Just in the nick of time, I have an appetizer recipe to share that is perfect for any and all New Year’s Eve gatherings!
It’s super-simple, gorgeous, packed with flavors, healthy, and can be made ahead of time, too.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Good news: it’s not! Check out my Sesame Sriracha Stuffed Cucumber Cups!
Healthy Benefits of Sesame Sriracha Stuffed Cucumber Cups
This is a snack or appetizer that almost everyone, regardless of their diet plan, can (very happily!) eat and and enjoy. It is because they are:
5 Ingredients for Sesame Sriracha Stuffed Cucumber Cups
The easier a fresh and healthy snack or appetizer is to assemble, the better! Even sweeter: when the ingredient list is short. These stuffed cucumber lovelies fit both criteria. The short list might not sound like much, but this is a case of the sum being far greater than the parts!
Here is what you will need to make the stuffed cups:
Toasted sesame seeds can be added as a final flourish, but they are optional.
The Surprise Ingredient in these Asian Cucumber Cups: Giardiniera
Have you heard of giardiniera? You may have noticed it near the olives and pickle condiments in the supermarket and never given it a second thought. Simply put, it is a Italian pickled vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers and celery are the most common vegetables in the mix).
Homemade recipes are preserved in either oil or vinegar; most of what is sold in supermarkets is in the latter (and it’s what I use here).
It may sound like an unusual ingredient for an Asian recipe, but it is perfect. Pickled vegetables are essential eating across Asia, too, so with a few tiny tweaks–a bit of sesame oil, a dash of sriracha, a sprinkle of sesame seeds–the classic Italian mix takes on a new identity.
How to Make the English Cucumber Cups
Begin by making the cucumber cups. You do not have to peel the cucumber; the skin of English cucumbers is tender. Simply cut the cucumbers (I used 2) into approximately 1-inch-wide pieces. I got 12 pieces per cucumber.
Next, use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out some of the cucumber in each piece, creating cucumber “cups.” Be sure the keep the bottom intact.
Make the Pickle Filling
Next, pulse (or finely chop on a cutting board) 1 cup of the drained pickled vegetables (giardiniera). Use on/off pulses if using a food processor. The aim is finely chopped vegetables, not a puree.
Transfer the chopped salad to a small bowl and stir in the cilantro, sesame oil and sriracha. The combination is so flavorful! You can easily skip the cucumbers and simply serve this as a dip or spread.
Fill the cucumber cups with the pickled vegetable mixture, mounding slightly. If you like, sprinkle with sesame seeds (I used both black and white seeds).
That’s it! You can serve immediately, or loosely cover and chill for up to 8 hours before serving.
As good as these are as appetizers, they also make satisfying snacks–perfect for keeping healthy New Year resolutions to eat more vegetables!