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Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

5 stars based on 21 votes

Thai-Cucumber-Peanut-Salad

I love English cucumbers, those long, slender cukes with tender skin and tiny seeds. They’re a little pricier than garden variety cukes, but you can usually find them on sale in packs of three. I always throw a package in my cart — ever the optimist at the supermarket — but then when I get home, I find myself staring into the fridge, wondering what the heck I’m going to do with all those cucumbers. This light and fresh cucumber salad is one of my go-tos. The dressing is tangy, salty and sweet; and the juice from the cucumbers seeps into the dressing, giving it a delicious cucumber flavor. Trust me, you’ll be tempted to drink it. There are a few ways to eat this salad. For lunch, it’s satisfying all on its own, thanks to a generous handful of protein-rich peanuts. For dinner, you can serve it with my Grilled Thai Curry Chicken or Honey Lime Sriracha Chicken, or as a side to jazz up any simply grilled meat or fish dish.

ingredients

Begin by placing the red onions in a bowl of cold water. Let them soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients — this will mellow them out and rid them of that sharp, raw onion taste.

soaking-red-onions

Next, seed the cucumbers. Note that English cucumbers are also called hothouse, hydroponic or seedless cucumbers. You don’t have to peel them (they aren’t treated with a wax coating like the regular cukes) but you do need to remove the seeds, otherwise your salad will become watery. To seed them, cut the cucumbers it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and the pulpy matter with a teaspoon.

seeding-cucumbers

Drain the onions, then combine the sliced cucumbers, minced jalapeño, cilantro and peanuts in a large bowl.

salad

Make the dressing by combining the lime juice, oil, fish sauce, sugar and garlic in a small bowl.

dressing

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

tossed-salad

That’s all there is to it. Enjoy!

Thai-Cucumber-Peanut-Salad-small-1

Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

Servings: 4
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 large English cucumbers, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/3 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (or use 1-2 Thai chiles for more heat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, from 2-3 limes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Instructions

  1. Place the onions in a small bowl of cold water. Let sit for ten minutes, then drain well and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the drained red onions, cucumbers, cilantro, peanuts and jalapeño pepper. Set aside.
  3. Make the dressing: combine the lime juice, oil, fish sauce, sugar and garlic in a small bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve the salad within 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 238
  • Fat: 16g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 21g
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Sodium: 660mg
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    This was so yummy; love the crunch of the peanuts and the flavour of the dressing is divine! Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do with the pulp/seeds?? Or if a person was serving it immediately is it nec to scoop out? Thanks!

    - Gwyneviere on February 26, 2017 Reply
  • I’m in the middle of making the salad and discovered I don’t have vegetable oil. I do have olive oil and avocado oil. Would either of those work in the dressing? Many thanks in advance.

    - Jennifer on February 25, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, I think avocado oil would be your best bet here. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on February 26, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is fantastic and great to serve with meat /chicken to cut the fat and “lighten things up.” Very easy to make. I particularly like it as a summer dish.

    - MaudGonne on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 4 stars

    This was different for me. I love lime and letting the onions and cucumber soak it up and blend together. I’ve made this a few times and enjoy it every time. Sometimes I will make the sauce even if I only have cucumbers and jalapeno :)

    - Roxanne on October 12, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jenn,
    I really enjoyed this salad a great deal. The crunch of the peanuts and the cilantro complement the cucumbers and dressing. I have noticed that you use fish sauce in a number of recipes and I thought I might have a problem finding it, but, alas, my grocery store had it right next to the soy sauce. I also loved your tip about the red onions. Soaking them took out the “bite” that they can have and I would recommend readers doing that. All in all, a delightful recipe. I have tried a number of your recipes and find them to be “spot on”…keep up the good work!

    - Anita Carpene on August 4, 2016 Reply
  • 2 stars

    Tasty but quite ephemeral. Won’t make it again. Thanks anyway.

    - N on July 7, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi-Taking this to BBQ- better to bring dressing seperately and dress before serving? Afraid to let it sit for several hours in dressing …

    - Jill on July 2, 2016 Reply
    • Yes Jill, this definitely tastes best if you dress it shortly before serving it.

      - Jenn on July 2, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Brought it to the beach w/dressing separately –big hit! Thank you!

        - Jill on July 8, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was fantastic! I used dry jalapeño and about a half a tablespoon of Splenda and it was perfect. Thanks for this recipe!

    - mub on June 21, 2016 Reply
  • I came across this dish and decided to make it tonight with the ingredients I had on hand. I used green onions instead of the red onion, and instead of any chilis, a couple of shakes of some hot sauce. I also garnished with a tiny bit of chopped mint at the very end.

    Served this as an appetizer only dinner, with vegetable spring rolls, and fried pork dumplings.

    I have some leftover, which I will have with chicken tomorrow. :)

    - Dawn on June 7, 2016 Reply
  • Lots of people are asking for a Fish Sauce substitute and you rightly steer them to their Supermarket (almost every one has it now) or an Asian Grocery… Ours just moved to another city!
    It is my impression that in some recipes you can substitute Worcestershire sauce which is made from Anchovies – much as Fish Sauce is sometimes made from Anchovies also… Can Worcestershire be substituted? Thank you for this great recipe, I have 6 Persian cukes in the frig just waiting for this recipe! It will be great with BBQ’d meats.

    - G.D. Lemaire on June 4, 2016 Reply
    • Hi G.D., I don’t think there’s any perfect substitute for fish sauce, but you can definitely try it with Worcestershire or soy sauce (or a combination of the 2) as it adds similar salty and umami elements; it just won’t have the Thai flavor. If you try it this way, I’d love to know how it turns out!

