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Make a fresh and crunchy Spicy Cucumber Salad with garlicky maple soy dressing for an easy no-cook vegan side dish.
This piquant and refreshing cucumber salad is a mix between a classic Taiwanese and a Korean-style cucumber side dish. I like this salad with a bit more crunch, so I only chill the salad for about 15 minutes. If you like a more traditional, softer cucumber salad, you can chill the dish for as long as you like! The cucumbers become juicy and bendy the longer they sit in the vinegary dressing.
How to Make Spicy Cucumber Salad
This is a great salad for entertaining. It has an unexpected punch of spice and flavor that people love. Plus, it’s easy to make, and you may already have the ingredients on hand.
Here’s what you need:
- Persian cucumbers. You can use a different kind of cuke if you can’t find Persian.
- Rice wine vinegar. This is mild vinegar that won’t overwhelm the other flavors in the dish.
- Maple syrup. You can also sweeten the salad with agave or another liquid sweetener if you prefer.
- Oil. Use any neutral-flavored oil. I like avocado.
- Sesame oil. This adds a touch of nutty flavor to the dressing.
- Tamari. You can use low-sodium soy sauce if you’re not gluten-free.
- Garlic. I like to grate my fresh garlic so it blends into the dressing nicely.
- Chili flakes. Use as much spice as you like!
Adding More Spice
I like to finish the vegan cucumber salad with an extra pop of spice. If you love heat, try sprinkling one (or several) of these Asian spice blends on top:
- Sze Chuan peppercorns. These have the signature numbing effect that’s totally addictive.
- Korean gochugaru pepper flakes. You can find these at most Asian markets
- Japanese togarashi spice. You can also find mild versions of togarashi that add savory crunch, rather than spice.
Cutting Cucumbers For Salad
Feel free to cut your cucumbers into any fun shape you like. Some people like to smash pieces of cucumber for texture and it allows the seasoning to penetrate. Also, it’s just fun to smash cucumbers sometimes. 😉
You can also use a mandolin or speed peeler to create thin ribbons, then roll them into bite sized pieces. Feel free to get creative!
I don’t recommend storing this salad for too long, as the cucumbers will get too soft. Your best bet is to serve the cucumber salad within a few hours of preparing it.
If you want to plan ahead, however, you could make the dressing ahead of time and toss it with your sliced cucumbers 15 to 30 minutes before serving.
More Easy vegan Salad Recipes
- Crunchy Pad Thai Inspired Salad (vegan, gluten free, oil free)
- Vegan Chopped Italian Salad (gluten free, refined sugar free, oil free)
- Chinese Chickpea Salad (vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, oil free)
If you make this Spicy Cucumber Salad, be sure to let me know what you think with a comment below!
Spicy Cucumber Salad (vegan, gluten free)
- 4-5 persian cucumbers
- 1 tsp salt more to salt
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp avocado oil or neutral oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tsp tamari or soy sauce (if not gluten free)
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced or grated
- 1 tsp chili flakes more to taste
- Optional to season
- ground Sze Chuan peppercorns
- Korean gochugaru pepper flakes
- Japanese togarashi spice
- Cut your cucumbers lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick planks. Add to a bowl and liberally sprinkle with salt. Toss and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, rinse cucumbers and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Transfer the planks into a large container and prepare your marinade.
- To make marinade, whisk together all remaining ingredients and adjust to taste. Pour over your cucumber planks, cover and shake to coat then let sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Enjoy cold!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.