Monday, August 15, 2011

Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

This Asian Cucumber Salad with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions is something I've been making for years when the weather gets hot. Use thinly sliced green onion or mint if you're not a cilantro fan.

Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions from

This favorite Asian Cucumber Salad with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions was inspired by those thinly sliced cucumbers marinated in rice vinegar that are sometimes served with sushi.  If the weather has been a bit hot where you live, cucumbers are a great summer food, and this is the kind of light and refreshing salad that is perfect for days when it's really scorching outside.  That's just one of the reasons I used to make it when I was cooking on houseboats at Utah's Lake Powell, where summer days can often get up to 100F.  

I made this for years with Splenda, but when I was making it recently on a hot Utah I used Stevia In the Raw Granular Sweetener, a relatively new product that I've really been liking.  You can tell I think cilantro is an essential component in the salad by the way I listed it in the title, but if you're a cilantro hater I think thinly sliced green onions or mint would be a good substitute.

(Asian Cucumber Salad with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions was updated with new photos and better instructions and added to Recipe Favorites in August 2011.)  

I was using garden cucumbers, some of which had gotten a little too big.  If a cucumber has small seeds like the ones on the right, you can leave the seeds in.  For larger seeds like the ones on the left, I'd scoop them out with a spoon before you slice the cucumbers.

Here's how the cucumber will look with the seeds scooped out.  If you have fresh cucumbers I'd leave some strips of green peel showing, but cucumbers from the store should be peeled completely.

I used four medium-sized cucumbers, which gave me a nice pile of sliced cucumbers.

Chop up one Vidalia onion or other sweet onion.

Mix together the rice vinegar, sugar or sweetener, Asian sesame oil, and garlic puree to make the dressing.  It was not in the original recipe but now I like a tiny pinch of hot pepper flakes in this too.

Put the sliced cucumbers and onions in a large Ziploc bag, pour in the dressing, and let the salad marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

 When you're ready to eat the salad, drain the cucumbers and onions into a colander and chop up a generous amount of fresh cilantro (or mint if you're a cilantro hater.)

Mix the cilantro into the onions and cucumbers, season with fresh ground black pepper, and serve.

And here's the one-and-only photo of this salad from the original post just over five years ago. This is one of my better photos from those days, but still I think the new ones are a big improvement!

Asian Cucumber Salad with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions
(Makes 6 generous servings; recipe created by Kalyn and was inspired by thinly-sliced marinated cucumbers served with sushi.)

4 cucumbers, peeled in stripes, cut in half lengthwise, then into thick slices
1 large Vidalia onion or other sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slivers of onion
1 bunch cilantro washed and chopped just before using

Dressing Ingredients:
1 cup rice vinegar (don't use seasoned vinegar which contains sugar)
3 T Splenda, Stevia In the Raw Granular Sweetener, or sugar (Use Splenda or Stevia for South Beach Diet)
2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
2 tsp. garlic puree (also called ground garlic)
pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)
coarse ground black pepper to taste

Peel cucumbers in stripes if using garden cucumbers or peel completely if using store-bought cucumbers.  Cut cucumber in half lengthwise, and scrape out seeds if they're large, then cut up cucumbers into half slices.  Peel onion, cut in half both ways, then cut onion into small slivers of onion. Place cucumbers and onions in Ziploc bag or plastic bowl with snap-on lid.

Combine rice vinegar, Splenda or sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and hot pepper flakes (if using) and pour over cucumbers. Let marinate in refrigerator 2-3 hours. (You can leave it longer, but I prefer this when the cucumbers are still slightly crisp.)

Just before serving, wash, dry, and chop cilantro. (Don't be afraid to use some of the stem; it is considered a delicacy in parts of Asia.) Drain cucumbers and onions and combine with chopped cilantro, season with fresh ground pepper and serve.

This will keep in the refrigerator a day or two, but the vegetables won't be crisp. Of course this is best made with fresh-from-the-garden cucumbers, but if you only have from-the-store cucumbers, it's still pretty good!

South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
As long as you use Splenda or Stevia In the Raw Granular Sweetener and avoid seasoned rice vinegar, this is a perfect salad for any phase of the South Beach Diet or other low-carb diets. For a low-carb dinner menu, I think this would taste great with Sauteed Scallops with Garlic or Curried Chicken on the Grill with Cilantro Chutney.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions from

10 More Refreshing Cucumber Salads for Hot Summer Days:

Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen

Hungarian Cucumber Salad from Just a Taste

Bulgur Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, Mint, and Lemon from Kalyn's Kitchen

Indonesian Tofu, Bean Sprout, and Cucumber Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing from Shiny Cooking

Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen

Estonian Cucumber Salad from Nami Nami

Cucumber and Yogurt Salad Recipe with Feta and Dill from Kalyn's Kitchen

Greek Cucumber Salad from A Mad Tea Party

Tuna Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, and Basil from Kalyn's Kitchen

Melon and Cucumber Salad with Mint Vinaigrette from Alexandria's Kitchen

Flashback from the Past:
(This recipe was first posted in 2006 as part of a vegan virtual picnic, hosted by Virginie from Absolutely Green.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. Your brother's, Blogher, why NOT a picnic in France, for real?! And the cukes look GREAT ...

