Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

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Peanuts add welcome crunch to this tangy and refreshing Thai cucumber salad.

This fresh and crunchy Thai cucumber salad adapted from Food & Wine is one of my warm weather staples. The juice from the cucumbers seeps into the lime, sugar and fish sauce-flavored dressing, giving it a delicious cucumber flavor. The salad is satisfying all on its own for lunch, thanks to a generous handful of protein-packed peanuts. For dinner, it’s good with my Grilled Thai Curry Chicken, Honey Lime Sriracha Chicken or with any simply grilled meat or fish dish.

What you’ll need to make Thai cucumber salad with Peanuts

  • The recipe calls for English/hothouse cucumbers, 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. Happily, they don’t need to be peeled, as they aren’t treated with a wax coating like the regular cucumbers.
  • Fish sauce is a salty, savory condiment often used in East Asian cuisine. It has a pungent smell, but when used in moderation, it adds rich umami flavor to sauces, marinades, and salad dressings. You can find it in the Asian food section of most supermarkets.
  • Use good quality Virginia peanuts if you can find them. Grown primarily in Virginia (but also in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas), Virginia peanuts are large in size, flavorful, and extra crunchy. They are often referred to as “ballpark peanuts” because they are the kind sold at baseball games.

Step-by-Step Instructions

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.

Next, seed the cucumbers by cutting the cucumbers it in half lengthwise and scooping out the seeds and the pulpy matter with a teaspoon.

Seeding cucumbers

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

thai cucumber salad dressing

Drain the onions, then add the sliced cucumbers, minced jalapeño, cilantro and peanuts to the bowl with the dressing.

Thai cucumber salad ingredients added to dressing

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

mixed thai cucumber salad

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Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

Peanuts add welcome crunch to this tangy and refreshing Thai cucumber salad.

Servings: 4
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • ½ red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 large English cucumbers, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced crosswise ¼-inch thick
  • ⅓ cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup salted peanuts
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (or use 1-2 Thai chiles for more heat)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

For the Dressing

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice, from 2-3 limes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ 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. Make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice, oil, fish sauce, sugar, and garlic.
  3. Add the drained red onions, cucumbers, cilantro, peanuts and jalapeño pepper to the dressing. Taste and add the salt if necessary. Serve the salad within 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

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

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • Hi Jenn,
    I’m cooking for someone that doesn’t like peanuts and I’m looking for a salad to go along with the Miso Black Cod from your cookbook. Could I make this and switch out the peanuts for something else or just omit them? Thanks!

    • — Turtle on May 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, that would be fine. Cashews or almonds would work nicely here too.

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this tonight and paired with grilled shrimp and brown rice. Delicious and tastes like summer! Added shredded carrot and thinly sliced red pepper to amp up the veggies. I could seriously drink the dressing (might have slurped down what was left at the bottom of the bowl, shhhhh).

    • — Elizabeth on May 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • This salad is beyond tasty. So delicious. I sometimes bring it to work for lunch with a chicken breast chopped up on top. I often add a splash of rice wine vinegar to the dressing and use only half the oil. Your recipes never fail me! Love them….

    • — Jennifer on March 31, 2022
    • Reply
  • We have made this a number of times in the last few years. Good summer salad. Makes good leftovers, stays crunchy for second meal for two.

    • — Harriet Turner on March 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • Easy to make and enjoyed by everyone. I added more lime juice as I felt it needed it. I think it would taste amazing with some beef added it – easy thai beef salad.

    • — Amy on December 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is the best thing in the whole wide world! I have made it for three different occasions in the last two weeks and everyone insisted on the recipe. Made it again tonight for a dinner party.

    • — Denine on October 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • How far in advance can I make the dressing? I will, of course, add the dressing just before serving.

    • — Linda Shear on September 27, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda, You could make it 4 days ahead give or take. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 27, 2021
      • Reply
    • One more question. I don’t have salted peanuts in the house, so my choice is unsalted peanuts or dry roasted peanuts. Your thoughts?

      • — Linda Shear on September 27, 2021
      • Reply
      • I’d go with the dry roasted. Enjoy!

        • — Jenn on September 28, 2021
        • Reply
  • Easy to make and super tasty! Also really refreshing for a summer dinner!!

    • — Sophie on August 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can’t remember how many times we’ve made this salad but a lot. Love it and share the recipe with friends a lot. So good even with regular cukes, so plentiful all summer.

