Spicy Cucumber Noodles with Blueberries

Cold Cucumber Noodles with Blueberries and Spicy Dressing

Cold Cucumber Noodles with Blueberries and Spicy Dressing

The pitcher  and cups in this photograph –  old Dutch-made blue willow –  were in my great aunt Johnnie Dell Ridgdill’s tiny kitchen for as long as I can remember.

Aunt Johnnie was a force in my childhood. A retired nurse, she helped my grandmother Colleen raise my mother after my mother’s father, Charles, died from colon cancer when my mother was just 12.  More a doting grandmother than a great aunt, Aunt Johnnie was 70 when I was born, but in spite of her carefully coiffed white curls, I don’t think I noticed her advanced age.

I  happily spent weekends at her house, sorting through the costume jewelry in a massive mint green faux leather jewelry box and eating orange popsicles. She drove me around town in her 1960 Cheverolet Biscayne, took me to lunch at Billy Lankford’s ramshackle cafe for fried chicken and cornbread, and suffered through countless episodes of  the Dukes of Hazzard. She taught my brother to read with a set of wooden blocks, cut squares of wax paper for us to sit on when we went down the huge aluminum slide at the elementary school across from her house, and just generally infused everything she did with love.

When Aunt Johnnie passed away in 2001, I was on the other side of the country at language school, immersed in my studies and the excitement of starting a new life – but still, a little light went out of the world. All these years later the blue willow pitcher and cups are in my own kitchen, and when I catch a glimpse of them while I’m cooking, I like  to think she’s with me.

Today’s I’m making this summery salad that combines cold, crunchy cucumber noodles with blueberries and a surprising spicy dressing. To make the cucumber noodles, I used my new spiralizer. I don’t have a lot of kitchen gadgets, but this one is worth buying if you like to make noodles out of vegetables as much as we do. “Zoodling” is a great way to use a lot of vegetables at the height of a summer garden harvest, as with this recipe, which calls for four cucumbers. If you don’t have a spiralizer, a julienne peeler works just fine.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Spicy Cucumber Noodles with Blueberries
Prep time
Total time
Spicy Cucumber Noodles with Blueberries
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6-8
  • 4 large cucumbers
  • Salt
  • 2 large jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup good olive oil
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  1. Make the cucumber noodles using a spiralizer or a julienne peeler.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and olive oil. Add the cucumber noodles, blueberries and cilantro and toss gently to coat.


  1. Stefanie says

    The blue willow pitcher immediately made me think of your Aunt Johnnie and her patient description of butter beans to this dim-witted northerner. It’s so lovely to see it enjoying a new life in your kitchen.

    This blog is beautiful, Elizabeth, and I’m looking forward to adding this recipe to my “zoodles” repertoire.

    • elizabeth@threebeansonstring.com says

      Stefanie – Of course I always love hearing from you, but what a sweet surprise that you remember Aunt Johnnie’s blue willow pitcher, and her description of butter beans. I look forward to your Christmas e-mail every year – your photos and your home are just so beautiful. You’d make a fantastic food blogger yourself!

  2. says

    How nice that you have something to keep her spirit alive. My grandmother had these little owl figurines that I always admired, I didn’t get them when she passed away but after I got married I found myself an owl figurine that was very similar. When anyone asks about it I tell them about her, I think it is just a nice way to make sure her memory stays with me. And the salad looks beautiful! :)

    • elizabeth@threebeansonstring.com says

      Annie – Your little owl sounds charming, and your site is just lovely. I’ll be sure to stop by again soon.

    • elizabeth@threebeansonstring.com says

      Thanks, Linda! I’m glad we reminded you of your grand mom. Hope to see you again.

  3. says

    such fun memories! makes me think of spending summers with my grandparents as a kid…

    this recipe is so unique, I am very intrigued! my spiralizer has been working overtime lately, with this warm weather we are starting to see – I cannot wait to try this!

    • elizabeth@threebeansonstring.com says

      Kristina, let me know how you like this one! Those childhood summers seemed endless, didn’t they?

    • elizabeth@threebeansonstring.com says

      Thanks, Heather. I’ve been breathlessly awaiting summer produce. Seriously :)

    • elizabeth@threebeansonstring.com says

      Thanks, Barrett! Let me know what you think. I was surprised by how well the spices contrasted the coolness of both the cucumbers and the blueberries.

  4. says

    What wonderful memories you have of your Great Aunt! Sounds like she was full of fun and kindness (and I love that her name was Johnnie)! Your recipe sounds perfect for the warm months – great combo of flavors!

    • elizabeth@threebeansonstring.com says

      Thanks, Patricia! I think it was a trend around the turn of the 20th century for women to be named after their fathers. I’m always reading about flappers named Willie or Johnnie.


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