  2. You're right Ak, it would be so nice to really meet you it a picnic. Anyway, for the moment, the picnic is vitual and it is better than nothing... Welcome to France girls ! Thank you for your contribution Kalyn. I didn't expect so much. A very fresh and... green recipe. What is the sweetner you use (spanda, something like that), is it aspartam, or rice syrup, etc. ? I really like this mixing. Do you think it would be too bitter if we use asian cucumber, to make it more exotic ?

  3. Alanna, how about if we BOTH go to France together? How fun would that be?

    Virginie, I'd love to meet you too. I'll add a link for Splenda, which is not aspartame, it's a sweetener made from sugar but with no calories. It's not something I use a lot, but I like it in something like this where I don't want to sue sugar.

    I don't know about Asian cucumbers, but try it and let me know what you think.

  4. This sounds delicious and refreshing Kalyn. And I like the suggestion for it to go with the scallops. Yum!

  5. Kalyn - Just thought I'd let you know I love your blog and I read it regularly. Thanks!

  6. Thanks, Kalyn for stopping by my blog the other day.

    Your recipe today is right on time - I was needing a new way to use the sudden excess of cucumbers from my garden.

    Do you link to garden blogs as well as food blogs? If you do, I would love mine to be included among your list. It's called "A to Z Gardening" at

  7. Thank you for your details. I'll tell you about the asian cucumber as soon as I try it.

  8. Those cukes do look great! Another picture with that fine new camera?

  9. Stunning photo Kalyn! You've captured each item's very colour. Love the sound and look of this.

  10. Christine, I think we both love scallops. My sister tells me she doesn't like them and I just can't understand it.

    Anonymous, thanks for taking the time to let me know.

    Judith, I was planning to add your blog.

    Virginie, I'll be interested to hear about the Asian cucumber. (Wonder if this is what is often called "armenian" cucumbers here?)

    Sher and Mae, thanks to both of you. I am really loving the new camera, although I still have a LOT to learn and sometimes I get some really bad shots. But that is the beauty of digital, just delete them.

  11. I love the salad and if I were cutting back on the sugar, I'd be tempted to leave out the Splenda entirely, much as I adore Diet Coke with Splenda. I like fresh, acid flavors and the rice vinegar and cilantro is just the ticket.

  12. Steven, please consider moving to Utah. I have some good friends who are men, but I don't have any men friends who garden, cook, AND appreciate Diet Coke. I am impressed!

  13. Looks fresh fresh! Love it! Take us with you!

  14. kalyn

    I'm waiting for that perfect house in Park City, you know the fixer upper for under a million that doesn't exist?LOL!

    I'd say move here, but I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

  15. Steven, someday I'll post some photos of my house on the blog and you'll see why I doubt if I'll ever move. I live in a house that's nearly 100 years old and my brother in law (a contractor) completely gutted it and remodeled the inside. I LOVE my house. (I bought this house in 1988 for $45,000 and now it's beautiful.)

    As far as you moving to Utah, you don't want to live in Park City. Although it's beautiful (and very hip to live there) the growing season is so short you can hardly grow anything there!! There are lots of good fixer-uppers in other parts of Salt Lake though! Not that I normally am recruiting people to move here, but in your case it would be great to live by you!

  16. I don't know if it's your armenian ones. Here, there are sold in asian stores and are very bitter.

  17. Bea, didn't mean to miss you. Please come on the picnic with us, you can translate. I did take French in school, but that was a loooong time ago.

    Virginie, the Armenian cucumbers are curved, and the skin is pale green with ridges going the length of the cucumber. And they are definitely more bitter than other cucumbers (although when cucumbers are bitter, usually people aren't watering them enough.)

  18. KitchenAid Artisan BlenderAugust 15, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    This sounds delicious and refreshing Kalyn. And I like the suggestion for it to go with the scallops. Yum!

  19. Heading to our Farmer's market this weekend will keep this in mind. Especially like the rice wine sweetner. sounds delicious and cooly refreshing

  20. Sounds so refreshingly delicious!

  21. Kalyn what a yummy summertime salad. Looks really easy to make and so healthy too!

  22. This salad sounds so simple and tasty. I love simple salads like this. Now I just need a garden full of cucumbers!

  23. Looks so fresh and crisp with all that cilantro.

  24. To me, this sounds like the ultimate summer salad. Refreshing and easy to put together. Lovely, Kalyn!

  25. Kalyn, I am curious about using the Splenda

    it doesn't leave an aftertaste like other sweeteners?

    this seems like a very refreshing, wonderful dish for the heat we are having

  26. Cooling cucumber salad. Love. And count me among the cilantro lovers. This sounds fabulous.

  27. I'm glad people are liking this old favorite. Sally I don't notice an aftertaste with the Splenda, but maybe I'm used to it. I do like the taste of the Stevie In the Raw Granular sweetener I mentioned in the post too if you want a more natural low-cal sweetener.

  28. Quick, cool and delicious. What a perfect summer salad.

  29. This looks so flavorful and fresh, Kalyn! And thanks so much for including my Hungarian Cucumber Salad in your roundup!

  30. CJ, glad you like it

    Kelly, my pleasure. I thought the Hungarian Cucumber Salad sounded great.

  31. Made it with mint tonight to go alongside some souvlaki. It was EXCELENT!


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