Cucumber Salad with Sesame, Soy and Ginger Dressing
Here’s my opinion on cucumbers. I don’t hate them, I just don’t love them. I never will eat a cucumber by itself. I don’t even like them in Greek salads ( sorry, please don’t @ me.) But, I do like them when they are accompanied by some kind of flavor encouragement. Whether that encouragement is a tangy yogurt (hello, celery tzatziki recipe that I absolutely love,) or completely demolished in a juicer and disguised by the flavors of ginger and lime, or a sesame soy dressing like we are making today….any kind of encouragement will do. I think cucumbers are actually very versatile ingredients because they are nutritious, they carry flavor well, and they also have a unique flavor of their own. What this means is we can shape shift cucumbers to become pickled, or for them to pick up the flavor of their marinade. OR, we can use the unique essence of a cucumber to completely flavor a dish, and give it a super refreshing vibe. It can go either way. However, if you’re seeing a cucumber recipe on my site, the chances are that the cucumber is the side piece and that there’s another flavor or combination of ingredients stealing the show.
That’s what’s happening in this cucumber salad. The cucumbers are a refreshing canvas for this salty, slightly briny and nutty dressing that I cannot get enough of. There’s something about rice vinegar that makes my mouth water uncontrollably, and combined with the nutty sesame oil and salty soy sauce, it’s truly a dream dressing.
Now before we get to the recipe, I want to make sure that you guys know I am not trying to take credit for this creation. Cucumber salads like this are extremely common and I’ve had them at numerous Asian restaurants, from Chinese to Japanese. So the idea of putting cucumbers in a sesame soy dressing is nothing new, but this recipe is my way of doing it. It’s extremely simple just like my cabbage salad recipe (also adapted from salads I’ve had at Asian restaurants,) and because it’s so simple and flavorful, it’s become a household staple for us.
You can top this salad with my honey miso chicken, or you can top it with any protein of your choice. We like to eat it as a starter, or pair it with some seafood. In this instance, I paired it with a soy salmon, which I marinated in soy sauce for 10 minutes, and then broiled until the top was crisp and the salmon was fully cooked.
|2cups thinly sliced cucumber|
|1/2cup thinly sliced red onion|
|1tsp grated ginger|
|1/4cup rice vinegar|
|2 1/2tbsp soy sauce|
|2tsp sesame oil|
In a large salad bowl, combine the cucumber and red onion. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the ginger, rice vinegar and soy sauce. Then, whisk in the sesame oil until combined.
Pour the dressing onto the cucumber and onion mixture and toss until the cucumbers are fully coated. Add some sesame seeds to taste and toss again.
Top with scallions or cilantro right before serving. The salad can last for up to 2 days if its covered in the fridge, just hold on the fresh herbs until right before you serve. I prefer to serve this right away or within a few hours so the cucumbers soak up as much flavor as possible! Enjoy.