Spicy Cucumber Salad with Dry Roasted Almonds & Cilantro

This spicy cucumber salad is a refreshing side for almost every summer meal: crisp vegetables meet spicy sour dressing & a contrasting toasty topping.

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This spicy cucumber salad is a refreshing side for almost every summer meal: crisp vegetables meet spicy sour dressing & a contrasting toasty topping.




CRISP: Trim off and discard the ends of the baby cucumbers, then slice them lengthwise in half. Chop the cucumber halves into bite size pieces and add them to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the chopped cucumbers with the coarse salt and toss or stir to coat. Cover the bowl, pop it into the fridge and let the cucumbers sit for 30 minutes to chill & draw out excess liquid.

SHAKE: While the cucumbers are in their salt bath, whisk up the dressing. Measure the vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, microplaned garlic, coconut sugar, red pepper flakes and toasted sesame oil into a mason jar with a lid. Seal the jar tightly, then give the dressing a gentle swish around to combine. Make sure that the garlic is sitting at the bottom of the jar so that it mellows out in the dressing nicely, then pop the dressing in the fridge to chill for a bit, too.

DRY: Drain the salted cucumbers through a colander and lay a clean dish towel down on your work surface. Spread the drained cucumbers out on the dish towel, then wipe the bowl dry. Gently pat & blot the excess moisture from the cucumbers with the owel, then wrap them up loosely in the towel to absorb any last bits of liquid.

DRESS: Return the drained and dried cucumbers to the mixing bowl. Add the diced red onion & dressing, then toss to coat.

SPRINKLE: Roughly chop together the dry roasted almonds and cilantro. Divide the cucumber salad between plates or pile it onto a serving platter to share, then sprinkle the almond and cilantro mixture over the top just before serving.


  • Don’t skip the salting and draining steps. I’ve made this recipe numerous times and on average find that this easy process removes about 3 tablespoons / 45 milliliters of extra liquid from the cucumbers. If you were to skip the process, that would mean your dressing would be diluted by about 50%, rendering it not only watery, but practically tasteless!
  • I like to make this salad ahead of time and return the dressed – but not yet be-sprinkled! – cucumbers to the fridge for about 2 hours or so before serving. This makes them extra crisp and delicious. If you like, you can also save the salad for a day or two once dressed.
  • If you do make the salad ahead, make sure to chop and sprinkle the almond-cilantro mixture on top just before serving, because it will get soggy in the dressing otherwise.
  • If you like things extra spicy, add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the topping mixture and chop them into the cilantro so that they’re smaller and evenly distributed throughout. Additionally, you can garnish with a thinly sliced fresh fresno or jalapeno pepper for a little more kick.