Refreshing Cucumber Rollups
As I was planning recipes for my #FootballFood series, I realized that I should come up with some healthier options. Delicious finger food doesn’t always have to be awful for you. Today’s recipe is super tasty and easy to make, and will give your guests some lighter fare.
Cucumber Rollups are great and super versatile. In this recipe, they’ll be stuffed with creamy hummus and homemade sun-dried tomato sauce. If hummus isn’t your fav, you can opt for turkey and cheese, feta, cream cheese, chicken…the options are endless.
Now, anyone who has ever looked up a cucumber rollup recipe on the internet has seen that you can “totally use a vegetable peeler” for your cucumbers. In my head, I knew that using a vegetable peeler would be a little tough - you have to use perfectly even pressure and still make sure that your fingers are safe. Using a vegetable peeler doesn’t always yield a flexible, even slice.
I didn’t happen to own a mandolin slicer, so I pulled out every kitchen tool that could possibly work to evenly slice thin strips of cucumber. I had a 2 kinds of cheese graters with a long, wide slot for a presumably long strip of cheese. I also had a cheese shaver and a regular vegetable peeler. Before we start today’s recipe, I wanted to share the results of my tool test.
A regular vegetable peeler worked alright, although the slices were very thin and it was hard to reach the wider widths of the cucumber, since the peeler is only so wide. Of course, you can use a wider vegetable peeler and then double up on the slices as you roll up.
Next I tried the wide slot on a cheese grater, as well as a cheese shaver. These peeled off thicker slices of cucumber, but in turn demolished their beautiful flesh. The slices were very uneven, and it was a mess. Not my favorite choices.
In the end, I chose to actually go purchase a mandolin, especially since I’ve been needing one for several dishes I’d like to share with you all. After a bunch of research, I opted to go with America’s Test Kitchen’s pick for best mandolin, the OXO Good Grips V-Blade Mandolin Slicer.
It turned out to be an awesome purchase, making expert cuts with amazing ease of use. It makes 1/16”, 1/8”, 3/16”, and 1/4” thick cuts, and also has different blades for julienne and crinkle cuts! I was really geeking out. The OXO V-Blade Mandolin is easy to clean, sturdy, and simple to use after reading the instructions. My favorite part of the mandolin is the hand guard, which grips your vegetables and protects your fingers from the very sharp blade. I highly recommend it. I bought it for $39.99 and a 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Of course you might not want to spend $40 just to slice up some veggies, so I’d definitely recommend a nice, wide vegetable peeler. Used with even pressure, you can achieve some nice, flexible pieces that are perfect for rollups.
OK that was a lot of talking! Let’s get cookin.
What You Need:
1 large cucumber
Hummus (I love Sabra Classic or Whole Foods Plain Hummus. Feel free to use whatever flavor you like, or opt for Raw Bean-Free Hummus)
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce:
3 oz sun-dried tomatoes
2 red peppers
¼ cup water
2 cloves raw garlic
¼ cup fresh basil
½ tsp salt (to taste)
Crack or two of black pepper
First we’re going to make a delicious homemade Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce. Red peppers are delicious, but when they’re roasted, all the sugars come out and their flavor is enhanced. Really yummy!
- Wash and chop off the tops of the red peppers. Use a spoon to hull out the seeds and ribs. Wrap each pepper into a foil packet, making sure to keep all the edges crimped shut. You don’t want any pepper juices to leak out.
- Turn your stove burner onto a medium flame, and using tongs, place your foil packet directly onto the burner. This is how you will roast the peppers for the next 20 minutes. DO NOT walk away from them. They will be alright, but you don’t want to take your eyes off them. Every 5 minutes, use the tongs to turn the peppers. After 20 minutes has lapsed, press the foil to see if the pepper is cooked through; nice and soft.
- Once it gives to touch, take the peppers off the flame and set them aside. You want to allow them to steam inside the foil for about 10 minutes. This will help when it comes to peeling the skin off!
- Once you take the peppers, out, you can use your fingers to remove the charred skin, revealing beautifully homemade roasted red peppers. These are also delicious with a drizzle of olive oil.
- In a blender or food processor, blend the roasted red peppers, 3 oz of sun-dried tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Slowly add ¼ cup of water in, using as much as you feel is needed. I liked my sauce a little more chunky :) Taste test for salt and pepper. Place aside.
- Using your chosen method for slicing up cucumbers, slice up your cucumber and set up a little work station. I found that using a small off-set spatula was great for spreading the hummus, and a small spoon for the sun-dried tomato sauce.
- This was my first time using my mandolin and my cucumbers were a little thin at the end. This actually worked out to my advantage, sine the thinner end was perfectly flexible in order to seal the rollups without a toothpick.
- Place a piece of cucumber in front of you. Pat the end that is closest to you dry with a paper towel. You want to use a small dollop of both hummus and tomato sauce, since you don’t want it to squeeze out the sides when you’re rolling.
- I found that the best method is to place the dollop of hummus at the thicker end, and spread it about ¾ of the way down to the other end.
- Place a small spoonful of sun-dried tomato sauce on top of the hummus at the end closest to you. It’s best to place the sauce in a vertical line, following the center line of the cucumber. This way, when you roll them, it doesn’t ooze out the sides.
- Roll them up and place them seam side down on the side of your work station.
- That’s it! Make your way through all your cucumber slices and chill them for a while in the fridge. They’re amazing when they’ve been chilled for a bit. I love how the beautiful sun-dried tomato sauce shows through the thin flesh of the cucumber. It almost creates a pattern under the row of seeds. So pretty!
Serve chilled with extra sun-dried tomato sauce and watch as your guests gobble em up.. they’re refreshing, #GlutenFree, and cheap to make! Great snack for having people over for the game.
Aren’t they beautiful? Btw, loving my new camera. It makes shooting these recipes so fun, especially when the photos come out so gorgeous. Thanks for taking the time to read today’s recipe! :)