Quick and easy Japanese Smashed Cucumber Salad (Tataki Kyuri) is a light and refreshing side dish, perfect for summer! Smashing the cucumbers helps the dressing get into those cracks and adds flavour to the cucumbers much more effectively.
Smashed Cucumber Salad– sounds a little crazy right? Who would think to smash up perfectly crisp cucumbers?! Kudos to whoever thought of this, because it’s brilliant.
In Japanese, Tataki (叩き) means to smash and Kyuri (キュウリ) means cucumber– which is where it gets its name. Smashing the cucumbers create these imperfect cracks and crevices within each piece, creating more surface area for the dressing to coat and seep into.
This variation of smashed cucumber salad is a dish I’ve been eating since childhood, especially when I went back to Japan in the summer. Instead of cooked side dishes, my grandma would prepare chilled side dishes and this was just one of our favourites.
How to Make Smashed Cucumber Salad
This is probably the most speedy un-fussy yet mega flavourful salad recipe out there because you don’t need any fancy equipment like a salad spinner– just a good sturdy knife, cutting board and bowl.
Best Type of Cucumbers for Smashed Cucumber Salad
There are 3 varieties of cucumbers: Picking, slicing and seedless. For this cucumber salad recipe, use seedless cucumbers such as Kyuri (Japanese cucumbers), Persian Cucumbers or in a pinch, Lebanese Cucumbers. These varieties are ideal because they have thin skin (easy to smash), are crisp and crunchy and have a mild sweet flavour. Avoid slicing and picking cucumbers because the skin if much thicker and you do not want to peel the skin off for this recipe.
When choosing cucumbers at the store, look for cucumbers that are vibrant dark green and firm to the touch. Avoid cucumbers that are bendable, dull-looking or ones that have a slightly yellow undertone. These tend to be older cucumbers that are bitter.
- Tamari: Or soy sauce if not gluten free.
- Sesame Oil
- Maple Syrup: Any kind of sweetener/sugar can be used here.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds
- Garlic and/or Ginger
- Kombu Dashi: For umami and a subtle sweet-salty flavour. You could also substitute with miso paste.
- Togarashi: Japanese chili powder with seaweed and sesame seeds.
I also like to add in some sliced scallions when I have some on hand for an extra touch.
And the best part about this cucumber salad? It takes less than 10 minutes to put together, check it out:
- Use the back of a knife to smash the cucumbers until they just split open, usually into 4 segments lengthwise. You could also use a rolling pin. Then just slice them into bite size pieces.
- Make the dressing by adding the rest of the ingredients into a bowl. I usually make the dressing in the mixing bowl I’m going to toss the cucumbers in for less dishes.
- Add the cucumbers and toss until they’re all well coated in the dressing. Top it off with some sliced scallions if you have some on hand and serve!
Who knew cucumbers could be so addictive? Crispy, light, refreshing and jam packed (literally) with flavour. You *might* find yourself snacking on it straight out of the bowl. Totally acceptable. Love you, cucumbers ♡.
More Delicious Vegan Salads to Try!
- BLT Pasta Salad (with Tempeh)
- Creamy Broccoli Salad
- Miso Caesar Salad with Smoky Tempeh
- Beet Quinoa Salad with Sunflower Seed Dressing
- Sesame Miso Pasta Salad
If you recreate this Japanese Smashed Cucumber Salad recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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