that the secret to the success of a recipe begins with choosing the freshest raw products. In the case of vegetables and fruits, we can judge the book by its cover.

It’s important to choose seasonal products that look good—that is, they have a shiny, firm skin, don’t have any unusual blemishes or blemishes, and don’t feel spongy or too soft to the touch.

There are rare exceptions to these rules, but when in doubt, research the specific product beforehand.