Cucumber-Sesame Salad with Garlicky Chili Oil

4.80 from 5 votes
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Cucumber-sesame salad with yogurt, mint, and garlicky chili oil. This Asian cucumber salad is light and nutritious, and super easy to make.Cucumber salad over yogurt in a yellow bowl

Why You’ll Love this Cucumber Salad Recipe

Cucumbers and yogurt is one of the most refreshing combinations of all time. However what really adds a layer of intrigue to this combo is garlic and chili flakes. The garlicky chili oil adds depth, complexity, and just enough kick to liven up anything you pair it with. For example, grilled fish, burgers, chicken, or even strips of baked tofu.

The chili oil is also fantastic as a stand-alone condiment. You can drizzle it over just about any grilled protein or vegetable you’re cooking up.

Serve this refreshing Asian cucumber salad as an appetizer or side dish this summer. It’s the perfect recipe to use up your bounty of homegrown ‘cukes, and will become a seasonal staple.Cucumber salad topped with chili oil in a yellow bowl

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Cucumber: You can use any type of cucumber in this salad, however I prefer English or Persian because they’re seedless. English are also called hot-house cucumbers, and they’re long and thin with dark green skin. If you use garden cucumbers, it’s best to remove the seeds.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic does some serious heavy lifting here in terms of flavor. The key is to cook them in oil over medium-low heat to avoid burning.
  • Chili Flakes: You can use standard crushed red chili flakes, Korean, or Aleppo-style pepper flakes in this recipe. The latter two offer more dimension in terms of flavor, however they can be harder to find.
  • Vinegar: The recipe suggests unseasoned rice vinegar, however seasoned will also do the job.
  • Yogurt: Plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt creates the creamy foundation for the Asian cucumber salad. You can also use your favorite plant-based yogurt if making vegan/dairy-free.
  • Sesame Seeds: Toasted sesame seeds add crunch, depth, and a jolt of nutrients to this salad. You can purchase sesame seeds already toasted, or toast them yourself. For the latter, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Make the Garlic Chili Oil

Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Once hot, add garlic and chili flakes, and gently cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the garlic is deeply aromatic. Remove from heat, stir in salt and sesame seeds, and transfer to a bowl. Let the chili oil cool completely while you prepare the rest of the salad.Chili garlic oil in a black skillet

Step 2: Slice the Cucumbers

Slice the cucumber(s) width-wise into 1-inch long coins Next, place each cucumber coin on one of the flat sides, and slice once horizontally and once vertically to create four spears. Transfer the cucumber to a medium bowl and toss with mint, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Step 3: Prepare the Cucumber Salad

Spread yogurt in a bowl or on a serving platter. Next, scatter Asian cucumber salad overtop, and drizzle garlic chili oil overtop. To garnish, sprinkle extra sesame seeds or fresh mint leaves overtop.Sliced cucumbers in a white bowl topped with mint and sesame seeds

FAQs and Expert Tips:

Is Cucumber Salad Healthy?

Cucumber salad is a light, flavorful, and nutritious option. Even though cucumbers have a high water content, they actually offer a nice hit of potassium and vitamin C. Sesame seeds also provide a slew of nutrients, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins.

And then, of course, we have Greek yogurt, which adds protein, probiotics, calcium, and vitamin D to the mix.

Can I Make Cucumber Salad in Advance?

You can prepare the cucumber mixture and chili oil up to 3 days ahead. However, I suggest waiting to assemble the salad until ready to serve. Just keep the cucumbers chilled and the chili oil covered at room temperature for best results.

What to Serve with Cucumber Salad:

Cucumber salad is highly versatile, and can be served with just about any protein. For example, grilled chicken or fish, burgers, or shrimp skewers. Alternatively, you can serve cucumber salad alongside a bowl of soup or a hot pressed sandwich.Cucumber salad salad in a yellow bowl with a spoon sticking in the right

More Fresh Cucumber Recipes

10 Minute Asian Cucumber Salad

Chopped Greek Pasta Salad

If you give this recipe a try, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

4.80 from 5 votes

Cucumber-Sesame Salad with Garlicky Chili Oil

Cucumber-sesame salad with yogurt, mint, and garlicky chili oil. This Asian cucumber salad is light and nutritious, and super easy to make.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Equipment

  • Small skillet
  • Serving bowl or platter

Ingredients  

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt divided
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds plus more for garnish
  • 1 lb. Persian or English cucumbers
  • 2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped mint leaves plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 dash fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
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Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low. Once hot, add garlic and chili flakes; cook 3 to 5 minutes, until garlic is golden and aromatic. Pour into a small bowl, stir in 1/4 tsp. salt and sesame seeds. Let cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, slice cucumber(s) width-wise into 1-inch long pieces. Place each piece on one of its flat sides, and slice once vertically and once horizontally, creating 4 spears. Place cucumbers in a bowl and add vinegar, mint, sugar, fish sauce (if using) and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt; toss to combine.
  • To assemble, spread yogurt on a platter or in a wide-rimmed bowl. Top with cucumber mixture, and drizzle garlic chili oil overtop. Garnish with additional fresh mint and sesame seeds, if desired.

Notes

*MAKE AHEAD: You can prepare the cucumber mixture and chili oil up to 3 days ahead. However, I suggest waiting to assemble the salad until ready to serve. Just keep the cucumbers chilled and the chili oil covered at room temperature for best results.
*SERVE WITH: Grilled chicken or fish, burgers, or shrimp skewers. You can also serve cucumber salad alongside a bowl of soup or a hot pressed sandwich.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2.5g | Sodium: 320mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!

 

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Recipe Rating




7 Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    5 stars
    This was INSANELY good! So crisp and refreshing! Paired with your miso-maple salmon (grilled on a cedar plank) and your Asian BBQ cauliflower for a knockout dinner. Thank you for another hit!

  2. vivian says:

    5 stars
    Delicious, and not overly spicy, as I had worried it would be. I served it with tofu lettuce wraps for me and grilled chicken satay with peanut sauce for the meat eaters. Definitely a lovely complement to any Asian inspired dish. Thanks for a great recipe!

  3. Marit Dijkstra says:

    5 stars
    Really delicious! Skipped the yogurt and served it with leftover Chinese, loved it!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Oh that sounds delish!! So glad you enjoyed it, Marit!

  4. Teresa M says:

    5 stars
    Light, delicious, and refreshing! We enjoyed it with grilled shrimp and it was a lovely compliment.

  5. Website says:

    4 stars
    Great recipe. I used the smashed cucumber method and it turned out great. So easy and simple to make. It took me about 3 minutes start to finish plus the 15 minutes in the fridge. The salt released a decent amount of water from the cucumber during the fridge time and that, mixed with vinegar and seseme oil, made a nice, light and fresh dressing for the salad. I’ve had this dish in many places but this was one of my favorites so far – fresh makes everything better.

    1. dishingouthealth says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for taking the time to leave a note. Cheers!