Feta, Apple and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt

fetaapplesaladpWhenever I desperately wanted to use one precise food ingredient, I always wished I could look at a cookery book’s index, find a tempting recipe and discover that, by pure accident, I had all the remaining items in the kitchen (or, at worst, needed to buy just one more). Such a dream situation hardly ever happened before I discovered “Hugh’s Three Good Things” by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, where every recipe is based on three main products, the secondary ones and seasoning being reduced to a minimum. The book is however much more than very practical cooking ideas and this quick salad is a perfect example of its content.

Even though I already have – and strongly appreciate – other books by H. Fearnley-Whitthingstall, I hesitated a lot before ordering this one because I feared a typical stuff for beginners. Luckily, I was wrong and the book surprised me as a collection of well-thought and inventive ideas. I bookmarked about half of the book and this salad (the result of my search for new cucumber recipes) is the first dish I have tested, though slightly modified. Actually, the original salad doesn’t contain feta or any other cheese. I prepared the three ingredient version (cucumber+yogurt+apple), tasted it and loved it so much, I decided to transform it into a filling, but light meal, adding some feta. Feta was a perfect addition, so I thought I’d share with your this humble-looking but (at least for me) surprisingly good light meal.

I have changed the original recipe (see the TIPS for example), so to see this one and many more extraordinary ideas, check “Hugh’s Three Good Things” by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

TIPS: If you intend to prepare this salad in advance (perfect for a lunch box), add the yogurt and the mint just before serving. Otherwise the feta will absorb the yogurt. As for the mint, its scent will be seriously diminished. Cucumber might also become a bit mushy.

I was in a hurry, so I didn’t bother to spend more than ten minutes on this salad, but if you have some time, the first step in the original recipe is to remove the seeds from the cucumber, cut it into pieces and let about 30 minutes sprinkled with salt. It changes the cucumber’s taste and makes it more digest for those who have problems with it. After this quick “pickling” time, do not remove the salt or the juices from the bowl. Mix everything into the salad.

Preparation: about 10 minutes (or 40 if you quickly salt-pickle the cucumber)

Ingredients (serves two, served with bread as a light dish):

2/3 of a long cucumber

1 feta package (200g/about 7 oz), drained

2 medium firm, rather sweet (but not too much!) apples

several branches of fresh mint, leaves only

125 g (about 2,2 oz) – 200 g (about 7 oz) natural yogurt (or sour milk/cream)

freshly ground pepper

Remover the cucumber seeds or not (I didn’t), cut the cucumber into 1/4 slices and either keep on preparing the rest of the salad, or, if you have time, put it into a bowl, sprinkle some salt and leave it for about 30 minutes (see the TIPS above).

Cut up the apple into bite-sized pieces (you might want to peel it; I have peeled only half of the apple).

Cut the feta into cubes.

Chop the mint leaves.

Combine the feta, the apple, the cucumber, the chopped mint and the yogurt, stirring delicately.

Season with pepper.

Serve.

32 Replies to “Feta, Apple and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt”

      1. It’s so nice to see my comment actually show up here. I switched over to Windows 8.1 on the weekend and can’t seem to comment on many of the blogs I subscribe to. The comment seems to goes through alright but then never shows up on the blog. Bizarre and I have no idea what to do about it.

        1. I am relieved it works here… I have technical blog problems from time to time and they make me very nervous.

  1. Great combination of ingredients and of course, you know that a good feta is really going to make it. I love your quick version andthanks for mentioned the 30 minute pickling of the cucumber. I bet that adds even more flavor to an already delicious salad! Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks a lot, MJ. It certainly improves the cucumber’s taste, especially for those who are not very fond of it raw.

  2. What a clever idea for a cookbook – I was so intrigued by Three Good Things, I just popped on to Amazon and had a look through Hugh’s beautiful book; I think I might invest in this one too. Right up my alley! (being the aspiring efficient cook that I am and all 😉 ). In our attempts to make things special and different, I think we sometimes forget how much magic can be derived from combining simple ingredients. That’s what this book and your beautiful salad remind me of. Cucumber. Yogurt. Apple. What a gorgeous beginning! (yes, I imagine the feta to be a perfect add-on here) and, as you say, most of these staples are already waiting for us in the fridge. Love this discovery Sissi – thank you! I hope you are having a nice weekend; I am off to the market this morning :).

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. I see you also like the book idea. It is very inspiring and I can only recommend it.

      1. Yes, indeed! I took some time to research the author thanks to you and ordered River Cottage Veg (bonus, it has a gorgeous cover photo — I also choose wine according to the aesthetic appeal of the label – haha!) — equally inspired by your salad recipe; went to market to pick up the ingredients and just found some quality feta 😉 – thanks Sissi!

