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Easy Asian Cucumber Salad

This easy, crunchy Asian Cucumber Salad is a delicious chilled cucumber salad that dresses cucumber pieces in a simple garlicky Asian vinaigrette! It's a quick, refreshing side dish with simple ingredients.

This easy Chinese cucumber salad recipe is inspired by the original Din Tai Fung cucumbers recipe, although I will be the first to admit that it isn't perfectly authentic or an exact copycat recipe! I think the tasty concoction of Asian sauces and spices is the perfect contrast to for the cold, crunchy cucumber.

a photo of asian cucumber salad in a bowl

To make this recipe, I dress the fresh cucumbers with a vinaigrette made of soy sauce, sweet rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.

Then, I add bit of sugar for sweet flavor. The sugar adds a delicious balance to the savory, acidic dressing ingredients! But, please know you can omit the sugar, reduce it, or substitute honey to fit your dietary needs.

I think the tasty concoction of Asian sauces and spices is the perfect contrast to for the cold, crunchy cucumber!

Check out the other popular side dish recipes on my site like this Creamy Cucumber Salad.

What Type of Cucumber Should I Use?

For this recipe, we use English cucumbers because they're readily available. You can also use regular cucumbers most often found in American grocery stores, garden cucumbers.

Alternatively, you can use Persian cucumbers or Japanese cucumbers if they are available to you. There are so many types of cucumbers available, please know that any variety of crunchy cucumbers will work!

a photo of asian cucumber salad in a bowl

Should I Peel the Cucumber?

I think the best way to serve this dish is with the peel still on, because it is beautiful! Cucumbers have a thin skin and most people do not mind eating the skin on their sliced cucumbers.

However, you can absolutely remove the peel before slicing the cucumber if desired.

a photo of cucumber slices in an asian vinaigrette in a bowl

Can I make this Easy Asian Cucumber Salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can absolutely make this ahead of time! The mixed dressing only gets more delicious with time! If time allows, let the cold crunchy cucumbers brine in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours. If desired, you can allow them to marinate for up to 2 days before serving.

But, please know that if you do plan to marinate the cucumbers for more than a few hours, you should opt to use thick slices of cucumber instead of the thin, ¼ inch slices I recommend for the quick serve option in the recipe below.

Personally, I think these cucumbers are even better the next day! They are awesome leftovers!

a photo of asian marinade ingredients in a pyrex measuring cup

Ingredient Substitutions:

  • Instead of minced garlic, add ⅓ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Instead of soy sauce, use liquid aminos
  • Instead of rice vinegar, use mirin or white vinegar
  • Instead of sugar, use honey, agave syrup

I think it is best to use sesame oil if possible because of the unique flavor that it adds. But, if you don't have access to it, add canola oil or another neutral tasting oil in it's place.

A photo of asian cucumber slices

I love to serve these zesty Asian Cucumbers as a side dish for these recipes: Asian Chicken Rice Bowl, Asian Chicken Burger with Ginger Peach Relish or Five-Spice Grilled Cornish Hens with Mongolian Barbecue Sauce.

A photo of asian cucumber slices

Easy Asian Cucumber Salad

Yield: Serves 3-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This easy, crunchy Asian Cucumber Salad is a delicious chilled cucumber salad! It dresses thick cucumber pieces in a simple garlicky Asian vinaigrette! It's a quick, refreshing side dish with simple ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 1 English cucumber, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (approximately one clove of fresh garlic)

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1.5 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • (optional): chili oil or chili sauce, for topping

Instructions

  1. Pat the cucumber slices dry with a paper towel to remove excess water. Cucumbers have high water content that can interfere with the recipe if you skip this step.
  2. Add the cucumber slices to a medium bowl, then sprinkle the salt over the top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. To the salted cucumbers, add onion, green onion and garlic.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and salt.
  5. Pour the liquids over the cucumber mixture and toss to coat.
  6. Allow to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  7. Optionally, top each serving with one teaspoon chili garlic sauce or chili oil when serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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