Asian cucumber salad is a refreshing summer side dish. Sliced cucumbers and red onions are tossed in a tangy Asian-inspired vinaigrette .
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My husband and I have planted a garden every spring for the last several years. One of the staple items we grow are cucumbers. For months we wait, rather impatiently, for the cucumber blooms to bear fruit. Once they do, they come fast! A lot of the cucumbers we grow are turned into pickle slices for our hamburgers or Kosher dill pickle spears. However, I always make sure I set aside a few cucumbers every week to make our favorite summertime side dish – Asian cucumber salad.
Choosing the best Cucumber
Cucumbers are typically divided into two categories – varieties best for eating raw in salads and those best for pickling. Salad cucumbers are longer and have a thinner skin than pickling varieties. These include but are not limited to American Slicing, English, Armenian and Persian cucumbers.
That being said, we grow Boston pickling cukes in our garden. I have made this salad numerous times using those because it’s what I have on hand and it’s just as delicious.
Slice the cucumbers
After rinsing your cucumbers under cold water, cut the stem and the blossom end off. Using a sharp knife, slice the cucumbers into ¼-inch slices. A mandoline slicer makes quick work of this task. Once you have two cups, place the sliced cucumbers in a large mixing bowl.
Cut the red onion in half lengthwise. Remove the skin from one of the halves. Set the onion cut side down on a cutting board. Slice off an end and discard. Then proceed to cut the onion across its width into ¼ inch slices. You’ll need ½ cup of sliced red onion. Add the onion slices to the cucumbers in the mixing bowl and set aside.
Make the Asian salad dressing
In a separate mixing bowl or measuring cup, combine ¼ cup of white sugar, ¼ cup of rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and ½ teaspoon of chili garlic sauce. Whisk the dressing ingredients together until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
The rice vinegar and chili garlic sauce can typically be found in the Asian section of the international foods aisle at the grocery store. However, if you have trouble finding these two items in your area, you can substitute with apple cider vinegar or purchase a bottle of rice vinegar here. Red pepper flakes can be used instead of the chili garlic sauce or you can purchase it here.
Assemble the Salad
Pour the dressing over the sliced cucumbers and onion. Stir until all the ingredients are coated with the dressing. You can eat the salad at this point, but it’s actually better if you let everything marinate for a couple of hours.
For the best taste and texture, Asian cucumber salad needs to be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Consumer the salad within one week.
Serve Asian Cucumber Salad with
Asian Cucumber Salad
- 2 cups cucumber thinly sliced
- ½ cup red onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- Combine cucumbers and red onion in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl combine the sugar, rice vinegar, kosher salt and chili garlic sauce.
- Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and onions.
- Stir until everything is coated with the dressing
- For best results, cover the salad and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for two hours before serving.