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This delightful Asian Cucumber Salad is a blend of flavors, creating a refreshing dish that’s finished with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and sesame seeds. It makes the perfect snack or side dish to complement any meal.
Do you love cucumbers as much as I do? I can’t resist the delicious crunch they offer to every recipe! Check out this yummy Cucumber Sandwich, this easy Italian Avocado Cucumber Tomato Salad or this fresh Cucumber Avocado Salad for more delicious ways to use up those cucumbers!
What is Asian Cucumber Salad?
Alright, where are my cucumber lovers at? If you love this veggie, then you are going to go crazy over this delicious (and easy!) recipe. This Asian Cucumber Salad is a light and tasty dish. It starts with English cucumbers, which are thinly sliced and then combined with a mix of flavors that create a refreshing and crunchy texture. Because the dressing is similar to a marinade, the flavor gets stronger the longer it sits and absorbs all of the flavors.
Before serving, this salad is often garnished with red pepper flakes and sesame seeds. I like to add these because it brings a hint of spiciness (don’t worry, it’s not too hot!) and a yummy crunch. The result is a simple yet flavorful side dish or appetizer that’s especially perfect during warmer months.
Ingredients in Asian Cucumber Salad
These ingredients are fresh, and delicious and pair so well together. The cucumbers provide the delightful crunch that we all love, and the seasonings are out-of-this-world delicious! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for all of the exact measurements.
- English Cucumbers: These thinly sliced cucumbers provide a refreshing and crisp base for the salad, making it juicy and crunchy.
- Salt: The salt helps to draw out excess moisture from the cucumbers and makes sure they aren’t too watery.
- Green Onions: These add a mild onion flavor and a pop of color to the salad.
- Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor.
- Sesame Oil: Sesame oil has a rich, nutty flavor that goes well with the other ingredients.
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce provides a savory umami flavor and adds a little more saltiness.
- Minced Garlic: Can you ever go wrong adding garlic to a dish?!
- Sugar: A small amount of sugar balances the flavors.
- Red Pepper Flakes: These flakes add a touch of heat and spiciness to the salad which gives it a subtle kick.
- Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds offer a delicate crunch and are perfect for a garnish.
How to Make Asian Cucumber Salad
Once you have your cucumbers thinly sliced, this salad takes less than 5 minutes to throw together! The longer you let it sit with the dressing, the more it marinates and soaks in all of the yummy flavors.
- Slice and Chill: Thinly slice the cucumbers, then add salt and gently toss to combine. Then, chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Make Dressing: Combine the onions, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir well, making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Drain: Drain the salt water from the cucumber. Do not rinse the cucumbers. Just remove the excess water.
- Combine and Toss: Pour the dressing over the cucumber slices, then toss to coat the cucumbers.
- Garnish: Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes and sesame seeds, and then serve immediately.
Tips and Variations
Here are a few things you can do to switch things up in this Asian Cucumber Salad. Make it spicier, gluten-free, or even add in some more crunch!
- Soak in Salt: Adding salt to the sliced cucumbers is important. It draws out the extra moisture in the cucumbers creating drier and crunchier cucumbers.
- Gluten-Free: If you can’t have gluten, then use tamari in place of soy sauce for a gluten-free option.
- Cucumber Options: Japanese cucumbers are the traditional type to use for this salad, but they can sometimes be tricky to find. I used English cucumbers, which are similar. If you have some, then you can also use mini cucumbers in a pinch.
- Add Peanuts: Chopped peanuts add more crunch and flavor!
- Make it Spicer: Add a teaspoon of garlic chili paste to the dressing for extra heat.
- Serve Chilled: Chilled is always the best way to serve this Asian cucumber salad. It gives the dressing time to blend with all of the flavors. Plus, it also creates a crunchy, crisp texture to the chilled cucumbers.
Can You Store Leftovers?
Asian Cucumber Salad is best enjoyed shortly after making it, as the textures and flavors are at their peak when freshly prepared. Keep in mind that the salad might not stay as crisp and fresh after a day or two, as the cucumbers can release moisture and soften over time.
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Asian Cucumber Salad
- Thinly slice the cucumbers, then add salt and gently toss to combine. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Combine the onions, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar. Stir well making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Drain the salt water from the cucumber. Do not rinse the cucumbers. Just remove the excess water.
- Pour the dressing over the cucumber slices, then toss to coat the cucumbers.
- Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.