Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chinese Cucumber Salad Recipe (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Chinese Cucumber Salad is an unusual and delicious salad to make with garden cucumbers.

Chinese Cucumber Salad

When I run across people who are indifferent to cucumbers, I always wonder if they've ever had fresh-from-the-garden cukes, which I think are one of the most delicious things about summer.  When garden cucumbers first start to appear, I just wash them, slice in half, and eat with a little salt.  Later in the summer when they start to be abundant I might make something like this Chinese Cucumber Salad that uses a lot of cucumbers. The recipe came from a cookbook I've for years, called Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things.  It's a book with some unusual and interesting ideas for using up garden veggies, and this cucumber salad was definitely a winner.
(Chinese Cucumber Salad was updated with better photos and instructions, July 2012. When I first made this in August 2006, I didn't use the black sesame seeds, but this time I couldn't resist sprinkling some on for a little more dressed-up salad.  I also added a tiny bit of Sriracha for a slightly spicier salad.  If you don't have those ingredients, no worries; the salad will still be delicious without them.)

Peel the cucumbers, or if you have fresh garden cucumbers, leave on some of the peel.

Cut cucumber in half and scrape out the seeds.

Then cut the cucumbers into slices.

Soak the cucumbers in salted ice water for 30 minutes.  (Probably optional, but this makes them really crisp.)

While the cucumbers soak, mix together red wine vinegar, soy sauce, sweetener of your choice, sesame oil, salt, and Sriracha (or other hot sauce) to make the dressing.

After 30 minutes drain the cucumbers well.

Put the drained cucumbers into a plastic container with a snap tight lid, pour dressing over, and mariante 30 minutes in the dressing, turning the container over a few times while it's in the fridge.

Then drain the marinated cucumbers, saving a few tablespoons of the dressing.

Serve salad with the reserved dressing drizzled over and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

And just for the fun of it, here's the original photo of this salad from back in 2006!

Chinese Cucumber Salad
(Makes about 4 servings, recipe adapted from Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things.)

4 medium sized cucumbers
2 T sea salt (for soaking water)
black sesame seeds for garnishing salad (optional but fun)

Dressing Ingredients:
4 T red wine vinegar
4 T soy sauce (I used low-sodium,]; use gluten-free soy sauce like Tamari if needed.)
3 T sugar, Stevia in the Raw Granulated, or Splenda (use Stevia or Splenda for South Beach Diet)
4 tsp. sesame oil
1-2 tsp. Sriracha Sauce (or other hot sauce of your choice)
(original recipe had salt in the dressing, but I left it out this time)

Peel cucumbers, leaving some of the peel on in stripes if they are fresh garden cucumbers. Cut each cucumber in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. 

Cut cucumbers in 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick slices. Soak 30 minutes in salted ice water. (I used 2 T sea salt in the water.)  While the cucumbers are soaking in the ice water, mix the red wine vinegar, soy sauce, sweetener of your choice, sesame oil,  and Sriracha or other hot sauce to make the dressing.

After 30 minutes, drain the cucumbers well, put them in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, and pour dressing over cucumbers. Let marinate 30 minutes in the fridge, turning the container over a few times.

After 30 minutes more, drain the cucumbers, reserving a few tablespoons of the dressing.  Put cucumbers on serving dish, drizzle over the reserved dressing, and sprinkle with black sesame seeds if desired.

This will keep one day in the fridge, but it's much better freshly made.
South Beach Suggestions:
If you use Stevia in the Raw Granulated or Splenda, this recipe would be approved for all phases of the South Beach Diet.  For phase one, this would go well with Forbidden City Chicken or Grilled Chicken Sanpete Kabobs.  For phase two or three, add something like Lake Powell Spicy Rice.

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.

More Delicious Cucumber Salads You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Cucumber and Radish Salad with Feta, Red Wine Vinegar, and Buttermilk Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen

Wake Up Your Mouth Thai Cucumber Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen

Cool as a Cucumber Salad with Agave from Gluten-Free Goddess

Estonian Cucumber Salad from Nami Nami

Cool Spicy Cucumbers with Peanuts and Lime from FamilyStyle Food  

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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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. A Cookbook for When Your Garden Explodes is exactly what I need right now! My garden is bursting with zucchinis and tomatoes and pretty soon the butternut squash and spaghetti squash will be ready and I'll have to start giving those away too!

  2. Yum. Refreshing and tasty - perfect for summer.

    Good luck with your back-to-school duties! The summer flew by, didn't it?

  3. I am going to make this salad, eat it, and love the heck out of it! Sounds fantastic.
    I envy your garden.

  4. I love the idea of an exploding garden...sigh.

    As for Splenda, well, I'd best keep my opinions to

    The salad looks divine. I will try it this week for sure. Thank you, as always, for being so inspiring!

  5. please tell me how to make cheese cucumber salad

  6. hi Kalyn,
    That's a very nice and informative blog you have ther!!I am really impressed.Great work

  7. My sons are back to school now. My garden is damaged, no cookbook needed. But the salad sounds goog

  8. Brilynn, it's a good problem to have!

    Karina, Hi! Nice to see you. Summer always goes too fast.

    CC - I hope you like it!

    Rachael, I feel like sugar is one of the most harmful things you can eat, so to each her own I say!

    Sarika, not sure what cheese cucumber salad would be, but I do eat cucumbers with blue cheese dressing and feta cheese a lot!

    Mudhuli, thanks.

    Ulrike, sorry to hear your garden is not doing well, but do try the salad.

  9. What a great name and concept for a cookbook! Looks beautiful.

  10. Great recipe and right now we are getting tons of cukes. I also have the book you speak of and find it very useful. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I think that book is really a classic; love it!

  12. This is one of those times when it's really fun to see the old photo! I love crispy cold cucumbers, and can't understand why anyone wouldn't love them.

  13. Lydia, I agree that crisp cucumbers are so wonderful. Never get tired of them when I have them from the garden!

  14. very interesting salad thanks for sharing

  15. Dark sesame seeds and cucumber are so pretty together. Very healthy salad Kalyn. I make something very similar and it's easy to add things like tomatoes to it.

    Happy weekend.

  16. Another great cucumber recipe! You can never have too many variations for marinated cucumbers. They are one of my favorite summer side dishes!

  17. Thanks Kadhayaa, Sam, and Kelley. I love this combination, or any salad that has cucumbers with some kind of vinegary flavor.

  18. We are getting some cukes from the garden and I am always looking for something different to do with them. This recipe looks delicious!

  19. Not only does this sound wonderful, but it's gorgeous!!

  20. I ate a whole cucumber the other day without anything and it was so good. This cucumber salad sounds really good - love the spiciness and the trick of soaking the cucumbers in cold water to make them crispier. I just made some cucumber pickles the other day as I had tons of cucumbers I needed to use up.

  21. Hi Kalyn, You have such a great website! Such a wonderful resource for finding creative south beach recipes. I made this salad yesterday, gobbled it up and made it again today. So delicious even without soaking and draining the cucumbers (I'm very impatient). I loved it. Thank you for the recipe!

  22. Natalie, thanks so much for the nice feedback. Very glad you enjoyed the salad.

  23. Hi Kalyn,

    Garden question here, do/did you raise a particular kind of cucumber that has tender skins? The skins here are tough-tough-tough, I rarely want to leave even a thin stripe.

    PS Your salad is in the fridge! Thanks for all the ideas on Pinterest last night!

  24. Alanna, my favorite cucumber variety is Sweet Slice. I think if you look for cucumbers that say "burpless" they will have thinner skins. I agree, hate the tough skins. Hope you enjoy the salad!


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