This quick and easy cucumber salad recipe, loaded with tongue-tingling sesame, ginger, and soy sauce, holds a permanent spot in our healthy summer side dish rotation. A squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of honey balance out the assertive flavors of the dressing, while chunky pieces of cool, crunchy cucumber keep it light and refreshing. Plus, there’s not a green leaf in sight — making this the perfect recipe to break out of a lettuce-laden salad rut.

Choosing the right type of cucumber is important — it is the star ingredient, after all — as is learning a key technique for salting the cucumbers. You won’t want to skip that step; it contributes to the overall flavor and texture of the salad. The cucumbers are also smashed, which helps trap extra dressing in all of the misshapen pieces. It’s easy to do, just bash the whole cucumber with the side of your knife (like you would smash a garlic clove to remove the skins) before cutting it crosswise into irregular pieces — the wonkier the better. Sounds fun, right?

The finished result is a cold, snappy side dish that’s like the appetizer equivalent of cracking open a bottle of something fizzy and taking a swig: one bite makes us all want to say .

What is the best type of cucumber to use?

We love Persian cucumbers for this recipe — and not just because they’re adorably small. These cute, compact cukes hold more concentrated flavor than bigger, water-logged varieties, and they’re practically seedless. Despite their name, Persian cucumbers are widely cultivated and are available in most supermarkets. This recipe is also great with kirby cucumbers, you’ll just need to peel them first. Can’t find either variety? English cucumbers make a great substitute.

How can I prevent cucumber salad from getting watery?

Although our favorite cukes are less watery than most varieties, they still need some extra care to achieve the mega-crunch this salad deserves. After chopping them up, we toss the cucumbers with salt to draw out moisture, then drain all of that excess water before combining them with the dressing. Just make sure you don’t leave those cukes for too long or they’ll be far too salty.

What goes with cucumber salad?

Cucumber salad is the perfect crisp, cooling accompaniment to hot-off-the-grill chicken, skewers of juicy shrimp, or fall-apart short rib. It makes an excellent rice bowl topping or easy healthy dinner side. Bold and bracing with a spicy kick from fresh ginger, it’s also great on its own. Not-so-sad desk lunch, anyone?


Total Time: 0 hours 15 mins
1 lb.Persian cucumbers Kosher salt
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp.sesame seeds
1 tbsp.low-sodium soy sauce
1/2tbsp.lemon juice
1 tsp.grated peeled fresh ginger honey
1/3c.cilantro, roughly chopped
Chili oil, for serving
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Halve each cucumber lengthwise and, with side of chef’s knife, bash it slightly to crush, then cut each half into 4 to 6 chunks. Transfer cucumbers to bowl and toss with 2 tsp salt. Let sit 10 minutes.Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger, and honey.Transfer cucumbers to colander and rinse, then shake off as much water as possible. Add to bowl with dressing and toss to combine, then toss with cilantro. Serve drizzled with chili oil if desired.


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