Super crunchy and packed full of flavor, this Asian spicy cucumber salad makes for a great refreshing vegan side dish to try this summer.
When I have some extra cucumbers lying in my refrigerator, I almost always find myself putting this salad together.
The dressing for this salad is super easy, and the entire salad comes together in a matter of minutes.
Inspired by the viral Tik Tok recipe, I decided to do my own take on this cucumber salad recipe, and I had to say, this one really knocked my socks off!
This cucumber salad with Asian flavors is a great recipe to put together if you like spicy food and are looking for an easy recipe to make with just some pantry essentials.
For one, it ended up being so much more nutritious and was easier to eat (and make) as well.
- What's So Great About the Recipe?
- Ingredients For the Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad Recipe
- How to Make the Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad
- 💭Top Tip
- How to Store the Leftover Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad
- Tips & Tricks to Nail the Recipe
- How to Serve the Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad
- Related Recipes
- Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad
- Food Safety
What's So Great About the Recipe?
What I love the most about this crunchy and spicy cucumber salad recipe is the fact that it pairs so well with almost any other main dish.
The salad has bold flavors, which means I could pair it with any subtle tasting meal, or any Asian inspired rice or noodle dish I’m putting together.
It is perfect for the warmer months of the year, and comes together super quick too!
Ingredients For the Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad Recipe
This spicy cucumber salad features some simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.
Persian cucumber: I would highly recommend using English cucumbers or Persian cucumbers for this recipe. They have to be used with their skin on, which gives them a nice crunchy texture that you totally want for this recipe.
Spring onion: Freshly chopped green onions are another absolute must, because they lend so much flavor to the salad, and bring a touch of freshness too.
Garlic: Chopped garlic really elevates this salad to the next level. The little bits and pieces of pungent garlic complement the rather bland cucumbers.
Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds lend the salad a beautiful zippy crunch and a bit of texture too. For some extra flavor, you can use toasted sesame seeds.
Soy sauce: I’ve used dark soy sauce, but you can stick to using low sodium or light soy sauce if you want to. This just adds a nice bit of umami flavor to the salad.
Vinegar: Vinegar brings some tanginess to the salad. You can also choose to use rice vinegar if you want to. If you don’t have it, you can use some freshly squeezed lemon juice instead.
Cilantro: Chopped cilantro can brighten up the salad and lend it some extra freshness. You can use chives or Thai basil too!
Gochugaru: Gochugaru aka Korean red chili paste, is actually a hero of this Asian spicy cucumber salad. It is what lends the salad that bright red color and the kick of heat.
Chili flakes: Just a pinch of red pepper flakes or Korean chili flakes can add some flaky, peppery deliciousness to the salad.
Sesame oil: Sesame oil makes for a great base for the salad dressing. While you can always use extra virgin olive oil, this one has a better, Asian flavor.
Sugar: A bit of sugar really helps tie all the flavors together, and keeps the salad from being overly spicy.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make the Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad
Ready to make this spicy cucumber salad? Here's how you need to do it.
In a small bowl, combine Gochugaru, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar, chili flakes, cilantro, vinegar, soy sauce and chopped garlic.
Now add in the chopped spring onions and mix everything well.
Rinse the cucumbers cut them into small wedges using a sharp knife. You can also choose to salt the cucumbers if you want to.
Combine everything in a large bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, covered in cling wrap.
Top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and the Asian spicy cucumber salad is ready to serve!
- If you’re looking to make a gluten free version of this salad, swap the soy sauce for tamari or gluten free soy sauce.
- I also like to add a dash of Chinese black vinegar for this Asian cucumber salad recipe.
- To bring some extra tanginess into the salad, you can add some tamarind paste.
- To make this Asian cucumber salad more flavorful, you can also add a dash of fish sauce into the dressing.
- If you don’t have the sesame seeds or are looking for another crunchy addition to this salad, consider roasted and crushed peanuts.
