Cucumbers rise to the top of your salad favorites once you taste spicy cucumber salad with quick and creamy peanut dressing. It’s the bowl-cleaning healthy vegan indulgence you've got to experience.
Dressing up cucumber slices in a sweet, creamy peanut dressing and a spicy infusion creates a tempting side salad that can be made in 20 minutes or less. This is possibly one of the best cucumber salad recipes we've eaten. It’s Asian-inspired making eating cucumbers enticing and it’s all done with no added oil. We’ll let a few tablespoons of peanut butter create the richness we crave.
Cucumbers – Choose 2 fresh cucumbers that are green and firm. You can also use tiny Persian cucumbers if those are available. 6 small cucumbers will yield about the same as 2 medium cucumbers.
Peanut butter – Creamy peanut butter makes a smoother sauce than chunky, although either is suitable for the dressing. Ideally, choose a peanut butter that doesn't have extra salt.
Soy sauce – Regular or dark soy sauce gives the peanut dressing a deep umami flavor. You can also use Tamari as a gluten-free option.
Rice vinegar – If you were wondering, rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar are the same things. Rice vinegar is mellow and slightly sweet. The best alternatives are apple cider vinegar and white wine vinegar.
Maple syrup – It's best to use a liquid sweetener to get a smooth dressing. Maple syrup is my go-to for peanut dressing, but date paste or brown rice syrup are both worthy whole-food, plant-based options.
Garlic – Use 1 fat garlic clove, or if, like me, your garlic cloves tend to be on the smaller side, 2 cloves. You should end up with about 2 teaspoons of minced or pressed garlic.
The spice mix – The spice mix consists of finely chopped cilantro (coriander), peanuts, and red chili flakes (aka red pepper flakes). If you start with dry cilantro, it's easy to pile all the ingredients together and chop them. This is the tasty, spicy 'sprinkle' that gives your salad a kick, so don't skip it. You won't regret it.
There are three steps to making this recipe, and you can do them in any order you like.
- Keep the peel on the cucumber if possible. That's where most of the fiber and nutrients live. Indigestion caused by cucumbers tends to be with the seeds – at least in my experience. To remove the seeds, cut the cucumber into 2 pieces for easier handling. Then, cut the halves lengthwise and use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds.
- Make the dressing by combining the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, and garlic in a small bowl. If the salad dressing is too thick, add a tablespoon of water.
- As noted, the spice mix is made by finely chopping cilantro, peanuts, and red chili flakes. Pike the ingredients up tightly and use a sharp knife to mince the ingredients. Be sure to use dry cilantro because this makes it easier to break the chili flakes.
- When you mix the cucumbers and dressing, add half the spice mix. That leaves half to top the salad. This makes the presentation pretty and fancy. Yes, even cucumbers deserve a little fancy now and then.
If you don't have red chili flakes but still want a spicy peanut dressing, use ancho chili flakes. If you use a ground chili such as cayenne, use ½ a teaspoon and toss it into the spice mix after chopping the cilantro and peanuts. You can also use chili paste such as sriracha, but you will want to mix that into the dressing.
Cucumber salad is best eaten immediately for maximum crunch, although it will last in the refrigerator for a few days.
Use almond butter as an alternative to peanut butter for this dressing. Be careful to consult the label that there is no cross-contamination with peanuts. Sunflower butter is also a substitute for anyone allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and soy.
Other Side Salads to Love
Spicy Cucumber Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing
Spicy cucumber salad with creamy peanut dressing is an Asian-inspired, healthy vegan indulgence with no added oil that you’ve to experience.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Side Salads
- Method: Chop/Blend
- Cuisine: Thai
- Diet: Vegan
- 2 medium cucumbers (1 pound/454 grams)
- 3 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- ¼ cup peanuts
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro (coriander)
- 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
- Prepare the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers into two pieces each. Then cut each piece lengthwise. Using a small spoon, remove the seeds. Then place the cucumber halves, cut side down, and slice them into half-moons. Place them in a small salad bowl.
- Make the dressing. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and garlic to a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients until they are smooth. Add a few drops of water if the dressing is too thick.
- Make the spice mix. Gather the cilantro, peanuts, and chili flakes into a tight bunch and then use a sharp knife to finely chop them.
- Finish the salad. Add the dressing and half of the spice mix to the cucumber slices and mix well. Top the salad with the rest of the spice mix.
- Rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar are the same things. If you need an alternative, consider white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- If you have peanut allergies, consider using sunflower butter or almond paste as a substitute. You may need to adjust the other dressing seasonings.
Keywords: cucumber salad, peanut dressing, healthy, vegan, spicy, quick, creamy, spicy Asian