Blueberry Cucumber Smoothie (Vegan)

Speaking of cucumber weirdness, I’ve been loving this unlikely marriage of everyday cukes with our magnanimous friend the blueberry almost enough to ease my sorrow over giving up bagels.

Got the idea for this one from Vegetarian Times, but I have made a handful of changes to a) make it vegan; b) add protein; and c) enhance the flavor immeasurably, IMHO. (Side bar – can an opinion ever be humble? Seems like a rather unctuous turn of phrase to me … please accept my apologies.)

Anyway, for a detailed account of changes I made (which you are free to unmake), see the Notes section below.

Blue Cue Smoothie

  • 1 c. fresh blueberries
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded (I just scoop out the seeds with a spoon)
  • 1/2 c. unflavored non-dairy yogurt (I use Soyogurt)
  • 1/8 c. sliced raw almonds (unsalted)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/8 c. (or more, to taste) non-dairy frozen yogurt, vanilla-flavored

Chop the cucumber and toss it in a food processor or blender with the other ingredients. Pulse several times until you reach desired consistency, and voila – a quick and healthy breakfast or snack containing vitamin C, protein, fiber and hella antioxidants, under 300 calories all told. The quantity here is enough for two servings – they’re pretty filling.


The Veg Times version calls for twice as much cucumber, twice as much yogurt (the latter being dairy and vanilla-flavored), lemon instead of lime, and no almonds or frozen yogurt. The almonds are critical for me – they add a smooth richness that makes it much more filling as well. And the fro-yo adds a bit of sweetness and structure. As for the lime, it was just because I had lime and not lemon, but I’m sure either is fine, though lime may be milder.

Play with the ratios all you want – personally I prefer to go heavy on the blueberries. And of course, feel free to use dairy versions of either the yogurt or frozen yogurt. You could make it with only frozen yogurt, but be careful with that because it could end up uber-sweet, and a strong vanilla flavor will mask the cucumber. (Learned this the hard way.)

 Blueberry pic from Interbay Farmer's Market

A Review of Mexican Gherkins (Vegan)

What are they?! Aren’t they weird?! Whatever will I do with them?! These are just a few of the questions that flooded my brain the first time I saw them. Followed by, “GHERKINS?! I need to know everything about a vegetable with a name like GHERKIN.”That ain't no Jelly Belly

So I bought some. And I researched them. And I washed them. And I tasted them.

Hold on to your socks, folks, because I don’t have much to report. They taste like slightly lemony cucumbers. That’s all I got.

But still. If you like cucumbers, you’ll probably love gherkins. Tiny, crunchy, fresh-tasting and tart, they look like jelly bean-sized watermelons. Munch them down like Fritos, toss them in oil with grape tomatoes for a minimalist salad, add them to a glass of water, or use them in some kind of cucumberish martini concoction, if you’re feeling adventurous. They’re tasty, refreshing, bite-sized – a handy snack and easy garnish. That’s about it.

Many people will tell you to pickle them, as with other kinds of gherkins. I can’t speak to this, but it seems perfectly reasonable, and I could imagine a number of other uses for a pickled version. For instance, you could chop them up and add them to your favorite potato salad (or egg salad, if you’re an egg eater). Or you could tuck them into a falafel pita, drizzled with tahini sauce and za’atar. In fact, you could do either of those things with unpickled gherkins. Mind you, I haven’t tried any of these yet – just some ideas I’ve been tossing around while trying to decide whether to buy some again. Meanwhile I figured I’d share what I’ve learned and let you make your own decision.

So, that’s my 75 cents on the new and trendy Mexican gherkin.