Asian Cucumber Salad
This Asian Cucumber Salad is refreshing, easy to make and so tasty! It’s packed with crunchy cucumber, chopped nuts and scallions all coated in a deliciously creamy sauce. This salad requires less than 10 ingredients and only takes 15 minutes to make! This easy cucumber salad is Paleo, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan and can easily be made Whole30 and Keto too!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD
- This delicious Asian Cucumber Salad is creamy, crunchy, refreshing, salty and packed with umami flavour.
- This simple salad requires less than 10 ingredients to make, all of which are common pantry/fridge staples that you may already have.
- It’s a quick and easy salad to make that takes less than 10 minutes start to finish.
- This salad is Paleo, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Vegan and can easily be made Whole30 and Keto too!
WHAT IS IN THIS ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD?
This Asian Cucumber Salad contains less than 10 ingredients, all of which you may already have in your pantry or fridge, and if not, don’t stress, I’ve also included some ingredient substitutions that you may have instead. To make this Asian Cucumber Salad all you need is:
- Cucumbers: mini cucumbers (also known as Persian cucumbers) work best in this recipe. I’ve included more information about them below.
- Coconut Aminos: Coconut aminos are a liquid seasoning made from the fermented sap of coconut palms and sea salt. It is a popular alternative to soy sauce because it is gluten-free, soy-free, and low in sodium. Coconut aminos have a sweet and salty flavor that is similar to soy sauce but with a slightly milder taste. If you do not have coconut aminos, feel free to substitute them for soy sauce or tamari.
- Almond Butter: feel free to use peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter in the sauce. Try to look for a nut butter that is not sweetened and contains just blended nuts (and sometimes salt). If you have a nut and legume allergy you can substitute the nut butter with tahini.
- Sesame Oil: you can use regular or toasted sesame oil. I find that toasted has a much stronger nutty flavour.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: To make this recipe Specific Carbohydrate Diet legal I use apple cider vinegar, but if you are not following this diet you can use rice vinegar in its place.
- Korean Chili Powder: also known as Gochugaru is a slightly sweet chili powder. I’ve included more details about it below, but if you are unable to find it you can use a combination of chipotle powder and cayenne powder or just cayenne powder.
- Honey: A touch of honey added to the sauce adds a bit of sweetness and balances out the acidity of the vinegar. If you are vegan you can swap the honey for maple syrup, or leave it out altogether if you are Keto or doing a Whole30, the sauce will still be delicious without it.
- Peanuts: Chopped peanuts are a great salty garnish that I like scattering all over the salad before serving. I use roasted and salted peanuts for the most flavour. If you are on a legume free diet (such as Paleo or Whole30) then I would recommend swapping the chopped peanuts for chopped cashews or almonds.
WHAT ARE MINI CUCUMBERS?
Mini cucumbers, also known as Persian cucumbers or snack cucumbers, are a smaller variety of cucumbers that are typically 3-4 inches long, with a thin, tender skin and small seeds. Mini cucumbers have a crisp, refreshing taste and are a great option for snacking or adding to salads. Compared to larger-sized cucumbers, mini cucumbers don’t require peeling and can be eaten whole, skin and all. They also tend to be sweeter and less bitter than larger cucumbers, which can sometimes have a slightly bitter taste. Additionally, mini cucumbers have a higher water content than larger cucumbers, which makes them a great choice for salads due to the fact that they won’t cause the salad to become watery.
CAN I USE LARGER SIZED CUCUMBERS INSTEAD?
If you are unable to find mini cucumbers then you can use the more common larger sized cucumbers in this Asian Cucumber Salad. I recommend cutting them into chunkier sized cubes, seasoning them with salt and leaving them to rest in a sieve for 10 minutes to draw out any excess moisture.
CAN I MAKE THIS SALAD NUT FREE?
Absolutely! I like using a nut butter such as peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter in the dressing but if you have a nut and/or legume allergy you can replace the nut butter with an equal amount of tahini (sesame paste). Tahini will give dressing a similar creamy consistency and taste.
IS THIS ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD PALEO AND WHOLE30?
If you use almond butter or cashew butter (not peanut butter) and garnish with chopped cashews (not peanuts) then this Asian cucumber salad is paleo. To make this salad Whole30, do not use peanut butter/peanuts and skip the honey/maple syrup which is used as a sweetener.
IS THIS ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD SPICY?
I would rate the spiciness level of this salad a 3/10, but this can easily be increased or decreased depending on your fondness for spice. I would suggest increasing the amount of Korean Chili Powder to 2 teaspoons if you would like this salad to be spicy, or omit it altogether if you are feeding this to kids or would prefer it to not have any hint of heat.
WHAT IS KOREAN CHILI POWDER? CAN I USE SOMETHING ELSE IN ITS PLACE?
Gochugaru, which in English can also be known as Korean chili powder is a bright red chili powder that has slightly smoky yet sweet flavour. It is used in a lot of Korean cooking and can be found in everything from kimchi to stews. Compared to the chili powder most commonly found in stores here in North America, gochugaru has a much milder spice level. Korean Chili Powder can be found in most Asian markets or alternatively can also be bought online (Amazon to the rescue!). If you are unable to find it, you instead can use 1/2 tsp regular chili powder in this Asian Cucumber Salad instead.
CAN I MAKE THIS ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD IN ADVANCE?
The dressing for this Asian Cucumber Salad can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. The cucumbers are best cut right before adding to the salad, but if you have to cut them in advance or would prefer to prepare this salad a few hours ahead, I recommend generously seasoning them with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and leave them to rest in a sieve for 15 minutes, this will help to draw out some of the liquid from the cucumber and will help to prevent the salad from becoming watery as it sits.
WHAT ABOUT LEFTOVERS?
Leftover Asian Cucumber Salad will last for 2 days in the fridge. Unfortunately the salad will become quite watery the longer it sits in the fridge so I recommend draining some of the excess liquid from the leftover salad before eating.
Here are a few more easy salads that you might enjoy:
- Thai Watermelon Salad
- Spicy Thai Mango Salad
- Citrus, Fennel, Avocado & Shrimp Salad
- Creamy Cauliflower Faux-Tato Salad
- Pesto Zoodle Salad with Prosciutto & Pine Nuts
- Roasted Fennel & Green Bean Salad
- Grilled Zucchini & Asparagus Salad
- Carrot Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
- Roasted Cauliflower, Date, Red Onion & Parsley Salad
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
Asian Cucumber Salad
- 6 mini cucumbers
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts or cashews
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos (or tamari/soy sauce)
- 2 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
- 1 tsp korean chili powder (or 1/2 tsp regular chili powder)
- 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
- Wash the cucumber and cut them into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the sliced cucumber in a bowl
- In a small bowl whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Whisk until smooth and taste.
- Pour the dressing over the cucumber and toss to ensure all of the slices are well coated. Garnish the salad with the chopped scallions and nuts. Serve.
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