- If you don’t want to use sugar to sweeten the dressing for this salad, you can add a dash of honey or some maple syrup instead.
- Remember to adjust the amount of salt in the dressing before you pour it over the assembled salad. Ingredients like soy sauce already have quite a bit of salt added in.
- While I made this spicy Asian cucumber salad with diced cucumbers, you can also choose to make a version with sliced cucumbers if you want to. Just remember to slice the cucumber into thin strips.
- To get the perfect thin slices, you can use a mandolin slicer.
- Another great version you can try out is a nice Chinese smashed cucumber salad.
- If you have a little extra time and love spicy food, you can also make cucumber noodles using a spiralizer, and top the noodles with the spicy sauce.
To make the cucumbers soak up all those spicy flavors, you can also consider scoring them with a fork before cutting them.
How to Store the Leftover Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad
Just like most other salads, this Asian spicy cucumber salad tastes best on the day you make it. If you have some leftovers, you can always store them for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
Storing any salad beyond that point will cause all the veggies to become watery, mushy and lose their texture. Freezing the salad is also a big no no.
That said, you can prepare the chili oil in advance and store it for weeks in the refrigerator.
Tips & Tricks to Nail the Recipe
Think you're ready to nail this spicy Asian cucumber salad recipe? While making this cucumber salad is so easy, you might want to note down these little tips and tricks too.
- While cucumber is the hero ingredient in this dish, you can always add in more veggies of your choice to add more nutrition and healthy goodness to the salad.
- Carrots, bell peppers and red cabbage taste wonderful when put together and tossed in this delicious spicy dressing. You can julienne them or cut them into small pieces.
- I love the idea of adding some bean sprouts into the cucumber dish too. This really helps make them crunchy and nutritious- a lot of Asian recipes call for it to be added in.
- If you want the salad to have a protein punch, you can add pan fried tofu or shrimp to it too!
- To make all the veggies soak up the flavors of the dressing, let the salad rest in the refrigerator for an hour before you serve it.
- Once you get it out of the refrigerator, give it a quick mix again to redistribute the seasonings and dressing.
- Some Asian salads also call for the cucumber to be salted for a while to help remove any excess water, and then used for the salad. I usually skip that step, especially when I’m in a time crunch.
How to Serve the Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad
This sweet and spicy Korean cucumber salad is best served with your Asian recipes and culinary creations. Here are a few good ideas to get you inspired.
With a Grilled Meat
This Asian spicy cucumber salad can be an excellent side dish or appetizer to serve with any of your grilled meats and summer main dishes. Salmon, chicken and shrimp are all great proteins you can pair the salad with.
On a Rice Bowl
I like to serve it with my honey sriracha shrimp rice bowl with a topping of some spicy red pepper flakes for some extra flavor.
With Some Noodles
This delicious recipe can also liven up any simple noodle dish and lend it some delicious Asian flavors. Serve it with your soba or udon noodles to make it a complete meal.
As a Side Dish
With its crunchy texture, this salad can be a great refreshing side dish or a snack too!
Inside a Sandwich or Wrap
Your leftover Asian cucumber salad that has slightly watery cucumber can be used as a filling for your wraps and sandwiches too!
If you don’t have Gochugaru, you can use any red chili paste or hot oil as an alternative. I like to use my crunchy chili crisp, but you can also use some Sriracha if nothing else works for you.
You can! Just remember that you will need to peel these cucumbers first before using them. If you can get your hands on some mini cucumbers or Japanese cucumbers, you can use them too.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Asian Spicy Cucumber Salad
- 400 gms Persian cucumber
- 1 stalk spring onion finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon gochugaru
- 1 sprig cilantro chopped for garnish
- In a small bowl, combine Gochugaru, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar, chili flakes, cilantro, vinegar, soy sauce and chopped garlic.
- Now add in the chopped spring onions and mix everything well.
- Cut the Persian cucumbers in small wedges using a sharp knife.
- Combine everything in a large bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, covered in cling wrap. Top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and serve.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove