Celebrate the cucumber with this light and refreshing Japanese Cucumber Salad! This is the perfect side dish to a Japanese-style dinner. Thin slices of cucumber, wakame and roasted sesame seeds tossed with a tangy vinaigrette.
Let’s talk about this Japanese Cucumber Salad:
These baby cukes are a thin-skinned variety of cucumber that grow only to about five or six inches long. They have a mildly sweet flavor, very few seeds and not overly watery which makes them crisp and crunchy. Persian cucumbers are available in America in most markets like Whole Foods, Asian markets, and occasionally at Trader Joe’s.
Toasted Sesame Seeds:
How to make this Japanese Cucumber Salad:
This is a really easy salad to prepare and you are going to love it’s crunch and flavor. To give the cucumber slices a bit of variance in color we peeled alternating lengthwise strips on each cucumber before slicing. Slice the cucumbers very thinly either by hand with a sharp knife or with a mandoline.
- First, place the dried wakame seaweed in water and let sit for 10 minutes to rehydrate.
- Whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, salt and soy sauce in a separate bowl and reserve.
- Peel alternating strips of skin from the cucumber and slice them into thin rounds.
- Sprinkle the cucumber slices with salt and gently toss. Let them rest for 5 minutes to draw out any water.
- Tip the cucumber slices into a colander to drain, gently pressing the slices to remove excess water. Add the drained cucumber slices to a salad bowl.
- Squeeze the water from the wakame seaweed and add to a salad bowl with the cucumber slices.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the cucumbers and toss to coat the cucumber slices.
Add-ins for the Japanese Cucumber Salad:
We love the taste of cooked, chilled octopus slices. I know octopus does not make an appearance on the average American dinner table. There is a saying that Americans eat with their eyes and the octopus is not a beautiful creature. I hope, though, you will give this little guy a chance as it is quite delicious!
You will find small packages of pre-cooked octopus legs in Japanese delicatessens where the sushi displays are located. This is a delicious addition to a Japanese cucumber salad. Since the octopus is already cooked all that is necessary to include it into the salad is to slice the legs and add it to the top of the salad. Octopus is tender, with a mildly sweet taste and is very complimentary to this Japanese cucumber salad.
Shrimp is another add-in for this salad. We are all familiar with shrimp and their delicate taste. They are simple to prepare by boiling and steaming.
After the shrimp is cool I like to pour a little of the salad vinaigrette over them and let them marinate for a few minutes. Their taste makes a great addition on top of the salad.
There is one final important bit of information we want to share with you. In order to keep the cucumber salad crisp and crunchy do not add the vinaigrette to the cucumber slices until ready to serve.
SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:
- Sake-Red Miso Glazed Sablefish with Wasabi Emulsion Sablefish is a delicate, fatty fish and the sweetness of the sake-miso marinade is a perfect balance and is complemented with the wasabi emulsion.
- Black Rice Sushi Rolls Try these black rice sushi rolls! They are filled with fresh ahi tuna and crunchy veggies.
- Soba Noodles, Shrimp and Spicy Peanut Sauce This is a quick, healthy one-dish meal. Tons of flavor from toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and spicy peanut sauce.
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For the Salad:
- 1-1/2 tablespoons dried chopped wakame seaweed
- 3 Persian cucumbers
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 tablespoon white toasted sesame seeds
For the Vinaigrette:
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free soy sauce
- 2 ounces boiled and chilled octopus, sliced
- 4 steamed shrimp, chilled
- Add the dried wakame seaweed to a dish and pour 1 cup of cold water over. Let sit for 10-minutes to rehydrate the wakame.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel alternating strips of skin from the cucumber, then slice them into thin slices, about 1/8-inch.
- Sprinkle the cucumber slices with salt and gently toss. Let them rest for 5 minutes to draw out any liquid.
- Tip the cucumber slices into a colander to drain, gently pressing the slices to remove excess water.
- Add the drained cucumber slices and the sesame seeds to a salad bowl.
- Squeeze the water from the wakame seaweed and add to a salad bowl.
- In a small dish, whisk the rice vinegar, sugar, salt and soy sauce together.
- When ready to serve, pour the vinaigrette over the cucumber slices and toss to coat.
- Portion the salad equally into 4 small bowls and pass dishes of octopus slices and shrimp to add to the salads as desired.
- Persian cucumbers are available in most grocery stores. They can be substituted with English cucumbers which have more water and the salad will not be quite as crisp as if using Persian cucumbers
- A mandoline is ideal for slicing 1/8-inch uniform slices. The 2mm slicing blade of a food processor will also work.
- You can find packages of dried and cut wakame in Asian markets at an affordable cost.
- Packages of boiled octopus can be purchased in a Japanese deli with the sushi displays. For larger packages of octopus legs check with a fishmonger as they often keep a frozen supply.
- Keep the undressed salad refrigerated until ready to serve. To keep the cucumbers crisp and crunchy do not add the vinaigrette to the salad until ready to serve.
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Serving Size1/2 cup
Amount Per ServingCalories 86 Total Fat 1g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 1g Cholesterol 24mg Sodium 698mg Carbohydrates 13g Fiber 1g Sugar 9g Protein 7g