Asian Cucumber Salad

Asian Cucumber Salad is a refreshing dish known for its crisp texture and vibrant flavor profile. This salad typically features thinly sliced cucumbers, often accompanied by a variety of other ingredients such as red onions, carrots, and peppers, all tossed in a tangy and slightly sweet vinegar-based dressing. It’s a popular side dish in many Asian cuisines, serving as a perfect complement to heavier main courses by providing a light and cooling contrast.

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Asian Cucumber Salad

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free


– 2 fresh cucumbers
– 1 tsp fine sea salt
– 10g ginger, finely grated
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 fresh red chilies, thinly sliced
– 15ml rice vinegar
– 30ml light soy sauce
– 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
– 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
– 5g granulated white sugar
– 50ml fresh water


1. Prepare the Cucumbers:
– Wash the cucumbers thoroughly under cold running water.
– Slice them into thin rounds or half-moons, depending on your preference.
– Place them in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the sea salt.
– Mix well and let them sit for about 10 minutes to draw out excess water.

2. Make the Dressing:
– In a small bowl, combine the grated ginger, minced garlic, sliced red chilies, rice vinegar, light soy sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, freshly ground black pepper, granulated white sugar, and fresh water.
– Stir everything together to create the dressing.

3. Combine and Marinate:
– After the cucumbers have sat in salt, gently rinse them under cold water and drain well.
– Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture.
– Pour the prepared dressing over the cucumbers in the mixing bowl.
– Toss everything together until the cucumbers are evenly coated with the dressing.

4. Chill and Serve:
– Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
– This allows the flavors to meld together and the cucumbers to absorb the spicy, tangy dressing.
– Before serving, give the salad a good mix and taste for seasoning.
– Adjust with a little more salt or vinegar if needed.

5. Enjoy:
– Serve the refreshing and spicy cucumber salad as a cooling side dish or accompaniment to a meal.
– It adds a burst of flavor and texture to any table.


  • For best results, use English cucumbers as they are seedless and have a thinner skin.
  • Adjust the amount of red chili flakes according to your spice preference.
  • This salad is best enjoyed fresh but can be refrigerated for up to a day.
  • Vegan, Gluten-Free (ensure gluten-free soy sauce is used).
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: Asian


  • Calories: 50
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 200mg
  • Fat: 1g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of cucumber is best for Asian Cucumber Salad?

English cucumbers or Japanese cucumbers are ideal for Asian Cucumber Salad due to their thin skin, minimal seeds, and crisp texture. These types of cucumbers maintain their crunch even after being dressed.

Can I make Asian Cucumber Salad ahead of time?

It’s best to prepare Asian Cucumber Salad close to serving time to maintain the crispness of the cucumbers. However, you can prepare the dressing and cut the vegetables ahead of time and store them separately in the refrigerator. Mix them together just before serving.

Is Asian Cucumber Salad spicy?

The basic recipe for Asian Cucumber Salad is not typically spicy, but you can easily adjust the heat level by adding chili flakes, fresh sliced chilies, or a splash of hot sauce to the dressing according to your preference.

How can I make this salad a complete meal?

To make Asian Cucumber Salad a complete meal, add a protein such as grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu. You can also include cooked quinoa or rice to make it more filling.

What are some common variations of this salad?

Common variations of Asian Cucumber Salad might include adding mango for sweetness, avocado for creaminess, or using different herbs like basil or lemongrass for a unique flavor twist. Incorporating pickled vegetables can also add an extra dimension of flavor.

Asian Cucumber Salad

Key Ingredients and Their Functions

The success of Asian Cucumber Salad lies in its simplicity and the freshness of its ingredients. Cucumbers are the star of the show, known for their crispness and mild flavor, which makes them an excellent base for absorbing the dressing. Red onions add a slight sharpness and crunch, while carrots contribute a subtle sweetness and make the salad more colorful. Bell peppers can also be included for their crisp texture and vibrant colors. The dressing usually consists of rice vinegar, soy sauce, a sweetener like sugar or honey, and sesame oil, which adds a distinctive nutty flavor.

Preparation Techniques

To prepare Asian Cucumber Salad, begin by washing and thinly slicing the cucumbers. Using a mandoline slicer can help achieve uniformly thin slices, which are ideal for this salad. Similarly, other vegetables like carrots and peppers should be julienned or thinly sliced to complement the texture of the cucumbers. The vegetables are then tossed in a dressing made from combining rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and often a touch of chili flakes for heat. Letting the salad sit for a few minutes before serving allows the flavors to meld together more fully.

Flavor Enhancements

Enhancing the flavor of Asian Cucumber Salad can involve several adjustments. Adding minced garlic or ginger to the dressing can introduce a new layer of depth and sharpness. For a more complex flavor profile, ingredients like toasted sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, or mint can be sprinkled on top before serving. Incorporating a splash of lime juice not only adds a zesty tang but also brightens the overall flavor of the dish.

