Refreshing, Summer Asian Cucumber Salad
Nothing says spring (or come here summer) like a tangy Asian Cucumber Salad infused by the warmth of ginger, complimented with the delicate nuttiness of sesame seeds, and topped with a dash of red jalapeŮo†spiciness.
Ginger (a flowering plant from China) is well-known for its myriad of health benefits and has a history of use in traditional and alternative medicine. The benefits of ginger include: aid digestion, reduce nausea, combats the common cold, reduces muscle pain and soreness, has an anti-inflammatory effect, lowers blood sugar, improves heart disease risks, helps to treat chronic indigestion, reduces menstrual pain, lowers cholesterol levels and may even protect against cancer and thwart Alzheimerís Disease.
Not to be outdone, the humble cucumber is an excellent source of vitamin K and molybdenum and offers a good source of copper, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, biotin and vitamin B1. Cucumbers also contain the trace mineral silica, which is beneficial in promoting health.
Sad to say, but cucumbers are infamous as being a chemical-laden garden vegetable (they made the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list). Also, many cucumbers (organic and non- organic) are coated in wax in order to lock in moisture.
However, by law, organic cucumbers must be coated with a non-synthetic wax, and they cannot contain any chemicals that have been banned by the US Department of Agricultureís organic labeling laws (yay).
On the flip side, non-organic cucumbers can Ė and do – use synthetic waxes made from undesirable chemicals and the cucumbers likely contain pesticides on the skin (gross).
This salad definitely benefits from having the skins left on the cucumber (and with all that goodness, it would be a shame to peel it off) so you do want synthetic-free, chemical-free veggies to start with.
Whew. The Asian Cucumber Salad is one seriously disease-busting, nutritional side dish!
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (can substitute sea or Himalayan salt)
- 2 large cucumbers (thinly sliced, preferably organic)
- 2 sliced scallions (shallots or green onions)
- 1/4 cup cilantro (or substitute flat-leaf parsley)
- 2 tablespoons sliced pickled ginger or 1 teaspoon of minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 finely chopped red jalapeno
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Always be sure to slice the cucumbers as thin as you can and salt them before adding to the salad so the dressing doesnt get drenched in cucumber juice. Sprinkle your cukes with a good amount of salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse and dry with a paper towel.
- Combine the rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and salt in a bowl and whisk well. Set salad dressing aside.
- Toss thinly sliced cucumbers, scallions, chopped cilantro (or flat leaf parsley), minced ginger, and sesame seeds together with your Asian-infused dressing. Turn up the heat in your salad with finely chopped red jalapeno, if desired.
- Chill and serve.
Did you know that cilantro is the Spanish word for coriander leaves? It is also sometimes called Chinese or Mexican parsley. If you are one of those people who canít stand the taste of cilantro, you arenít alone! Scientists have discovered that people who hate the taste share a group of olfactory-receptor genes that pick up on the smell of aldehyde chemicals. There are good reasons to turn up your nose aldehyde chemicals; itís the chemical compound found in soap!
So for a simple solution, if you or one of your guests is turned off by cilantro, just swap for flat leaf parsley in your recipe.
You can make this salad ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator but the dressing may become watery and should be consumed the same day for best presentation.
Your Asian Cucumber Salad can be served on its own as a light refreshing lunch with your favorite beverage or as an accompaniment to a heavier eastern-inspired meal.
Sit back and enjoy the longer evenings!
Linda Parker is a freelance writer who covers wide-ranging topics from Health and wellness to Fashion to Technology. She is also co-owner of Stone Frying Pans.