This simple Asian cucumber salad recipe is super light and refreshing… Rice vinegar and dark sesame oil, along with toasted sesame seeds, give it a delicious oriental flair!
Asian Cucumber Salad
Cucumber salad is, hands down, one of my favorite summer side dishes — and with good reason. It’s light, refreshing, and pairs well with just about any main dish. Plus cucumbers are plentiful, fresh, and dirt cheap this time of year!
I’ve shared my family’s go-to Hungarian cucumber salad (a family heirloom recipe) and a delicious Greek cucumber salad previously. But lately I’ve been craving this flavorful and uber simple Asian cucumber salad… And when I say simple, I mean S-I-M-P-L-E!!!
How To Slice Cucumbers For Asian Cucumber Salad
One thing is certain — no matter what type of cucumber salad you’re preparing, you should start by removing as much water from the cucumbers as possible to prevent any excess juice from watering down your dressing.
I start by slicing my cucumbers as thinly as possible. You can use a sharp knife for this (just as my great-grandmother always did), or you can use a mandoline (my choice) or food processor to speed up the task.
Next sprinkle the cucumbers liberally with salt and toss to coat. Then place them in a colander, and set it in your kitchen sink to drain for about 30 minutes. Gently squeeze the cucumbers dry in a clean kitchen towel, then transfer them to your salad bowl.
Asian Cucumber Salad Dressing Recipe Ingredients
The Asian cucumber salad dressing recipe comes together with just 4 ingredients, starting with rice vinegar, the secret to its bright, tangy flavor. I grabbed a bottle of rice vinegar in the Asian aisle at the grocery store, along with a bottle of dark sesame oil.
A little dark sesame oil (made from toasted sesame seeds) goes a long way, packing tons of nutty flavor. But don’t be afraid to go for the larger bottles of each — I predict this yummy Asian side dish is going to be on repeat this summer!
To the rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil, we’ll just add a little sugar and salt for balance, producing a light and bright Asian vinaigrette. Whisk it all together and drizzle it over your cool, crisp, thinly sliced cucumbers.
TIP: Marinated salads like this always improve over time. Refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes after preparing to allow the flavors to develop, and it will keep for at least five days in the refrigerator. Or so I’ve heard — leftovers are usually gone by the next morning in our house!
Asian Cucumber Salad With Sesame Oil & Seeds
If you want to keep your Asian cucumber salad super simple, you can serve it as is. ButI like to finish the salad off with some toasted sesame seeds. In this case, I used black sesame seeds, because they look so striking against the pale cucumbers, but yellow sesame seeds will do just fine!
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More Asian Side Dishes
Looking for more Asian side dish recipes? I’ve got a few more tried and true recipes:
- Coconut Milk Rice — this simple coconut milk rice recipe is a total family favorite. Savory, with a very mild coconut flavor, it’s also the perfect base for tacos, fried rice, meal prep bowls, and more!
- Quick Pickled Veggies — these sweet & spicy quick pickled veggies are a simple mixture of your favorite vegetables submerged in a quick pickle brine with a bit of spice. Makes for a super easy, healthy, and flavorful side or condiment!
- Broccoli Slaw with Ramen Noodles — a crunchy and colorful ramen noodle salad that’s perfect for potlucks and beyond!