This simple and flavorful Vietnamese Cucumber Salad is the epitome of fresh! With bright herbs, a light dressing and crunchy peanuts, this salad makes the perfect compliment to most meats and mains. This salad is gluten-free and low in carbs!
One of my favorite things about summer is all the access to fresh herbs. Nothing adds more to a dish (IMHO) than bright, fresh and flavorful herbs. From basil to mint to cilantro to parsley, I can always find a use for fresh herbs in dishes around my kitchen.
This Vietnamese-Inspired Cucumber Salad is a great way to use up some fresh mint and cilantro, and is SO darn delicious!
What is a Vietnamese Cucumber Salad?
A Vietnamese cucumber salad is a simple salad made from fresh cucumbers, spicy pepper (most commonly an Asian chili), fresh herbs and a light dressing made with sesame oil, sugar, rice vinegar, lime juice and fish sauce.
Variations of this salad may contain sesame seeds, peanuts or pickled onions.
What is fish sauce?
Fish sauce is a sauce made from fermented fish or krill. It sounds a bit odd, but really adds depth to dishes. It is commonly used in Asian dishes to add saltiness and umami flavor.
I like to use Red Boat Fish Sauce. It only contains two ingredients, salt and black anchovies.
This salad can compliment many dishes! Pair it with Asian-inspired dishes or simple mains that need a flavorful accompaniment.
Here are some ideas:
- Pair it with a simple steak or smoked ribs
- Serve it with this healthy teriyaki salmon
- Add this salad to a meal of stir fry or a noodle bowl to bulk up with veggies
- Top it with grilled chicken or tofu and peanut sauce for the ultimate fusion of flavors
Ingredient Notes & Possible Substitutions
You can use regular cucumbers, English or Persian cucumbers in this recipe. If using regular cucumbers it is best to remove the seeds with a spoon. You can leave them unpeeled or peel them based on your preference.
Both English and Persian cucumber will not need to be seeded or peeled.
I use a jalapeno in this recipe because they are typically easier to find in conventional grocery stores, however Asian chilis are commonly used in similar salads and would work well instead.
Fresh garlic is a must!
Peanuts add a nuttiness and desirable crunch to the salad. Roasted, crushed almonds or cashews could also work in place of peanuts.
In lieu of green onion, shallot can be used Thinly slice the shallot and only add about ½ a small bulb to prevent it from overpowering the other flavors.
This recipe calls for mint and cilantro, but if you happen to have some basil on hand just begging to be used up, throw it in!! The more the merrier when it comes to herbs.
Fresh lime juice is superior to bottled. Get a lime, juice it and relish in the fresh flavor.
Rice vinegar is lightly sweet and fairly neutral. You could substitute white balsamic vinegar or another similar, light vinegar if you are in a pinch.
If you have a sesame allergy, you can sub peanut oil (for a nutty flavor) or some neutral flavored cooking oil.
Weirded out by fish sauce and not open to including this ingredient in your salad? You can add some salt to taste instead. I won't call you out for not be adventurous.
Traditionally a pinch of sugar is used in Vietnamese cucumber salad. I use honey because we don't have regular sugar on hand in our home. Feel free to use either.
Feel free to leave a comment and a rating below. Feedback is always appreciated! 😊
Vietnamese-Inspired Cucumber Salad
- Cutting board
- 2 Cucumbers Large
- 1 Jalapeno
- 1 Garlic clove
- 2 tbsp Roasted peanuts
- 2 Green onions
- 2 tbsp Mint Fresh
- 2 tbsp Cilantro Fresh
Prepare the Dressing
- Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing until the honey is dissolved.
Prepare the Salad
- Removed both ends from the cucumbers and slice in half lengthwise. Using a spoon scoop out the seeds from the inside of the cucumbers and begin cutting in ½ inch. semi-circles.
- Thinly slice the green onions and finely chop the mint and cilantro. Peel and dice the garlic. Remove the seeds and veins from the jalapeno and thinly slice.
- Add cucumbers, jalapeno, garlic and green onion to a bowl and toss with dressing. Top with mint, cilantro and peanuts.