Zesty Asian Cucumber Salad with a Spicy Twist

Elevate your salad game with this Zesty Asian Cucumber Salad, a dish that promises a burst of freshness with every bite. Combining the crispness of Persian cucumbers with the tangy richness of rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil, this salad is accentuated with a spicy kick from chili-garlic sauce. Finished with the crunchy nuttiness of roasted cashews, this salad is a symphony of flavors and textures. Ready in just 10 minutes and requiring minimal ingredients, it’s the perfect addition to any meal or a refreshing snack on its own. For those who enjoy customization, optional add-ins like cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, sesame sticks, or scallions allow you to tailor the dish to your taste. Dive into this vibrant salad that’s as pleasing to the palate as it is to the eye.


  • 6 Persian cucumbers (about 1 lb.), cut lengthwise into halves, then sliced at a diagonal into thin pieces
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 to 3 tsp. chili-garlic sauce (adjust to taste)
  • ½ tsp. granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup chopped roasted cashews (or peanuts)
  • Optional add-ins: finely chopped cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, sesame sticks, or scallions


  1. Prepare the Cucumbers: Begin by slicing the Persian cucumbers in half lengthwise, then continue to slice them at a diagonal into thin pieces. Place the cucumber slices in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with kosher salt. Toss gently and set aside for a few minutes. This process helps draw out some of the moisture, intensifying the cucumbers’ crispness.
  2. Mix the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, chili-garlic sauce, and granulated sugar until well combined. The dressing should have a balanced taste of tangy, spicy, and slightly sweet.
  3. Combine Salad and Dressing: Pour the dressing over the cucumbers, tossing thoroughly to ensure the cucumbers are evenly coated with the dressing. The salad should look glossy and vibrant.
  4. Add the Crunch: Stir in the chopped roasted cashews, adding an irresistible nutty crunch to the salad. If using any optional add-ins like cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, sesame sticks, or scallions, add them now and toss gently to combine.
  5. Serve: Allow the salad to sit for a couple of minutes for the flavors to meld together beautifully. Serve immediately as a refreshing side dish or as a standalone snack.

This Zesty Asian Cucumber Salad is not only a testament to the beauty of simple ingredients coming together in perfect harmony but also a versatile dish that complements a wide range of meals. Whether you’re pairing it with grilled meats, seafood, or enjoying it by itself, this salad is guaranteed to offer a refreshing kick to your dining experience. Enjoy the crisp, bright flavors and the customizable spice level that makes this dish a delightful culinary adventure.