    • — Harriet Turner on July 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • I love this salad! I’ve been making it for years. Its my go-to with anything thai or vietnamese and so nice to have this fresh option. I sometimes swap the jalapeno and garlic for a little chile-garlic sauce, but this recipe is perfect as written. I also love that the leftovers are good for a few days when we have some. Thank you!

    • — Shannon on June 21, 2021
    • Reply
  • The salad was nice. The peanuts were the highlight. More spice would have been nice.

    • — Maggie on June 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • WOW! This is my new favourite. The first time I made it, I did not have all the ingredients. Did not have any cilantro. I also only had white Onion and used some salted mixed nuts. It was still awesome. Made again with all the ingredients and it was even better. I also don’t remove the cucumber seeds and use a lot of very hot chilli.

    • — Christo Viljoen on May 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is so fresh and delicious! I paired this with the chicken tikka masala and it was a hit with our family. Highly recommend for a great side dish!

    • — Lauren on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Colorful, fresh anytime salad. New favorite.

    • — Susan S on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! I didn’t have the jalapeño so I added red chili flakes.

    • — Virginia on January 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! The whole family loves this. I make the recipe exactly as is, and it is delicious. Super fresh tasting and is a great healthy side dish to many meals.

    • — Emme on December 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Amazing!!! Will make again and again. Had it with the Asian BBQ Chicken and some simple egg fried rice and sesame green beans.

    • — Natalie on December 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is my go-to recipe for a Thai/SE Asian-ish salad. Easy and delicious. The crunch of the peanuts makes it extra good.

    • — Kaye on November 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Made these with Persian cucumbers and left in some of the jalapeño seeds for heat. The family ate it all up! Served with salmon and rice. Thank you for a quick, easy and refreshing recipe (:

    • — Kaye on October 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious! I made this with the Broiled Salmon with Thai Sweet Chili Glaze (also delicious!). I don’t love raw onions but they were great in this salad. I soaked them as directed and it made such a difference. I added red peppers, radishes and shredded carrots since I had them on hand. Crisp, colorful salad enjoyed by all.

    • — Pam on October 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Where we live we have Armenian cucumbers and I made this recipe with them. I also tossed in a bit of watercress.

    • — Nunu on August 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • Just made the recipe as we have a bumper crop of cucumbers in our home garden this year. So easy to make and both my wife and I loved it! I only just discovered the once upon a chef site and look forward to making many more recipes!

    • — Dennis on July 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • I enjoyed this salad, (followed the recipe exactly), but I wish it had been spicier.

    • — Patricia on July 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • The cucumbers in my garden this year have gone crazy and I can’t keep up with them! So I looked up some salad recipes and made yours yesterday. Ok, the trick with the red onion to soak in water for 10 minutes – brilliant!! I swear learning this changed my life! Thank you!
    Also the salad is delicious. I cut back on the fish sauce a bit and on the jalapeños so that my kids would eat it and Im sure i used more cilantro than necessary but you can never have too much! The kids loved it!

    • — Lissa on July 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delightful summer salad. Great combination of flavors and so simple to make!

    • — Cindy on July 18, 2020
    • Reply
  • Re: this salad dressing and others, if the instructions direct you “to whisk” , is there a difference if you combine the dressing ingredients and pulse in a blender instead? Thanks for the help! I have always wondered about this question 🙂

    • — Liz on July 7, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, Using a blender instead of a whisk will result in a thicker texture. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 8, 2020
      • Reply
  • This recipe is my new favourite summer salad!! Kid friendly too! Can be made ahead of time, leftovers tasted just as good if not better. Almost like a fridge pickle salad the next day. SO YUM!!

    • — Simone on June 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi – quick question. I have cilantro paste and no cilantro, the perils of grocery delivery. Do you think I can just stir some cilantro paste into the dressing to get a cilantro flavor to the salad? Thanks!

    • Sure, I think that sounds like a good way to improvise. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  • I recently discovered this recipe and have been making it weekly, if not more often! This is a mouthful of tangy, sweet, salty deliciousness. I’ve sometimes added carrot slices (sliced super thin on my mandolin), peppers which all work great. Highly recommend this!

  • We’ve made this recipe a number of times, so good. We use regular cukes, no English around here but garden fresh ones don’t get waxed anyway.
    Another geeat excuse to use fish sauce.

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