Serving Suggestions

Asian Cucumber Salad is incredibly versatile and can be served in various ways. It pairs excellently with grilled meats, such as chicken or beef, making it a staple at barbecues. It also complements spicy dishes by providing a cooling element. For a fully vegetarian or vegan meal, pair it with other plant-based dishes such as tofu stir-fry or vegetable spring rolls. This salad can be served immediately after tossing or chilled in the refrigerator for an hour to enhance its refreshing qualities.

Nutritional Benefits

Asian Cucumber Salad is not only delicious but also offers significant health benefits. Cucumbers are low in calories but high in water content, making them hydrating and filling. They also contain important nutrients such as vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium. The addition of carrots and bell peppers increases the intake of vitamins A and C, which are crucial for immune system health and skin vitality. Furthermore, the sesame oil in the dressing provides healthy fats that are beneficial for heart health.

Asian Cucumber Salad

Dietary Adaptations

For those with specific dietary needs, Asian Cucumber Salad can be easily adapted. To make it suitable for low-sodium diets, simply reduce the amount of soy sauce or replace it with a low-sodium alternative. For a sugar-free version, swap out sugar or honey with a natural sweetener like stevia. This salad is naturally gluten-free if tamari is used instead of traditional soy sauce, and it’s already vegetarian and vegan-friendly, making it a versatile dish for various dietary restrictions.

Storage and Freshness

To ensure Asian Cucumber Salad remains crisp and fresh, proper storage is essential. If not serving immediately, it’s best to store the dressing separately and toss it with the cucumbers and other vegetables just before serving. This prevents the salad from becoming soggy. The salad can be refrigerated for up to a day. However, for the best texture and flavor, it’s recommended to prepare and consume the salad on the same day.

Creative Variations

There are many ways to creatively vary Asian Cucumber Salad to keep it exciting. Try adding different types of cucumbers, like English or Persian, for variation in flavor and crunch. Incorporating fruits such as mango or avocado can introduce a sweet or creamy element that contrasts nicely with the tangy dressing. Additionally, experimenting with different herbs like basil or lemongrass can give the salad a unique twist, enhancing its flavor profile.

Hosting and Presentation

When hosting, Asian Cucumber Salad can serve as an elegant starter or a light side dish that complements a variety of main courses. Presenting the salad in a beautiful dish and garnishing it with additional herbs, sesame seeds, or edible flowers can enhance its visual appeal and make it more inviting. It’s also a great dish for potlucks or picnics since it’s easy to transport and can be scaled up to feed a larger crowd without much additional effort.

Asian Cucumber Salad

Pairing with Main Courses

Asian Cucumber Salad pairs wonderfully with a variety of main dishes, especially those with Asian flavors. It complements spicy dishes by providing a cooling effect that balances the heat. For example, serving it alongside a spicy Thai curry or Korean BBQ can enhance the dining experience by adding a refreshing contrast. The salad also pairs well with sushi or grilled fish, where its crisp texture and tangy flavor profile cut through the richness of the seafood, refreshing the palate between bites.

Utilizing Seasonal Ingredients

Incorporating seasonal ingredients into Asian Cucumber Salad can elevate the dish by adding freshness and variety throughout the year. During the summer months, adding fresh herbs like mint or cilantro can bring new life to the salad. In the fall, introducing ingredients like pomegranate seeds can provide a sweet and tangy burst, which complements the earthy flavors of the root vegetables. This approach not only enhances the taste but also varies the nutritional content, making the salad appealing in different seasons.

Enhancing Texture and Crunch

To add more texture and crunch to the Asian Cucumber Salad, consider including ingredients like radishes or jicama, which provide a nice bite without overpowering the other flavors. Toasted nuts such as almonds or peanuts can also be sprinkled on top just before serving to introduce a nutty flavor and extra crunch. These additions make the salad more satisfying and can help vary the overall experience of the dish, making it more interesting and enjoyable.

Health-Conscious Modifications

For those looking to make Asian Cucumber Salad even healthier, several modifications can be made. Replacing traditional soy sauce with a low-sodium version can reduce salt intake while maintaining flavor. Using a sweetener like honey instead of refined sugar can lower the glycemic index of the dish. Additionally, increasing the ratio of vegetables to dressing can decrease the overall calorie density while boosting fiber and nutrient intake, aligning the dish with health-conscious eating habits.

Catering to Allergy Restrictions

When preparing Asian Cucumber Salad for guests with food allergies, it’s important to consider safe ingredient substitutions. For those allergic to sesame, using a sesame oil alternative like olive oil or omitting seeds altogether can prevent allergic reactions while still delivering a tasty salad. Always ensure that all ingredients, especially condiments like soy sauce, are checked for allergens such as gluten, which can be present in many processed foods. Being mindful of these details ensures that everyone can enjoy the salad safely.


Asian Cucumber Salad is a refreshing, crisp dish perfect for complementing rich main courses or serving as a light, flavorful meal on its own. With its simple preparation and versatile nature, it can be easily adapted to suit different tastes, dietary needs, and occasions. Whether you’re looking for a quick side dish for a family dinner, a healthy addition to your meal prep routine, or a beautiful salad for entertaining guests, Asian Cucumber Salad offers a delicious combination of textures and flavors that can be enjoyed year-round.

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