This Asian Cucumber Salad is perfectly crunchy, deliciously spicy and super easy to make. It’s full of flavour and made with simple ingredients you might already happen to have on hand!
If you’re looking for a way to spice up your cucumber salads (literally) then you’ve come to the right place! The Asian flair on this delicious Cucumber Salad is the perfect twist on a classic and has everyone coming back for more. It has the right amount of kick and is so good served up next to all your favourite Asian dishes. Beef and broccoli, anyone? It’s light, refreshing, flavourful and makes the perfect Summer snack. Annnnnd just so happens to be Vegan, to boot!
I’m not going to lie – growing up we had Cucumber Salad on the dinner table A LOT. But having Italian parents who are simply not into a mixture of different flavours (they stick to their guns, if you know what I mean), it was always prepared in the same simple way with some olive oil, vinegar, minced garlic and a sprinkling or two of oregano. Never would they have dreamed of putting things like sriracha or soy sauce in their cucumber salad. And while I must admit that their simple way of making cucumber salad is still one of my favourites, let’s just say I’m a little more adventurous when it comes to whipping things up in the kitchen.
Asian Cucumber Salad is the perfect way to get out of your kitchen comfort zone as it’s easy to make and tastes absolutely delicious. It takes something so very simple and easily transforms it into a versatile side dish just bursting with flavour. The combination of ingredients pairs so perfectly well with the thinly sliced cucumbers that I’m convinced that even my very Italian parents would give this one 2 thumbs up.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THIS ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD (INGREDIENTS)
For this Asian Cucumber Salad recipe, it’s allll about the garlic sauce that makes up the best combination of flavours and gives it the perfect spicy kick. Let’s discuss the ingredients you’ll need to throw this salad together in a little bit more detail down below:
- Cucumber: Well, duuuh! Cucumber is the base and bulk of this cucumber salad recipe and gives this salad the perfect crunch. I used the well known English Cucumber you can find at pretty much any grocery store. They have a thinner skin and fewer seeds making them perfect for this Asian Cucumber Salad recipe. However, you can use a different kind of cucumber if you prefer or that’s all you have on hand. Persian, homegrown or even mini cucumbers all make great alternatives. Whether or not you want to peel your cucumbers is totally up to you.
- Sambal Oelek: A chili garlic sauce that gives this cucumber salad the perfect spicy kick. You can find it in the Asian section of most grocery stores. However, you can use sriracha instead, if you prefer. Add more for extra spicy or omit completely for none at all.
- Soy Sauce: Adds a nice salty balance to this cucumber salad recipe.
- Sesame Oil: Adds a delicious nutty but smooth taste to this cucumber salad recipe. It has a distinct flavour and is a common ingredient in Asian cooking. However, if you don’t have any on hand, you can try using olive oil or avocado oil instead (although the flavours from those oils won’t nearly be the same).
- Rice Vinegar: Adds a bit of tang, acidity and sweetness to this Spicy Cucumber Salad. If you don’t have any on hand, try using white vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead.
- Ginger: Adds an Earthy, pungent and almost spicy bite to this Asian Cucumber Salad. Fresh minced ginger works best in this recipe.
- Garlic: Adds a delicious garlicky bite to this cucumber salad recipe. Therefore, fresh minced garlic works best.
- Green Onions: Adds a crunchy freshness to this cucumber salad recipe.
- Chili Powder: For this Asian Cucumber Salad recipe, I prefer using Korean chili powder instead of the regular one. It’s slightly sweet and smokey and packs a nice heat. However, you can use regular chili powder instead, if you prefer. Although the dish will taste slightly different and won’t be as spicy. You can also substitute Chili Flakes or chopped real chilies if you want it extra spicy.
- Salt/Pepper: Balances out the flavours of the rest of the ingredients and makes the whole thing ‘pop’.
HOW TO MAKE ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD (KEY TIPS)
You can find full instructions for how to make this healthy Asian inspired Cucumber Salad in the recipe card down below, but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
- Use a fork to score or “cut” small lines into the cucumber. This makes little slits or ridges in the skin which helps the dressing better cling to the slices once cut.
- Thinly slice the cucumber. Whether or not you want to peel the cucumber is totally up to you. However, thin slices are going to be your best bet either way.
- Mix the dressing/marinade ingredients in a bowl before pouring it onto the salad. This just ensures that all the flavours are well combined and evenly distributed amongst the cucumbers.
- Allow the cucumber salad to marinate in the dressing in the fridge for about an hour. This allows the flavours to mingle and develop resulting in a more flavourful salad.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. This Asian Cucumber Salad is full of pretty bold flavours. Feel free to add more or less of something to customize it to your personal liking.
- OPTIONAL TIP: If you anticipate having leftovers beyond 2-3 days, salt the cucumber slices before adding any dressing. Allow them to sit in a colander for 20-30 minutes where they’ll release their excess moisture and in turn, prevent the salad from turning soggy as it sits in the fridge.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Thinly sliced cucumbers work best in this recipe. Whether or not you want to peel them is totally up to you. A sharp kitchen knife gets the job done just fine. But, if you have a mandoline, you’ll be able to slice ’em up quick, fast and in a hurry. PRO TIP: If you have the time, use a fork to ‘score’ or ‘slit’ all around the cucumber which will help the dressing better stick to the slices once they’re cut.
Leaving the skin on the cucumber or deciding to peel it is totally up to you and based on your personal preference. For this Asian Cucumber Salad recipe, I used English cucumbers which already have a pretty thin skin as it is. Keep in mind that there are many nutrients and antioxidant properties in the skin itself so keeping them unpeeled will provide additional health benefits.
After being tossed with the dressing, this Asian Cucumber Salad will last 2-3 days in the fridge. The longer it sits, the more time the flavours will have to develop and the spicier it will become. However, since cucumber has a high water content, it will release some of that water as it sits and will become soggy overtime. OPTIONAL TIP: If you anticipate having leftovers beyond 2-3 days, salt the cucumber slices before adding any dressing. Allow them to sit in a colander for 20-30 minutes where they’ll release their excess moisture.
Asian Cucumber Salad is full of bold flavours! You can serve it up with other Asian inspired dishes such as Fresh Veggie Spring Rolls. Or something plain such as grilled chicken breasts or chicken wings so the flavours from the salad don’t have to combat or compete with the rest of the flavours on the plate.
- 1 English Cucumber
- 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 inch Ginger, finely minced
- 1 Clove Garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp Sambal Oelek (or Sriracha)
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1/2 tsp Korean Chili Powder*
- 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
- 2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
- Salt and Pepper, to taste, optional
- Use a fork to score or slit the cucumber on all sides* Cut it into very thin slices then add them to a large bowl.
- In a bowl, mix the rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sambal oelek, sesame oil and chili powder until well combined.
- Pour the dressing over the cucumber slices and toss well to coat. Cover and allow the flavours to mingle and marinate in the fridge for about an hour*
- Add the green onions and sesame seeds and stir to combine. Taste and adjust for seasonings, adding salt and pepper, if desired. Serve cold.
If you can't find Korean Chili Powder, use regular chili powder or chili flakes instead.
If you're short on time, you can skip the scoring of the cucumber. However, the little ridges made by the fork allows the dressing to better cling to the slices once they're cut.
If you anticipate having leftovers beyond 2-3 days, salt the cucumber slices before adding any dressing. Allow them to sit in a colander for 20-30 minutes where they'll release their excess moisture.
If you're short on time, you can skip the marinating the cucumber slices in the dressing in the fridge for an hour as well. However, the flavours develop and become more profound if you don't skip this step.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 331mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
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