Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening Article
Your resource for Sacramento-area gardening news, tips and events

Articles Recipe Index Keyword Index Calendar Twitter Facebook Instagram About Us Contact Us

Too many cukes? Try baking them in cheese sauce

Recipe: Creamy cucumber casserole is a surprising side dish

Choose plump, well-hydrated cucumbers for baking.

Choose plump, well-hydrated cucumbers for baking.

Debbie Arrington

Cucumber casserole is an unusual way to use your extra
(Photo: Debbie Arrington)
What to do with too many cucumbers?

That's a dilemma many gardeners face in late summer. Like zucchini, cukes tend to come in bunches (no surprise, since they're both members of the gourd family). Not all cukes make great pickles. It can take a lot of salads to use up two or three pounds of fresh cukes.
My solution? Cook them in a casserole.

When cooked, cucumbers retain much of their natural crispness. Combined with creamy cheese sauce and toasted bread crumbs, it makes for an interesting mix of textures -- and a conversation starter. (Cucumber casserole? Who knew?)

This is a variation of a recipe from my grandmother, another gardening cook who also loved to shop the farmers markets.

Over the years, I've tried all sorts of slicing cucumbers in this dish: Common green, English, round, lemon, Armenian and more. They all work. The Armenian and round varieties, which are actually more melon than cuke, tend to be sweeter and never bitter.

To avoid bitterness found in other varieties, always choose plump, well hydrated cucumbers. (Like squash, pick cucumbers while young for best flavor.)

Slice off both ends first, then peel. (The enzymes that cause cucumbers to taste bitter tend to be concentrated in both ends and the peel.) If seeds are large or mature, scoop them out and use only the firm flesh.

Cucumber casserole
Serves 6

4 cups diced cucumber (about 6 cucumbers)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter (divided)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
3 slices bread, toasted with crusts removed
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel and seed cucumbers. Dice cucumber flesh into 1/2-inch cubes. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add cucumber and adjust heat. Parboil diced cucumber for 10 minutes. Drain.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Saute chopped onion until soft. Remove onion from pan and set aside. Melt remaining butter in the saucepan. Stir in flour until bubbly. Gradually stir in milk; add salt. Cook until thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat. Stir in grated cheese until melted.

Toast bread. Process toast in food processor to make crumbs.

Butter a 9-inch square baking dish or a deep 8-inch round casserole. Put a thin layer of bread crumbs on the bottom of the casserole. Fold drained cucumber into cheese sauce. Spoon cucumber mixture into casserole. Top with remaining bread crumbs. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 1 hour in 350-degree oven. (Cover top loosely with foil if bread crumbs start to turn too brown.) Let sit about 10 minutes before serving.


0 comments have been posted.

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


Taste Summer! E-cookbook


Find our summer recipes here!

Newsletter Subscription

Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.

Local News

Ad for California Local

Thanks to our sponsor!

Summer Strong ad for

Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

Taste Spring! E-cookbook


Find our spring recipes here!