Recipe: Saucy Chili-Garlic Cucumber Noodles

Cucumber salad has always been a beloved summer classic. It’s pretty much the definition of a simple side — great for lunch in weekly meal plans or as a crowd-pleasing addition to weekend potlucks. But there is something truly amazing that happens when you get out your spiralizer.

Rather than thin slices or half-moons, the spiralizer transforms cucumbers into curly noodles that, when tossed with a spicy garlic dressing with pops of fresh ginger and nutty sesame, become a salad you’ll want to eat on repeat all summer long. It’s equal parts spicy and refreshing, and pairs perfectly with just about anything you’re cooking up.

The Best Cucumbers for Spiralized Cucumber Salad

When it comes to spiralizing, some cucumber varieties work better than others. English cucumber our top pick for the job because they’re extra large and nearly seedless. You can find this variety at practically any grocery store. Since these cucumbers can be quite long, it’s helpful to cut them in half before spiralizing (or shaving, if you’re using a vegetable peeler — more on this below!). I also recommend cutting the noodles into short pieces with kitchen shears before tossing them with the dressing, which will make for easier eating.

How to Make This Salad Without a Spiralizer

If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a julienne peeler or a basic vegetable peeler to shave the cucumbers into ribbons.

Saucy Chili-Garlic Cucumber Noodles

Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish

Prep time: 5 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted (Asian) sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce or sambal oelek
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds English cucumbers (2 medium)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Place the vinegar, sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Trim the ends from the cucumbers, then cut in half crosswise. Using a spiralizer with the thinnest “noodle” attachment, spiralize the cucumber into long, thin strands. Use kitchen shears to cut the cucumber noodles in half, if desired.

Add the noodles to the bowl with the dressing and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve immediately.