If you're looking for a crunchy Asian cucumber salad as the perfect side dish for your Asian cooking, look no further than this easy cucumber salad! This easy Asian cucumber salad recipe is made with thin slices of juicy fresh cucumbers combined with sesame soy dressing and topped with your favorite garnish - toasted sesame seeds, fresh ginger, or chopped green onions.
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- English cucumbers - Thinly sliced. Persian cucumbers, Japanese cucumbers, Kirby cucumbers, or mini cucumbers can be used instead of English cucumbers.
- Rice vinegar - Apple cider vinegar would be a good alternative to rice wine vinegar, but I don't recommend using white wine vinegar as this is too overpowering. Any milder vinegar will do.
- Toasted sesame oil - extra virgin Olive oil can also be used. Chili oil is great for adding extra heat to this refreshing cucumber salad.
- Soy sauce - you can use low-sodium soy sauce or tamari, or coconut aminos for gluten-free version. If you have just regular or dark soy sauce, dilute it with some water if needed.
- Brown sugar - Honey is another option.
- Fresh garlic - fresh is preferred, I like to chop it fine or use a garlic paste instead. This salad is all about spicy pepper and pungent garlicky flavor.
- Red pepper flakes - For serving.
- Salt - Used in the salting process to drain excess water from the cucumber slices. Once mixed with the spicy dressing, taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
📋 JULIA'S TIP Salt and drain the cucumbers. Cucumbers tend to become too watery in a salad. To keep your salad crisp and fresh, sprinkle cucumbers generously with salt and leave them out to soak for at least 15 minutes. Then rinse and use in the salad as instructed.
Sprinkle salt over cucumbers and gently massage into them. Let cucumbers soak in salt for 10-20 minutes.
Rinse with cold water at least 2 times to completely remove the salt. Strain and set aside.
Combine sauce ingredients in a separate bowl. If you're not sure about how spicy you like the salad, add only ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes and adjust later if needed.
Pour sauce over cucumbers and gently mix. Taste for seasoning and add more salt/black pepper if needed.
Top with more red pepper flakes and toasted peanuts. I also like to add some chopped cilantro for serving. Enjoy!
How Do You Keep Cucumbers Crisp In Cucumber Salad?
If you want this salad to stay fresh and crisp I recommend salting the cucumbers before mixing with the remaining ingredients.
Generously salt the sliced cucumbers and let them soak for 15-30 minutes (or even up to for one hour for slightly drier cucumbers). Then rinse a couple of times.
This step is optional, but does help to drain out the excess moisture from the cucumbers and keep your salad fresh and crunchy for longer (without becoming soggy too fast).
- Buy your cucumbers directly from a farmers' market for the best flavor or your local grocery store.
- Always check your cucumbers for any marks, bruises, or blemishes.
- Using the best quality toasted sesame oil will really add to the flavor of this salad. Use whatever quality brand you enjoy the most.
- To intensify the flavors in this simple salad, allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- You can use this delicious Asian cucumber salad as a base, adding other ingredients such as nuts or shredded chicken, or beef strips.
- Leftover Asian cucumber salad can be added to a leafy green salad so that nothing goes to waste!
- This salad is best enjoyed immediately at room temperature. Leftovers won’t keep well for long since the cucumbers will release more liquid as time goes on.
- If you want to make a creamy salad dressing, try my recipe for Creamy Cucumber Salad.
- Add red onion to this simple recipe for a cucumber and onion salad.
- Brown Sugar - For a low-carb version prepare the marinade with a sugar replacement, such as erythritol or stevia. For sweeter brine add more tablespoons of sugar or sugar replacement.
This salad works great for any summer barbecue meal or Asian cuisine-inspired main course.
Some of our favorite suggestions for serving this salad are:
- Sushi or similar Japanese/Asian-inspired dishes
- BBQ meats, grilled chicken, fish, pork or beef.
- As a side for steak tacos, wraps or sandwiches.
- Tofu main course or appetizers.
- With stir fries, rice or noodles (try our favorite Soba Noodles Stir Fry).
Freezing And Storing Instructions
- To Store. This spicy cucumber salad shouldn’t be stored in the fridge for longer than 2 days as the leftover salad will start to lose its crispy texture.
- To Freeze. You can't freeze this.
- To Make Ahead. To intensify the flavors in this cucumber salad, allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to enjoy. Also to prep, you can leave the cucumbers to soak in salt for up to an hour.
Asian cucumber salad consists of thinly sliced cucumbers that have been put through a salting process and added to a tangy sauce.
Absolutely! Cucumbers are high in water and electrolytes, providing a replenishing snack or side dish. Cucumbers are also naturally loaded with vitamin K.
No. You don’t need to peel cucumbers for this salad, as the thin skin provides a great source of dietary fiber.
English cucumbers are a great choice for cucumber salad as they are long and thin with crispy, delicate skin - easy to digest.
Cucumber contains a high percentage of water, a good amount of fiber from the skin, and very few calories in total. It’s the perfect ingredient for anyone looking to lose weight while boosting their nutritional intake.
Easy Side Dish Salad Recipes
ALL SALAD recipes.
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Asian Cucumber Salad
- 2 medium English cucumbers (about 2 cups sliced thinly)
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce or tamari (coconut aminos for GF)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon fresh garlic (freshly minced)
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt to drain water (and more for seasoning if needed)
- black pepper to taste (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts for serving (toasted )
- 1-2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (divided)
- Sprinkle salt over cucumbers and gently massage into them. Let cucumbers soak in salt for at least 15-20 minutes. Rinse with cold water at least 2 times to completely remove the salt. Strain and set aside.
- Combine sauce ingredients in a separate bowl. If you're not sure about the how spicy you like the salad, add only ½ teaspoons of red pepper flakes and adjust later if needed.
- Pour sauce over cucumbers and gently mix. Taste for seasoning and add more salt/black pepper if needed.
- Top with more red pepper flakes and toasted peanuts. Enjoy!
- Cucumbers - Persian cucumbers, Japanese cucumbers, or Kirby cucumbers can be used instead of English cucumbers.
- Should you peel cucumbers? No. You don’t need to peel cucumbers for this salad, as the thin skin provides a great source of dietary fiber.
- To intensify the flavors in this simple salad, allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. The longer it sits the softer cucumbers become.
- Using the best quality toasted sesame oil will add to the flavor of this salad. Use whatever quality brand you enjoy the most.
- To Store - This salad shouldn’t be stored in the fridge for longer than 3 days as the leftover salad will start to lose its crispy texture.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)