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Easy Asian Cucumber Salad

My easy Asian Cucumber Salad makes the very best of crisp cucumber. I like to add toasted sesame seeds, chopped chilies and some fresh coriander and mint to the salad. I then dress it with an Asian salad dressing, flavoured with garlic, ginger, soy and sesame oil.

A black plate with sliced cucumbers and topped with diced red chilli, sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seed and coated in salad dressing, with a glass dish filled with toasted sesame seeds, sprigs of fresh herbs and a whole red chilli set alongside.

I’ve never been one to only eat salads in the summer months, I enjoy salad the year round. For that reason I have a variety of quick and easy salad recipes in my repertoire. This spicy cucumber salad is one I make often.

The fresh crisp cucumber, works perfectly with the toasted sesame seeds and the acidic, smoky salad dressing, flavoured with pungent garlic and ginger.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • The perfect balance of sour, salty and spicy flavours.
  • Take minutes to prepare and can be on the table in 10 minutes.
  • Contains no dairy so suitable for dairy free and vegan diets.
  • Use gluten free soy sauce and this is a great salad for coeliacs or anyone following a gluten free diet.

How to make Asian cucumber salad

  • Start by placing the sesame seeds into a dry non-stick pan and place on the stove top over a medium-high heat.
  • Gently toast the seeds, moving them around the pan to stop them from burning.
  • Continue stirring until the seeds become fragrant and turn golden brown then remove from the heat to stop them cooking and place into a small bowl. Set aside to cool.
A glass bowl with a fork, filled with Asian cucumber salad dressing.
  • Make the salad dressing my placing all the ingredients into a small dish and whisk until all the ingredients have combined. Set aside until ready to plate.
A black plate with sliced cucumbers and topped with diced red chilli, sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seed and coated in salad dressing, with a glass dish filled with toasted sesame seeds, sprigs of fresh herbs and a whole red chilli set alongside.
  • When ready to serve the salad, place all the salad vegetables and herbs into a large bowl. Pour over the salad dressing and stir to combine. Finally sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Asian cucumber salad ingredients & substitutions

Asian cucumber salad recipe ingredients.
  • Sesame seeds – I use toasted sesame seeds in the salad itself and also to garnish the salad before serving.
  • Cucumber – I use a large English cucumber but you could also use smaller Persian cucumbers or mini cucumbers. Just adapt how much you use depending on the size of the fruits.
  • Chilli – I love chilli heat so add one red chilli to the salad. If you prefer your salad less spicy, then deseed the chilli and discard the seeds.
  • Onion – I use spring onions (green onions) as they have a mild flavour which doesn’t overpower the other flavors in the salad. You could also use red onion or shallot as they have a milder flavour.
  • Fresh herbs – I use a combination of coriander leaf (cilantro) and fresh mint, they pair really well with the cucumber.

Asian salad dressing ingredients

  • Oil – I use toasted sesame oil which has a lovely smoky flavour. You can pick up really good quality sesame oil in your local Chinese or Asian supermarkets.
  • Soy sauce – Light soy sauce is added for flavour and also to provide salty seasoning to the salad dressing. You can also use gluten free soy sauce.
  • Vinegar – Rice wine vinegar adds acidity to the dressing. Sherry vinegar would be a good substitute.
  • Garlic – I use garlic puree in the dressing, but you can use fresh garlic if you prefer, just take time to mince it really finely.
  • Ginger – I use ginger puree in the dressing, but you can use fresh ginger if you prefer, just take time to grate it really finely.
Close up photo of a black plate with sliced cucumbers and topped with diced red chilli, sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seed and coated in salad dressing, with a glass dish filled with toasted sesame seeds, sprigs of fresh herbs and a whole red chilli set alongside.

Recipe variations

  • If you like your salad extra spicy, add an extra chilli or stir some chilli flakes, or hot chilli sauce through the salad dressing.
  • Add extra veggies like carrots, celery or radish.
  • Add some crushed peanuts or cashew nuts to the salad for extra crunch.
  • I’ve used coriander and mint in the salad, but feel free to use any other soft herbs, dill and parsley would also work well with the cucumber.
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice can add extra acidity.

Serving suggestions

This salad works well with a variety of different dishes, but particularly Asian inspired food. I enjoy it with stir fry recipes like my Chicken & Cashew Nut Stir Fry, Easy Vegetable Stir Fry, and Pork & Peanut Stir-fry.

It’s also delicious with this Chinese Steamed Sea Bass and my Beef in Black Bean Sauce.

