This Japanese cucumber salad is delightfully tangy with a touch of sweetness! Light, crunchy, and refreshing – this restaurant-quality side dish comes together in just 15 minutes.
What Makes This Japanese Cucumber Salad So Good
- It requires just 5 ingredients and takes only 15 minutes to throw together! Simply prep the cucumbers, then toss everything in a bowl and enjoy. In three easy steps you’ll have a delicious side dish.
- It’s super healthy! Cucumbers are high in nutrients, antioxidants, and promote hydration. With a bit of soy sauce and rice vinegar, this nutritious vegetable is easy and tasty to enjoy!
- It’s the perfect side dish to virtually any meal! Serve this Japanese cucumber salad with baked salmon, grilled chicken, or this tofu and broccoli recipe for a complete dinner. I even love bringing this simple salad to potlucks for everyone to enjoy, it’s a total crowd-pleaser!
Key Ingredients for Japanese Cucumber Salad
Japanese or Persian Cucumbers – Japanese cucumber are preferred for this salad recipe, though Persian or English cucumbers will work as well. However, avoid using American cucumbers as they have larger and more seeds than the recommended varieties. You’ll start by slicing the cucumbers into 1/4 to 1/8-inch thin rounds – the thinner the better! Then, leave them to sit with a sprinkling of salt to draw out as much moisture as possible. Once dry, you’re ready to add the cucumbers to your salad.
Soy Sauce – Much of the flavor in this dish comes from the soy sauce. Though feel free to use less if you’d like and adjust to your taste preferences. If gluten-free, you can use tamari instead for similar results!
Sugar – Just one tablespoon of sugar helps to balance out the tangy and savory flavors in this recipe. If you’d like, you can replace the sugar with honey or your favorite sugar-free substitute! The goal is to add just a touch of sweetness to counter a bit of the acidity from the soy sauce and rice vinegar.
- Leave this Japanese cucumber salad to sit in the fridge for 15 to minutes before serving. Leaving the salad to chill will allow the cucumbers time to soak up as much flavor as possible! You can even prep this recipe ahead of time and leave it to chill overnight if you’d like.
- Hold the cucumbers in the dish towel over the sink while you squeeze the water out. Depending on how much moisture the cucumbers you’re using hold, they may release quite a bit of water. Performing this very important step over the sink will cause less mess and make for easier cleanup!
- Store any leftover Japanese cucumber salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days! Over time, the cucumbers will lose a bit of their crunch but absorb more flavor. It’s a bit of a trade off, but I promise this dish will still be delicious!
Other Healthy and Delicious Side Dish Recipes
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Japanese Cucumber Salad
- Large bowl
- 2-3 Japanese cucumbers see Notes
- ½ teaspoon salt divided
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil optional
- Slice cucumbers as thin as possible – between ¼ to an ⅛-inch thin, then sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Rinse cucumbers with cold water, drain, wrap in a towel, and squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Add the remaining salt, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil to a bowl and mix to combine, then toss in the cucumbers to coat.
- Japanese Cucumbers: If you can’t find Japanese cucumbers, you can use either Persian or English cucumbers instead.
- Make it Paleo: Use coconut aminos in place of both the soy sauce and sugar in this recipe. Coconut aminos have a naturally sweet flavor, so no extra sugar is necessary!
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Hi! I’m Sam, a travel, food and fitness enthusiast from the New York metro area. I love creating new and inventive recipes, and my favorite part is sharing them with others. My love of food goes all the way back to my early childhood, I grew up cooking alongside my mom and Nonna – the two best cooks I know! When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m either planning my next vacation, spending time outdoors (preferably on a beach), or bingeing Netflix’s latest docu-series. My passion for eating and living well led me to create the blog and Instagram account, Sam Does Her Best, where I health-ify my favorite comfort foods. I’m a big believer that good-for-you food can still be exploding with flavor and (most importantly) easy to make. I’m thrilled to be here at 40 Aprons doing what I do best – creating, photographing, and sharing delicious recipes with you all!