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Smashed Asian cucumber salad is a refreshing side dish that is tossed in a salty, garlicky, and tangy sauce. After marinading in the refrigerator, it develops the most amazing flavor with the addition of the crunchiest texture. If you need to cool off, this is definitely a delicious way to do so!
I have a lot of cucumber salad recipes on my site and they all have different variations to them. I am partial to this smashed cucumber salad because it has the addition of black vinegar which gives it more of a tang and a unique flavor. However, all my cucumber salad recipes are refreshingly delicious and they range from mild to spicy and this one is in the middle. I guess you can say there is something for everyone!
There is nothing quite like a refreshing cucumber salad in the middle of summer. The instant cooling sensation from that first crunchy bite of the cucumber gives me goosebumps! I love the extra garlicky flavor in this Asian cucumber salad along with the salty and tangy flavors. The sesame and chili oil give it the extra nuttiness and spice. Truthfully, you are going to want to make a double batch because I, myself, can eat an entire container alone. The crunch and flavor is just so addicting!
Why do you smash the cucumber?
Smashing the cucumber gives the cucumber nooks and crannies for the sauce to penetrate in the flesh of the cucumber. It’s also fun to do and a tad bit therapeutic if you’re upset ;)
Why You’ll Love This
- Simple yet full of flavor. This easy to put together side dish doesn’t skimp on flavor. Pulling from the zingy black vinegar and garlic, spicy notes of the chili garlic sauce, and nuttiness from the sesame oil, this cucumber salad is seriously one flavor explosion for your mouth!
- New method of cooking. Who doesn’t love a new method of cooking? Smashing cucumbers is probably not something you thought you’d ever do, right? Well, there comes a time for everything.
- Refreshing and delightful. Cucumbers are heavily eaten in Asian culture and one of the reasons why is because it’s so refreshing! One or two bites of cucumber can instantly cool your core temperature down. Not to mention, it is just a delightful crunchy snack!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Get ready to get your crunch on! These are the ingredients you’ll need for smashed Asian cucumber salad. Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.
- Sesame oil
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Sweet soy sauce
- Black vinegar
- Chili onion crunch – I get mine from Trader Joe’s and it’s sooo good. You can make your own with this recipe but if you do, I’d omit the minced garlic in the recipe as it would be too much.
- Persian cucumbers
How To Make Smashed Cucumber Salad
This side dish is super easy to whip up and if you love getting a bit of therapeutic smashing in, here’s your chance. Listed below is a general overview of the steps involved to make Asian cucumber salad. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
Make the sauce. Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a glass bowl with a lid. You will be using this same container to store the cucumber salad.
Smash and add the cucumbers. Using the back of your knife, gently press on the Persian cucumber on your cutting board and it should smash or crush relatively easy. You want to gently do it as you’re not trying to smash it into tiny pieces. It should all still stay in tact. Slice the cucumbers at an angle then toss the cucumbers in the sauce then cover and put in the refrigerator for up to three days. Toss the cucumbers prior to serving.
Recipe Tips, Substitutions, and Variations
- Salt your cucumbers. Cucumbers naturally release liquid when they’ve been sliced. This step is optional and I typically don’t salt my cucumbers. If you prefer a less watery sauce then salt them in a separate bowl, drain the water, then add the cucumbers into a container for storing and add the sauce.
- Don’t omit ingredients.You won’t get the true balance of flavors if you omit ingredients.
- Gently press vs. coming down hard with your palm. We aren’t trying to smash the cucumber into smithereens. We just want to gently press down on the cucumber to smash it a little. You’ll know you’re doing it right when kind of the center (the spine) gives a little bit.
- Cucumber variations. I used Persian cucumbers in this recipe but there are definitely several cucumber variations out there. I would stay away from kirby cucumbers – their skin is so tough and doesn’t taste good. Japanese cucumber or English seedless would work in this as an alternative if you can’t find Persian.
- Serve chilled or room temperature. This is best eaten chilled, straight out of the refrigerator. I love that cool, crunchy taste! If you let it sit out at room temperature, it’s fine too but definitely do not pop it in the microwave.
Store in the same container as you tossed all the ingredients in. It can be stored for up to three days in the refrigerator. It can go longer but I noticed the cucumber gets mushier and mushier.
What to Serve with Smashed Asian Cucumber Salad
Asian cucumber salad is a great side dish for many Asian entrees. The flavors compliment most of Asian/Chinese cooking and the texture and refreshing taste is nice alongside hot dishes. Here are some of my favorite dishes to serve with this cucumber salad:
- Hunan Beef
- Bo Luc Lac (Vietnamese Shaking Beef)
- Chinese Chicken and Broccoli
- Honey Walnut Shrimp
- Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken
Smashed Asian Cucumber Salad
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili onion crunch
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 16 ounces Persian cucumbers
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a glass bowl with a lid. You will be using this same container to store the cucumber salad.
- Using the back of your knife, gently press on the Persian cucumber on your cutting board and it should smash or crush relatively easy. You want to gently do it as you're not trying to smash it into tiny pieces. It should all still stay in tact. Slice the cucumbers at an angle into 1-inch pieces. Toss the cucumbers in the sauce then cover and put in the refrigerator for up to three days. Toss the cucumbers prior to serving.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Saturday 29th of April 2023
Hi Julie! I’m excited to try this recipe, but I have a couple of questions. When do you slice the cucumbers? I understand that you smash them, but I assumed they were whole at that point. Is that correct? Also, if you salt them, when should you do that? I love your recipes! Thank you!
Saturday 29th of April 2023
correct! slice the cucumbers after smashing them whole. if you want to salt them, i would do so after they're sliced, before you add them into the sauce.