A black plate with sliced cucumbers and topped with diced red chilli, sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seed and coated in salad dressing, with a glass dish filled with toasted sesame seeds, sprigs of fresh herbs and a whole red chilli set alongside.

Useful hints and tips

  1. I use garlic and ginger purees/pastes which are available in most large supermarkets. I use them in the dressing as they whisk to a smooth consistency. You can swap with fresh garlic and ginger, just made sure you crush or grate as finely as possible.
  2. Containing no dairy this side dish is suitable for dairy free Vegan diners.
  3. Use a gluten free soy sauce and this salad can be served to coeliacs and gluten free diners.
  4. Allergy advice: gluten free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free and nut free. For comprehensive and detailed allergy advice go to Allergy UK.

FAQs

Can Asian cucumber salad be made ahead?

This is a salad that is best served fresh, as the cucumber will break down and become watery if dressed and left to sit for too long.

Do cucumbers need to be salted?

No, this is a quick and easy salad so I tend to make it just before I’m ready to sit down and eat. However, if you’re not going to eat all the salad in one sitting, then I do suggest salting the cucumber first as it will store better.

How do you salt cucumbers?

Slice the cucumbers and place in a sieve over a bowl. Scatter over a teaspoon of salt and set aside for 1 hour. During this time the salt will draw out the excess moisture from the cucumber and you’re left with a drier, crisper slice of cucumber.

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Pinnable image with recipe title and a black plate with sliced cucumbers and topped with diced red chilli, sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seed and coated in salad dressing, with a glass dish filled with toasted sesame seeds, sprigs of fresh herbs and a whole red chilli set alongside.

Additional recipe suggestions

If you like this recipe then try some of my other easy side salad recipes:

Love salad, then head to my Best Salad Recipes posts where you will find a great variety of side and main salad dishes.

A black plate with sliced cucumbers and topped with diced red chilli, sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seed and coated in salad dressing, with a glass dish filled with toasted sesame seeds, sprigs of fresh herbs and a whole red chilli set alongside.

Easy Asian Cucumber Salad

Easy Asian Cucumber Salad makes the very best of crisp cucumbers. For extra flavour toasted sesame seeds, chopped chilies and some fresh coriander and mint are added to the salad. The salad is then dressed with an Asian salad dressing.
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 67kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 large English cucumber (sliced)
  • 1 red chilli (finely chopped)
  • 2 spring onions (finely sliced)
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaf (chopped)
  • 1 tsp mint leaf (chopped)

Asian Salad Dressing

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp garlic puree
  • ½ tsp ginger puree

Instructions

  • Start by placing the sesame seeds into a dry non-stick pan and place on the stove top over a medium-high heat. Gently toast the seeds, moving them around the pan to stop them from burning. Continue stirring until the seeds become fragrant and turn golden brown then remove from the heat to stop them cooking and place into a small bowl. Set aside to cool.
  • Make the salad dressing my placing all the ingredients into a small dish and whisk until all the ingredients have combined. Set aside until ready to plate.
  • When ready to serve the salad, place all the salad vegetables and herbs into a large bowl. Pour over the salad dressing and stir to combine. Finally sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Garlic and ginger purees/pastes are available in most large supermarkets and I use them in the dressing as they whisk to a smooth consistency. You can swap with fresh garlic and ginger, just made sure you crush or grate as finely as possible.
  • This is a salad that is best served fresh, as the cucumber will break down and become watery if dressed and left to sit.
  • If you want to make the salad ahead of time, or have leftovers for another day, I suggest slicing and salting the cucumbers first in a teaspoon of sea salt and setting then aside. The excess moisture will drain from the cucumbers and you will have a crunchier cucumber which can be stored for a day or two.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Asian Cucumber Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 67 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Sodium 260mg11%
Potassium 209mg6%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 277IU6%
Vitamin C 22mg27%
Calcium 46mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •

Course : Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine : Asian
Keyword : asian cucumber salad sesame oil, asian cucumber salad soy sauce, crunchy asian cucumber salad, spicy cucumber salad
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Recipe Rating




Cat

Thursday 7th of September 2023

I am a sucker for a cucumber salad and these flavours were everything I was looking for. So so tasty!

Lesley

Thursday 7th of September 2023

Thank you Cat, I'm glad you enjoyed the salad.

Chloe

Friday 25th of August 2023

She's not only pretty but damn tasty too - loved it!

Lesley

Friday 25th of August 2023

Thank you Chloe, glad you enjoyed it.