Spicy cucumber salad is quick, fresh, full of flavor, and great as a side dish, appetizer, or garnish! The spicy sesame-soy dressing comes together quickly in a bowl and works perfectly with cool and fresh cucumber. Only 9 ingredients and 25 minutes to prepare!
Why You'll Love It
I recently shared a cucumber stir fry recipe and have been on a bit of a cucumber kick ever since. With summer right around the corner, it's fun to discover delicious new ways to use cucumbers, one of summer's most plentiful veggies.
And this Asian-inspired spicy cucumber salad is one we will be making on repeat, I'm sure!
The simple 8-ingredient dressing comes together quickly in a bowl. It has just the right balance of toasted sesame, acidity, umami-rich soy sauce, garlic, and spicy heat to complement the coolness of fresh cucumber.
I can imagine serving this cucumber salad alongside so many dishes, like Korean barbecue tempeh, banh mi sandwiches, BBQ seitan ribs, and tahini noodles.
And it's seriously so easy. Give it a try! I think you'll love it, too.
- cucumber - I like English or hothouse cucumbers for this recipe. They're easy to spot in the produce section because they're wrapped in plastic (this preserves their moisture content). English cucumber has a thin skin, making it ideal for salads, and doesn't need to be peeled. Feel free to use smaller Persian cucumbers instead.
- soy sauce - or gluten-free tamari
- toasted sesame oil - with its unique flavor, this is key to a really tasty dressing. If you avoid oil and don't mind a creamy-looking dressing, feel free to substitute tahini.
- rice vinegar - such a great ingredient to have on hand; choose plain rice vinegar instead of "seasoned," which is sweeter and has added sugar.
- maple syrup - a touch of sweetness balances the dressing; sub agave if that's what you have.
- red pepper flakes - if you have Korean chili flakes, even better!
See recipe card below for quantities and full instructions.
How to Make Spicy Cucumber Salad
- Wash the cucumber and slice into ¼-inch thick coins. Place in a large bowl and toss with sea salt. Set aside for about 15 minutes, then rinse under cold water and pat dry. Salting the cucumber draws out some of its moisture and also adds flavor.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Toss the cucumber with the spicy dressing and taste for seasoning.
So simple, right?! Enjoy cucumber salad now or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Spicy cucumber salad tastes best cool, but not necessarily ice cold. If serving at a party, it's fine at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
The recipe makes a fairly small amount, enough for 3 or 4 people as a side or garnish. Double or triple the recipe if serving a crowd.
The assembled salad is best served within 24 hours but will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
More Recipes With Cucumber
I hope you enjoy this quick and flavorful spicy cucumber salad! If you try the recipe be sure to comment below and let us know!
Spicy Cucumber Salad
- 1 large English cucumber
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce - or certified GF tamari
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons sriracha - or similar spicy chile sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes - or gochugaru, Korean chili flakes
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
- Slice the cucumber into ¼-inch thick coins. Place in a large bowl and toss with sea salt. Set aside for 15 minutes. Then rinse under cold water and pat dry.
- To make the dressing, whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, sriracha, vinegar, garlic, chili flakes, and sesame seeds. Taste and adjust the flavors as desired.
- Pour the dressing over the cucumber and gently stir. Enjoy now or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
Hi Lori! Thank you for this awesome delicious recipe! You saved me from the boredom of making my same old cuke salad. The dressing is soooo yummy. As soon as I taste tested it, my eyes lit up and I tripled the recipe. I was planning to roast some green beans for dinner, and I think this dressing will add so much flavor. I think it would be great with stir fried veggies and noodles too. It was so quick to make, and I always have the ingredients for this handy. Keep up the great work! And thank you so much!!!