Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad is a quick, easy, and refreshing side dish recipe! Made with english cucumbers, fresh ginger & garlic, soy sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes … this Asian inspired dish is crunchy, salty, sweet, spicy, and tangy all at once. A light and bright cold salad perfect for summer!

smashed cucumber salad garnished with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes, with soy sauce on the side

A perfectly light & refreshing side dish…

I have had the smashed cucumber salad at one of my favorite restaurants in Boston multiple times and each time I am completely blown away by it! The restaurant is a modern Pan-Asian gastropub and I am constantly impressed with how they can turn such a simple vegetable, cucumber, into such a flavorful dish.

Of course I had to make my own version, because that is what I do. This Chinese inspired Smashed Cucumber Salad is crunchy, sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy all at once! It’s truly the perfect side dish.

This recipe is super easy to make too and is especially great for summer. It’s refreshing, light, bright, and a hot weather must make!

zoom in shot of Chinese cucumber salad

Ingredients needed…

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad is made with a few simple and fresh ingredients! English cucumbers, fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, and sesame oil make for a crunchy, salty, sweet, and tangy dish all in one.

  • English Cucumbers: English cucumbers are the perfect cucumber for this salad! You will need 2.
  • Soy Sauce: To add delicious salty flavor here, add soy sauce. 3 tablespoon soy sauce to be exact.
  • Honey: Honey provides a perfect sweetness to the simple salad dressing. Add 1 tbsp!
  • Oil: This recipe calls for olive oil or sesame oil. Sesame oil adds incredible and authentic flavor, but olive oil will work too if that’s all you have on hand! You’ll need 1/2 tbsp.
  • Ginger & Garlic: Fresh garlic and ginger are truly key in this recipe! You will need 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger and 2 minced or grated raw garlic cloves.
  • Sugar: To prepare the cucumbers toss with 1/2 tbsp sugar.
  • Salt: You’ll also toss the cucumbers with 1/2 tbsp salt. Then add a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp to be exact, to the final product.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: I recommend adding red pepper flakes to this smashed cucumber salad recipe to taste. This way it will be as spicy as you want it to be!
  • Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds are an optional garnish. They add both a great taste and beautiful look.

Smashed Cucumber Salad ingredient swaps…

Here are a few basic ingredient swaps you could make to this Asian Cucumber Salad!

Cucumbers: I recommend using english cucumbers for this recipe, but you could really swap with any type of cucumber.

Honey: Honey can be replaced with moist liquid sweeteners. Like maple syrup or agave nectar!

Soy Sauce: To make this side salad gluten free, swap the soy sauce with tamari.

Fresh Ginger & Garlic: If you do not have fresh garlic and ginger, you can simply replace with ground ginger and garlic powder. The flavors will not be as vibrant and fresh, but it will work!

Chinese smashed cucumber salad in a bowl with chopsticks and soy sauce on the side

How to make Smashed Cucumber Salad…

This simple Asian inspired dish is so simple to make! It’s a refreshing side salad that requires no stove or oven, making it perfect for the warmer months.

Step by Step Instructions…

Step 1: Start by smashing the fresh cucumbers.  Cut the cucumbers in half longways and then smash with a heavy kitchen object, like a meat mallet.  Then cut into bite-size pieces.

Step 2: Toss the cucumber pieces with the sugar and salt.  Place in a colander over a bowl.  Transfer to the fridge for 15-30 minutes to remove excess liquid.

Step 3: While the cucumbers are in the fridge, make the dressing in a small bowl or jar.  Whisk soy sauce, honey, olive oil, ginger, garlic, and salt together.

Step 4: Remove the drained cucumbers from the fridge and combine with the dressing in a large bowl.  Add red pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy!

overhead shot of smashed cucumber salad with chopsticks, sesame seeds, and soy sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to salt the cucumbers?

You do not necessarily have to salt the cucumbers, but I do recommend it. Especially if you are not serving or enjoying the salad right away.

The salt helps to bring out excess water, so if you skip you’ll have a watery salad. Especially when storing it!

How do I smash cucumbers for Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad Recipe?

First cut the ends of each cucumber off.  Then cut the cucumbers lengthwise in half. Next place the seed side of the cucumber down on a cutting board. I find the cucumber too hard to smash if I do not first cut it in half, so I highly recommend this step!

Next smash the cucumber with any heavy object you have in the kitchen. Like a rolling pin or meat pounder.

If you do not have a heavy object, you could use the flat side of your knife. Place it on the cucumber and press down with your palm. Just know, you will have to use a lot of pressure to get the desired effect and smash!

Is this salad spicy?

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad will be as spicy as you want it to be! That is why I say to add red pepper flakes to taste.

If you do not like spicy foods only add a little or keep them out entirely. And if you like the heat, use a heavy hand!

zoomed in shot of Chinese smashed cucumber salad

What cucumbers should I use?

I recommend using english cucumbers for this recipe! I have also seen Persian cucumbers used in similar salads.

How to serve Asian Smashed Cucumbers Salad?

You can serve this flavorful salad however you would like!

It is the perfect refreshing side dish to any Asian main dish. Like honey soy chicken thighs, Asian turkey meatballs, or chicken stir fry. Especially in the warmer weather and summer months! It is also a delicious and simple appetizer option.

I personally love to keep this cold salad in the fridge and snack on it whenever I like. It’s salty, sweet, tangy, and checks so many snacking boxes!

How do I store this side dish recipe?

Store this recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay most fresh and delicious for 3-5 days.

Just be aware the cucumber will lose some of their crisp and crunch as they are stored!

cold cucumbers in a bowl with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes

Love Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad? Check out more delicious side dishes below…

Connect with me!

If you make Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad or any of my other recipes, I would absolutely love to know! Tag me @wellnessbykay on Instagram so I can see and share your recreations.

overhead shot of asian cucumbers

Love this recipe? Leave a comment and a rating! I love to see and it helps me continue to develop delicious recipes for this blog.

Print

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad is a quick, easy, and refreshing side dish recipe! Made with english cucumbers, fresh ginger & garlic, soy sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes … this Asian inspired dish is crunchy, salty, sweet, spicy, and tangy all at once. A light and bright cold salad perfect for summer!

  • Author: Kayla Berman
  • Prep Time: 25 Minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 5 Servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Asian

Ingredients

Scale

Cucumbers

  • 2 english cucumbers
  • 1/2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt

Dressing

Instructions

  1. Start by smashing the cucumbers.  Cut the cucumbers in half longways and then smash with a heavy kitchen object, like a meat mallet.  Then cut into bite-size pieces.
  2. Toss the cucumber pieces with the sugar and salt.  Place in a colander over a bowl.  Transfer to the fridge for 15-30 minutes to remove excess liquid.
  3. While the cucumbers are in the fridge, make the dressing.  Combine the soy sauce, honey, olive oil, ginger, garlic, and salt.
  4. Remove the cucumbers from the fridge and combine with the dressing in a large bowl.  Add red pepper to taste.
  5. Enjoy!

Keywords: Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad, Smashed Cucumber Salad, Asian Smashed Cucumber Salad, Chinese Cucumber Salad, Cucumber Salad Recipe, Smashed Cucumber Salad Recipe

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

*