Japanese-Style Cucumber Salad

This Japanese-style cucumber salad, called sunomono, is one of the simplest summer salads. All it takes is cucumbers, vinegar, oil, ginger, and lemongrass to start the conversation.

A tangle of Japanese cucumber salad, made with cucumbers, mint, cilantro, and an rice vinegar dressing.

Simple. Surprising. Spunky. Just what we look for in a summer salad. Just what we found in this jumble of cucumbers, vinegar, and ginger. (Despite the title that Jamie Oliver confers on it, it’s not exactly the most traditional of Japanese recipes. But we’re certainly not holding that against it.) Originally published August 18th, 2010.Renee Schettler Rossi

LC A Seedy Situation Note

You know better than anyone else your tolerance for cucumber seeds. We rather like the slippery, watery little guys. But if you don’t, consider it as you select and slice your cucumbers, opting instead for a hothouse cucumber—the pricy, plastic-wrapped ones with nary a seed—or simply stop slicing the kirby or regular cukes as soon as you get to the seedy part. So simple.

Japanese-Style Cucumber Salad

  • Quick Glance
  • (5)
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 5 reviews
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  • For the ginger dressing
  • For the cucumber salad


Make the ginger dressing

Mix everything together in a bowl. Taste and adjust the ingredients accordingly. (You can cover and refrigerate for up to several hours before the ginger flavor will become really quite pronounced.)

Make the cucumber salad

Thinly slice the cucumber(s) lengthwise, either with a mandoline, a handheld slicer, or one of those cheap old potato peelers. Basically you want to get very thin ribbons of cucumber.

Place the ribbons on a plate or platter and spread them out. (You can cover and refrigerate for up to several hours.) Sprinkle with some ripped up fresh mint and cilantro and drizzle generously with the ginger dressing.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This simple salad was incredibly refreshing on a hot, New England evening. I clipped fresh mint from the garden. That, combined with the lemongrass, ginger, and cilantro, made the farmers’ market cucumbers really shine. I loved the thin ribbons, which absorbed lots of the flavorful dressing. A little awkward to eat, but it tasted so good that we didn’t care.

Yum. This is truly a refreshing salad in both taste and presentation. The salad dressing with the freshly grated ginger and lemongrass was a major hit with both my husband and I. In fact, we practically slurped our salad bowls when we were done!

The kick of the ginger and brightness of the lemongrass really added a lot of character. Though the lemongrass is optional, it’s highly recommended. I added probably about 1 tablespoon soy sauce rather than the few drops called for as a few drops didn’t cut it for me.

The long ribbons were gorgeous and the mint and cilantro so pretty and fresh. The addition of a minced red Thai (or other) chile would add a bit of pop in color and flavor—not that it was needed at all. We’re in fact making this again this weekend for guests.


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  1. Complex, refreshing, and delicious. Would you expect any less from a cucumber salad by Jamie Oliver? The ginger dressing is tangy, zesty, spicy, and the perfect complement to crisp cucumbers. Just make sure you allow it to sit in the fridge for a few hours, as prescribed, so the ginger and lemongrass can infuse the oil. Otherwise, the olive oil flavor may be a little too pronounced.

    I had this as a side to Asian-style ceviche, which made for an all-around refreshing meal on a hot summer day. But it’ll work alongside many hot or cold dishes, whether you’re trying to cool down or heat up your tongue.

  2. I have to admit that I love Jamie’s recipes! They are easy to follow and this salad is another simple recipe, very fresh and nice to have during the hot summer. It’s already copied to our “Family Cookbook” next to our favorite Jamie’s fast Pizza… A word about cucumbers: It’s important to find tasty cucumbers for any salad, but especially for this one, because they are the heart of the dish. If you have a Farmer’s Market near you, try to look for small cucumbers with a nice earthy smell. I won’t suggest using the long cucumber which has no taste and is not nice when cut to ribbons. It takes seconds to slice small cucumbers with a basic Mandolin. You can prepare the dressing few hours earlier and mix the salad only before serving; we had it about15 minutes later. Since getting the recipe, we had few times already… First – for diner with grilled Salmon – It was delicious and nice on the plate, than we had it again with Rice Rolls filled with Tuna Salad or with Grilled Chicken Breasts on a family Brunch.

  3. I loved this salad, it was so cool and refreshing on a hot summer night. I used a japanese cucumber from the garden and sliced it in my food processor. It was not as pretty as the long ribbons of cucumber in the photo, but it was very fast!

  4. OH…MY!!! I think I have all these ingredients in my house. It looks so very refreshing, and I think I’ll have this for a side with dinner tonight!

  5. Delicious, fresh, simple…This cucumber salad was a delight. It wasn’t salty enough for me, but we loved it, Great dish 🙂

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