      - Jenn on June 4, 2016 Reply
  • what is Fish Sauce &I where do you get it?

    - Rochelle Leichter on June 3, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Rochelle, Fish sauce is a liquid extracted from the fermentation of fish and sea salt. It’s often used as a condiment in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. It’s typically found in the international/Asian section of large supermarkets. If you can’t find it there, smaller Asian markets will carry it.

      - Jenn on June 3, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for Mother’s Day 2016. It was a big hit! Fresh, not sickeningly sweet, great for vegetarians & non alike, pretty presentation. I would say 20 minute prep-time was overly optimistic; more like 30. It was my first time to use fish sauce, hydroponic cukes, & soaking red onions. A total keeper of a recipe! Many thanks!

    - Greer on May 9, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    absolutely terrific salad.

    - Wendy Gordon on May 4, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I happily stumbled across this recipe today while searching for a cooling cucumber recipe to offset our “appetizers for dinner” – potstickers, lettuce wraps and chicken satay skewers. Your Thai Cucumber Salad was the slam run hit of the evening. I made the mistake of only using one English cucumber for five people…..

    Thank you for the recipe… I’ve shared it from your site and it will be a staple for us from here on….

    - Susan on May 1, 2016 Reply
  • Is there another kind of nut you would suggest. Peanuts cause my husband’s gout to flare up.
    Thanks

    - Elizabeth on February 14, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, I think cashews would work well.

      - Jenn on February 15, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for a baby shower a few months ago and it was a huge hit! Refreshing and delish – i added the peanuts right before serving to maintain the crunch!

    - Lisa on December 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made the Thai Cucumber salad as a side for a BBQ dinner. It was wonderful and garnered many compliments. I followed the recipe as written making the cucumber and vinaigrette ahead of time letting it marinate in the fridge. I added the peanuts at the last minute before serving. The peanuts will get soggy if there are leftovers but still tasty the next day.

    - Kris Janey on December 10, 2015 Reply
  • can this be made ahead? or is it best to add dressing right before serving?

    thank you!

    - Ellen on December 7, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Ellen, you can definitely get away with making this ahead. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 7, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Forgot to rate below☺

    - Julie on November 3, 2015 Reply
  • Made it last night. My hubby and I loved it.

    - Julie on November 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for dinner as a side for Bahn Mi- really delicious and simple. I used small diameter cukes (what I had) and didn’t seed them- we didn’t have a problem with sogginess, but we also ate it all with that first meal.

    - Rebecca Conable on October 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Only thing I would change is to up the amount of peanuts!! Perhaps one cup. love the crunch!!

    Delicious salad. I used regular cucumbers (because they were four large ones for $1) and took out the seeds and sliced up and tossed a bit of salt on top for 30 mins and moisture comes out.

    - Lisa on September 22, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another Awesome recipe. I live in CA and we are having a heat wave and Spare the Air Day – which means we can’t BBQ. I didn’t want to turn on the stove/oven creating more heat inside the house. I made the Cucumber with Mint salad last night and this Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts tonight. Everybody loved tonight’s salad more. I will be making this again.

    - Debbie Hudson on September 10, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was the perfect complement to the Thai Curry Chicken with Coconut-Peanut Sauce (also on this site). I wouldn’t change a thing about the recipe.

    - Rebecca J. on September 7, 2015 Reply
  • Is there a substitute for the fish sauce?

    - Janet on September 4, 2015 Reply
    • Sorry, Janet — there is no good substitute for fish sauce. You can leave it out and add more salt (fish sauce is very salty) but the salad won’t have a Thai flavor.

      - Jenn on September 4, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I was just looking at a container of Persian Cucumbers in my frig and wondering what to do with them. Voila! Made it! Absolutely love the dressing. Salty, tangy, with a hint of sweet – dressing cool cukes and crunchy peanuts! What a winning combination. I’ve never soaked red onions before. What a great tip to reduce their “bite.” The cukes come from Trader Joe’s. I usually just eat them with a bit of salt and lime. They do not require peeling or seeding. I slice on an angle which makes for an attractive presentation. Thanks for another great recipe! This site has become my go-to for no-fail recipes.

    - Gloria on September 3, 2015 Reply
  • Hello. looks great.
    What ca I pot instead of the fish sauce?
    Thx:) Sharon

    - sharon on September 3, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Sharon, Unfortunately, there is no good substitute for fish sauce — it has a very distinct and salty flavor. You can leave it out and just add more salt, but the dish won’t have a real Thai flavor.

      - Jenn on September 4, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have the same problem with cucumbers! I have gotten into the habit now of buying the tiniest one so I don’t waste it, but I think this is a great idea, and I love the flavor combination you are suggesting. While we were in China we found a similar dish made with peanut sauce, rice vinegar and scallions. This brings back many fond memories and the longing to try this appetizing and summery dish!

    - Brenda on September 3, 2015 Reply
  • Fish sauce? Help me here. What exactly is it? Any substitutions? Thanks! :)

    - Martha on September 3, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Martha, You should be able to find fish sauce in the Asian section of your regular supermarket. It has a very distinct flavor and is used like soy sauce in Southeast Asian cooking. I have many recipes on the site that call for it. Unfortunately, there’s no good substitute.

      - Jenn on September 4, 2015 Reply
      • Can you sub soy sauce for fish sauce?

        - Fran on May 26, 2016 Reply
        • Hi Fran, You can, but they’re not really the same. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect substitute for fish sauce. You can leave it out and add more salt (fish sauce is very salty). The salad just won’t have a Thai flavor.

          - Jenn on May 26, 2016 Reply

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