Chilled, flavorful and incredibly fresh, this spicy Asian cucumber salad, made with sesame oil and soy sauce, is the perfect summer side dish.
When I’m feeling too lazy to cook vegetables, especially in the summer, I often slice a cucumber, sprinkle it with salt, and serve it as a very lazy side dish.
When I’m willing to make just a little more effort, I make this Asian cucumber salad. Chilled, flavorful and incredibly fresh, it’s the perfect summer side dish.
An Asian variation on the classic cucumber salad
When making cucumber salad, I almost always default to my trusted recipe for creamy cucumber salad. It’s an easy recipe that pairs well with almost any main dish.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty salad (exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below):
- Rice vinegar
- Soy sauce or a gluten-free alternative
- Sesame oil
- Red pepper flakes
- English cucumbers
How to make Asian cucumber salad
It’s so easy! The detailed instructions are in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
- Start by mixing the dressing ingredients (everything but the cucumbers and cilantro) in a salad bowl.
- Add the cucumber slices and the chopped cilantro and mix.
- Let rest about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Why I prefer English cucumbers
English cucumbers are the elongated cucumbers that come wrapped in plastic to protect their unwaxed skin. They have fewer seeds than regular cucumbers and they are firmer and not as watery.
If you can’t get English cucumbers, regular cucumbers are fine.
How to serve Asian cucumber salad
Like all cucumber salads, this salad is best if allowed to sit a little and marinate. It is also best when served cold. So do let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes while you make the rest of your dinner. Then mix it one more time, and serve.
Is this a healthy recipe?
I believe it is. I used to think that cucumbers were mostly water and were pretty much void of nutrients. But as it turns out, cucumbers are actually very healthy.
You should obviously feel free to use a soy sauce alternative if you prefer (or if you must). Just taste the dressing and add salt as needed. The alternatives are generally not as salty as soy sauce.
More tasty salads that you might enjoy
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Asian Cucumber Salad
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce (or use a gluten-free alternative and add salt as needed)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 large English cucumbers, thinly sliced (1 lb.)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- In a salad bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Add the sliced cucumbers and the cilantro.
- Gently mix to coat.
- Cover and let rest for 30 minutes in the fridge while you make the rest of your meal.
- Mix again and serve.