This light and refreshing salad is a family favorite.  We enjoy it year-round, but especially love it in the summer with BBQ or spicy Asian dishes.

Asian Smashed Cucumber Salad [Vegan]





  • 2 English cucumbers (or 6 Persian cucumbers)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce (or coconut aminos for gluten-free)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil (toasted sesame oil if possible)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger, adjusted to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar-free monk fruit sweetener (or white sugar), plus more to taste
  • red pepper flakes, adjusted to taste
  • optional for garnishing: 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (here), squeeze of lime, chopped cilantro, diced green onion, and/or microgreens


  1. Rinse cucumbers and pat dry. Cut crosswise into pieces approximately 10 cm long. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.
  2. On a flat surface, place a few pieces of cucumber.  Pound with a flat object (like the flat side of your knife or a meat pounder) until the cucumber cracks and the flesh starts to breaks down. Repeat until all of the cucumber has been smashed. Cut the cucumber into bite-size pieces, leaving the seeds behind.
  3. Transfer the cucumber pieces to a strainer set over a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and mix well.  Refrigerate for 1 to 5 hours so the cucumber pieces can drain.
  4. In the meantime, make the dressing. Place garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, sweetener, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine.
  5. When ready to serve, shake the excess water off the cucumber pieces and transfer to the bowl with the dressing.  Toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
  6. Add additional salt, garlic, soy, sesame oil, ginger, sweetener, and/or red pepper flakes to taste.  Serve immediately with sesame seeds and cilantro, or garnish as desired.