Smashed Cucumber Salad Recipe

Who doesn't love a simple side dish that packs plenty of flavor with minimal ingredients? This tasty smashed cucumber salad recipe by Susan Olayinka is the perfect example of a straightforward preparation. Olayinka is a Mashed recipe developer and food blogger at The Flexible Fridge, and her goal is to make quick, stress-free meals that are family-friendly. About this salad, she notes that "the freshness ... and the dressing used," are her favorite features. According to The New York Times, this kind of flavorful salad originates from the Szechuan province in China, where it is particularly appreciated in hot weather. 

Indeed, the salad is essentially cucumber that has been well-seasoned with a handful of pantry staples. It's ready to serve within just a few minutes, which makes it a great accompaniment for weeknight dinners. Even better, if you're looking to release some steam, you'll definitely enjoy the step that requires you to smash the cucumber!

Gather up the ingredients for this smashed cucumber salad recipe

Before you do anything else, gather your salad ingredients — basically a cucumber and the components for the dressing. You'll only need half of a cucumber for two servings of salad. You're best off using thin-skinned varieties such as an English or Persian cucumbers since they will be easier to smash.

Next, garlic adds some earthiness and flavor that complements the rest of the seasonings. As for the dressing, you'll need to combine white sugar, salt, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili flakes. Together, the ingredients balance each other out, creating an equilibrium between the salty, sweet, tangy, nutty, and spicy aromas.

Start by smashing the cucumber

First, prepare the cucumbers. Place half a cucumber onto a cutting board, and use the end of a rolling pin to smash it along its exterior. Olayinka recommends stopping "when it is slightly broken," adding that it will have a big tear running through the surface of the skin. Next, slice the smashed cucumber into discs that are half an inch thick. Transfer the slices to a serving bowl, and set aside. 

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl

Now that the cucumber is prepped, it's time to make the salad dressing. Set out a small mixing bowl, and add the minced garlic clove, one tablespoon of white sugar, half a teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon each of red wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil, and finally, one tablespoon of chili flakes. With a small spoon or fork, mix all of the ingredients together until they are well combined.

Pour the sauce over the sliced cucumber

Now that you have prepared the two main elements of this salad, it's time to combine them together for the dish. Carefully pour the salad dressing over the sliced cucumber in the serving bowl. Using a spoon, stir up the cucumbers to evenly distribute the dressing across all of the slices. Make sure that the minced garlic and chili flakes are scattered throughout the salad for a uniform flavor.

Serve this delicious salad alone or as a side dish

This tasty smashed cucumber salad is ready to serve as a simple snack or as a side dish to go with your meal. Olayinka remarks that "it will go well [with] any rice dish." The refreshing flavors complement other Chinese-inspired dishes while adding a pleasant textural contrast. If you're a fan of chilis, serve it alongside a plate of spicy noodles

To maintain the crisp texture of the cucumber, you're best off enjoying this salad immediately. However, if you have leftovers Olayinka, notes that they can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Smashed Cucumber Salad Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
This salad is essentially cucumber that has been well-seasoned with a handful of pantry staples. It's ready to serve within just a few minutes!
Prep Time
Cook Time
cucumber salad spoonful
Total time: 5 minutes
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili flakes
  1. First, place the cucumber on a chopping board and smash it with the end of a rolling pin.
  2. Slice the smashed cucumber into half-inch discs, and transfer them to a serving bowl.
  3. Mix the minced garlic, white sugar, salt, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili flakes in a small bowl.
  4. Pour the sauce over the sliced cucumber and mix to combine.
  5. Serve your fresh cucumber salad.
Calories per Serving 61
Total Fat 2.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.4 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.8 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 7.6 g
Sodium 217.9 mg
Protein 0.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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