When you grow up in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, you grow up with certain foods that just are. For example, my mom made chicken pot pie (not to be confused with chicken pie) for my birthday every year because it was my favorite meal. Other favorites were pork and sauerkraut, chicken corn soup with rivels, chicken and waffles (no, not that chicken and waffles), Lebanon bologna (think über sweet bologna), red beet eggs, shoofly pie, whoopie pies, and birch beer. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There were also the dishes that I didn’t care for as much, such as scrapple (my dad’s favorite), schnitz un knepp, cup cheese, hog maw, and head cheese.
With the exception of the pork and sauerkraut (and maybe a few others), very few of these foods actually fall under the paleo umbrella. And many (most) don’t even come remotely close! See, the PA Dutch are known for two things….putting hard boiled eggs in everything; which is very much in the paleo spirit; and being heavy handed with the sugar. And let’s not ignore the fact that most of the soups and stews are heavily laden with flour thickeners, as well as dumplings or biscuits. Then, there are the baked goods…..which I won’t even venture to discuss, because I’m sure you know what’s going on there!
However, I am finding that some of my favorite recipes can be converted to fit the paleo lifestyle, which has been an exciting discovery for me! Who wants to give up the favorite foods that they grew up with?
Here in Pennsylvania, the weather is warming up and summer is quickly approaching. Few things are as refreshing as Creamy PA Dutch Cucumber Salad at a backyard picnic! As is the case with most PA Dutch dressings (think hot bacon dressing), there is a fair bit of sugar in this one. But with the simple substitution of agave, I was able to make this cucumber salad recipe completely paleo. If you are following the paleo diet closely, make sure that your mayonnaise is also paleo compliant, or be absolutely certain by making your own!
Below is a traditional PA Dutch Creamy Cucumber Salad recipe that I recently converted. Enjoy this at your next backyard cookout!
Creamy PA Dutch Paleo Cucumber Salad
A refreshing salad option for your backyard picnic
- 2-3 large English cucumbers, sliced ¼ inch thick (peeling the cucumbers is optional)
- 1 small Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. sea salt
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp. agave syrup
- 2 tsp. fresh chopped dill
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
DirectionsPrepare the cucumbers and place them in a colander. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of sea salt, toss, and let them sit for 30 minutes to draw some of the excess water from the cucumbers. This will make the dressing less watery. Before adding to the dressing, drain/blot the cucumbers on some paper towels to remove the excess water and salt.
For the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, agave syrup, dill, sea salt, and pepper. To the dressing, add the sliced onions and cucumbers. Toss well to make sure the cucumbers are thoroughly coated. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
**As a side note, you can adjust the ingredients to taste, based on your preferences. Add more or less agave depending on how sweet you want the salad to be, or add more mayonnaise if you want a creamier dressing. It’s always your choice!