Cucumber and Zucchini Garnishes

Spice up everything from plain tomatoes to seafood bisque by using cucumber garnishes. Cucumbers make great garnishes.

Try It!
Here are some recipes from our collection to use with garnishes:

There is a lot of cutting involved, but cucumbers hold up well and are easy to manipulate. Zucchinis can be used interchangeably in many of the cucumber garnishes.

Cucumber Twists

Brighten a Thai dish using these easy garnishes. You can also twist a slice of cucumber and slip it onto a platter or pan-fried pork chops.

One popular method of using this type of garnish is to use it as the centerpiece of a platter. Surround with salami or ham, cheese cubes, hard-cooked egg wedges and olives or peppers.

To make cucumber twist garnishes:
  1. Place a small cucumber on cutting board. Cut off ends of cucumber with utility knife; discard ends. Diagonally cut cucumber into thin slices.

    Diagonally cut cucumbers.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Diagonally cut cucumbers.

  2. Cut slit through each slice just to center.

    Cut slit through each slice.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Cut slit through each slice.

  3. Holding each slice with both hands, twist ends in opposite directions. Place on plate or food to secure in position.

    Twist slice in opposite directions when making cucumber twist garnishes.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Twist slice in opposite directions.

  4. Garnish as desired.

    Garnish with Cucumber Twists.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Garnish with Cucumber Twists.

Variation: Substitute lemon, lime, or orange slices for diagonally cut cucumber slices; continue as directed.

Cucumber Ribbons

Even an ordinary dish can become company fare if you dress it up by spiraling a few cucumber ribbons the serving plate.

To make cucumber ribbon garnishes:
  1. Place cucumber on cutting board. Cut off ends with paring knife; discard ends. Cut thin lengthwise strips from cucumber with vegetable peeler, making sure there is a line of green peel on both sides of each strip. Continue cutting strips until you reach seeds.

    Cut thin strips from cucumber, leaving a line of green peel.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Cut thin strips from cucumber,
    leaving a line of green peel.

  2. Turn cucumber, leaving about 1/2 inch of green peel before starting next strip. Repeat cutting of strips. Repeat turning and cutting once more.

  3. If desired, trim edges of cucumber strips to straighten sides. Place strips in ice water to chill thoroughly. Remove from water; drain well.

  4. Gently gather cucumber strips with fingers to form decorative ruffle. Place on desired food or plate to secure.

    Gather cucumber ribbon garnishes into decorative ruffles.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Gather into a ruffle.

  5. Garnish as desired.

    Garnish with Cucumber Ribbons.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Garnish with Cucumber Ribbons.

Zucchini Flowers

For an elegant plate, accent the center of a fish dish with a zucchini garnish.

To make zucchini flower garnishes:
  1. Place zucchini on its side on cutting board. Cut off both ends with paring knife; discard ends.

    Cut off ends of zucchini with paring knife.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Cut off ends of zucchini with paring knife.

  2. Cut thin lengthwise slices from zucchini with vegetable peeler, making sure there is green peel on both side of each strip. Continue cutting slices until you reach seeds.

    Peel thin strips, retaining the green lines when making zucchini flower garnishes.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Peel thin strips, retaining the green lines.

  3. Turn zucchini and continue cutting slices, always making sure there is green peel on both sides of each slice. Turn one more time; repeat.

    Turn zucchini and continue cutting.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Turn zucchini and continue cutting.

  4. Cut ends off slices with paring knife to make an even edge.

    Cut off ends for an even edge.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Cut off ends for an even edge.

  5. Make additional cuts about 1/16 inch apart along one edge of each slice, cutting almost to opposite edge.

    Make additional cuts in the zucchini.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Make additional cuts in the zucchini.

  6. Roll up each slice.

    Roll up each slice.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Roll up each slice.

  7. Insert small piece of wooden toothpick through each base to secure rolls.

    Insert a toothpick to secure rolls when making zucchini flower garnishes.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Insert a toothpick to secure rolls.

  8. Garnish as desired.

    Garnish with Zucchini Flowers.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Garnish with Zucchini Flowers.

Variation: Substitute yellow summer squash for zucchini. Continue as directed.

There's a whole salad of vegetables left for garnishes. Learn about vegetable garnishes in the next section.