        1. Hi Kelly, do you mean Veg Every Day? I have this one too! I first bought it for a vegetarian friend as a gift and she loved it so much… I bought it for myself when I saw there was a special price. It is excellent indeed! Many recipes are so appealing, one forgets there is no dead creature 😉 To be frank, I haven’t tested any recipe yet (I bought both books together and started with Three Good Things), but I have another of his books and made several excellent recipes from it (home-made black pudding for example! It was really delicious and easy and so much fun!, so I fully trust HFW. I hope you will like it too. As for wine, in France labels are rarely creative (and if they are modern/attractive, unfortunately it often is cheap wine), but some German wine makers have beautiful modern labels and the bottles contain excellent wine too. Have a lovely weekend!

          1. here is the link to the one I ordered: http://www.amazon.com/River-Cottage-Veg-Inspired-Vegetable/dp/1607744724. It may well be the same book Sissi, I’m always amazed to see how books are published under completely different cover designs (and possible titles?) in different countries. Oh She Glows just released her first cookbook under completely different cover art in Canada vs. US — extensive marketing research is done to see what audiences are attracted to (I find that so cool).

            1. It is the same book I think, but the US/Canada cover is much more attractive! I bought the book because I knew and appreciated the author and because my vegetarian friend loved it, but not because of the cover which is just ordinary in UK.

  3. Sissi this sounds like a salad I could really enjoy. The pointers are useful too. I will look for the book, it’s an ingenious approach to something all cooks face. Too many recipes contain too many ingredients. It isn’t always practical to buy half a dozen items when you have no clue if you will like them or ever use them again. I will check this out.

    1. Thank you, Zsuzsa. Sometimes, even when I do have all of the ingredients, I simply don’t feel like preparing them, checking the ingredients’ list once more, etc.. This book is a great find.

      1. Sissi, I used one of Hugh’s recipes and gave you shout out. Thanks for introducing me to this cookbook, I found it very exciting.

        1. Hi Zsuzsa, thank you so much for the kind link and mention to my blog again. Your roast potatoes look fantastic. I’m glad I have made you discover this book.

  4. It does indeed look and sound like a beautifully refreshing salad. I had not thought of combining feta and apple before but I dare say I love it. I have a bit of cucumber in the fridge and of course apples so I just need to pop out and pick up some mint and Feta, thank you Sissi, it will be a lovely addition to dinner this evening.

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. It was exactly feta and apple combination that has blown me away here (cucumber goes with everything, let’s be frank 😉 ).

  5. The book sounds amazing! Three basic formulas to create 175 recipes? Is it possible? Great concept indeed. I like the saltiness of feta cheese and sweet/crunchy apple combo. The healthy and refreshing salad I’d like to try it very soon.

    1. Thank you, Nipponnin. I hope you understood the 175 recipes were not created out of the same three ingredients! The book is still fabulous and I don’t regret the buy at all.

  6. Hi Sissi, thank you for your kind comment on my blog; sorry for not responding sooner…as they say; “life happens”! Can’t have too many excuses why…and why not?!
    Your feta, apple, and cucumber salad sounds and looks so refreshing and totally mouthwatering delicious with the yogurt, and the fresh mint; my kind of salad for a warm day!

    1. Hi, Elisabeth. Don’t worry! We all have our private lives. I sometimes wonder how certain bloggers manage to work and live and blog and comment so often. I have problems with it too. Thank you for the compliments.

    1. Thank you so much, Minoru. You have a good eye: this is a bowl I brought from my last trip to Tokyo (among 20 others…).

  7. I make similar salad sometimes, but I mix in mayo too. Next time I remove that and add mint to make it extra refreshing! It’s a perfect spring/summer salad. My kids especially love it when fruits are in the salad. 🙂

    1. Hi, Nami. Mayonnaise sounds great too. Yogurt makes a lighter version and for once doesn’t produce a tangy result because the apple is sweet.

  8. I love the ingredients you have used in this salad Sissi and of course adding feta gave this fairly simple salad the necessary kick and protein to become a light meal on its own.

    1. Thank you, Katerina. I especially appreciated the discovery of feta and apple combination. So perfect and so new!

  9. Sounds simple and very delicious. I like Hugh’s TV programs, its a pleasure to watch.
    That looks like a thick book. Looks like you may need a larger storage space for your growing recipe book collection. Maybe you can open a public library:)

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. Most of my recipes are very simple (though some may sound very exotic to those who don’t cook Asian for example), but his cookbook is just pure pleasure to open and to plan a meal. I also like him a lot. There are some chefs or cooks I am not fond of (even though their writing style), but I like him both in books and on tv.
      Yes, I might consider buying more furniture…

  10. Hi Sissi, this looks visually very appealing – very fresh and crisp, but am I a bad person if I admit to not liking apple in salad? I think it always stems to my childhood when I’d be eating something like a potato salad with apple inside (don’t ask!) and I’d put a big, glorious chunk of potato in my mouth… bite down, and realise with horror that actually it was sharp and crispy and not potato at all (but apple) :D.

    1. Thank you, Charles. I think I have had apples in a salad maybe once in my life before I tried this recipe… I’m not sure I would pair apples with potatoes though. Here they were perfect because their sweetness counterbalanced the acidity of yogurt.

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