Asian Cucumber Salad is a simple, yet incredibly flavorful salad recipe that’s perfect for a light lunch or a refreshing side dish. With its crisp cucumbers, zesty dressing, and aromatic garnishes, this viral salad recipe is a must try. So, gather your ingredients, follow our steps, and get ready to indulge in a burst of flavors.
- Burst of flavors – Sweet, Salty, and Spicy: The dressing is where the real magic happens. The liquid amino brings a savory depth, while the rice vinegar adds a tangy note that perfectly balances the sweetness from the sugar. And let’s not forget the subtle kick from the ginger and red pepper flakes – it’s like a flavor party in your mouth!
- Good For You: Beyond its incredible taste, this salad is a powerhouse of nutrients. Cucumbers are hydrating, low in calories, and packed with vitamins. Plus, with minimal oil in the dressing, it’s a guilt-free indulgence.
- The Perfect Blend of Freshness and Crunch: There’s something truly magical about the crispness of cucumbers in this salad. They provide that refreshing bite that instantly lifts your spirits. It’s like a little burst of sunshine on a plate.
- Versatility on a Plate: This salad is a canvas waiting for your creative touch. Want to add some colorful bell peppers? Go for it. Craving a creamy element? Throw in some avocado slices. It’s a dish that welcomes experimentation.
- Vegan and Gluten Free Recipe
- Cucumbers: Use thin skinned, firm and fresh cucumbers. I am using Persian Cucumbers. English cucumbers work well as well.
- Salad Dressing Ingredients: Liquid Coconut Amino (or soy sauce), rice vinegar, minced garlic, toasted sesame oil, minced ginger, Maple Syrup (or sugar) and red chili flakes are the main ingredients of the salad dressing / marinade.
- Optional Garnishes: I prefer to use toasted sesame seeds for rich and earthy taste. You can also use crushed peanuts for added crunch. Thinly sliced scallions or red onions are great for garnishing.
How to Make
Prepare the Cucumbers: Wash and dry the cucumbers. You can leave the skin on for extra crunch and color. Slice them thinly. I love making accordion style spiral cucumbers. If you have a Mandoline slicer, this is the perfect time to use it.
Salt the cucumbers: (Optional but highly recommended) Place the chopped cucumbers in a strainer bowl and sprinkle salt over it generously. Toss to coat and let them sit for 15-20 minutes.
Make the Salad Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the liquid coconut amino (or soy sauce), rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, grated ginger, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. Adjust the maple syrup and red pepper flakes to suit your taste preferences.
Combine the Ingredients: Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over them. Gently toss to coat the vegetables evenly with the dressing.
Let it Marinate: Allow the salad to sit for at least 15-20 minutes. This helps the flavors meld together beautifully.
Garnish and Serve: Just before serving, garnish with chopped cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. These add a burst of freshness and crunch to the salad.
For an Asian Inspired dinner at home, serve it along with Kung Pao Tofu, Vegetarian Lo-Mein Noodles, Spicy Rice Ramen Noodles or Asian Dumpling Soup. Similar to Chinese Spicy Green Beans and Chinese Spicy Eggplant, this Asian Cucumber Salad is my favorite quick and easy side dish.
I prefer to eat this salad freshly made. If you absolutely must store it, it will last 2-3 days be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Variations to make Asian Cucumber Salads
Feel free to mix and match ingredients and dressings to create your own unique spin on this beloved salad. The key is to experiment and have fun with it!
- Spicy Thai Cucumber Salad: Add a kick of heat by incorporating Thai chili peppers or sriracha into the dressing. Toss in some chopped peanuts and fresh mint or Thai basil for an extra layer of flavor.
- Japanese Sunomono: This Japanese-style cucumber salad uses rice vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt for the dressing. Thinly sliced seaweed (wakame) and toasted sesame seeds can be added for authenticity.
- Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim): Elevate the salad with a Korean-inspired dressing made from gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), soy sauce, garlic, and a touch of sesame oil. Finish with thinly sliced scallions for extra flavor.
- Vietnamese Cucumber Salad (Goi Du Du): Incorporate shredded green papaya along with cucumber for a refreshing twist. Toss with a zesty dressing of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and garlic. Add in chopped peanuts for a delightful crunch.
Helpful Hints and Expert Tips:
- Cucumber Selection: Choose fresh, firm cucumbers. I prefer Persian cucumbers but English cucumbers also work well for this recipe due to their crisp texture and mild flavor.
- Choose Thin Skinned Cucumbers : I suggest you use thin skinned cucumbers and check the bitterness before starting. If you plan to use regular waxy garden cucumbers, peel the skin and remove the seeds.
- Salting the Cucumbers: Cucumbers have very high-water content. Salting the cucumber helps release excessive liquid. Salting helps create more flavorful salad since the dressing doesn’t get as watered down. Even though this step is optional. I highly recommend it.
- Adjusting Flavor Profiles: Feel free to customize the dressing to your liking. Add a bit more soy sauce for a saltier kick or extra sugar for a sweeter touch.
- Chilling Time: Allowing the salad to marinate is crucial. It helps the cucumbers absorb the flavors of the dressing, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
- Make it Your Own: Don’t be afraid to get creative! Add some thinly sliced bell peppers, shredded carrots, or even some sliced avocado for an extra twist.
More Salad Recipes To Try
- Balsamic Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Restaurant Style House Salad
- Chickpea Salad
- Caprese Salad with Peaches
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Asian Cucumber Salad
- 1 pound Persian or English cucumbers about 4 cups sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt for salting the cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1-2 clove garlic finely minced
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon liquid coconut amino or soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or sugar
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes or sriracha, both optional. use per spice tolerance.
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 4-5 scallions finely sliced
- Prepare the Cucumbers: Wash and dry the cucumbers. You can leave the skin on for extra crunch and color. Slice them thinly. I love making accordion style spiral cucumbers. If you have a mandoline slicer, this is the perfect time to use it.
- Salt the cucumbers: (Optional but highly recommended) Place the chopped cucumbers in a strainer bowl and sprinkle salt over it generously. Toss to coat and let them sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Make the Salad Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, grated ginger, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. Adjust the maple syrup and red pepper flakes to suit your taste preferences.
- Combine the Ingredients: Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over them. Gently toss to coat the vegetables evenly with the dressing.
- Let it Marinate: Allow the salad to sit for at least 15-20 minutes. This helps the flavors meld together beautifully.
- Garnish and Serve: Just before serving, garnish with chopped cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. These add a burst of freshness and crunch to the salad.