Chinese Smashed Cucumber Chicken Salad

For a vegan version, substitute 1 block cubed tofu for the chicken.

Two poached chicken breasts will make enough for this recipe. See: How to Poach Chicken Breasts.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Resting time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


For the salad:

  • 2 large English cucumbers or other thin skinned cucumbers, such as Persian or Japanese (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) shredded cooked chicken, cold from the fridge
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, to serve
  • Cilantro leaves, to serve (optional)
  • Dried red chili flakes, to serve (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


1 Smash the cucumbers: Wash cucumbers well and pat dry. Use the flat edge of a large knife or cleaver to smash the cucumbers in several places along their length. The cucumbers should split into several strips.

Use your hands to break the cucumbers into bite-sized pieces.

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Chicken Smashed Cucumber Salad with Chicken

2 Salt and drain the cucumbers: Transfer the cucumber pieces to a colander and place the colander inside a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and toss gently so all the pieces are salted evenly.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes. As they sit, the salt will draw moisture from the cucumbers, which will collect in the bottom of the bowl.

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Chicken

3 Make the dressing: Whisk together rice vinegar, soy, honey, ginger, minced garlic, and cilantro. Chill in the fridge while cucumbers are draining.

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Chicken

4 Assemble the salad: Transfer the cucumbers to a serving bowl. Add the shredded chicken and dressing. Toss to combine and dress the salad. Taste and add an extra splash of vinegar or soy sauce if needed.

Divide between serving plates and top with sesame seeds, dried chili, and more cilantro. Serve immediately. (Leftovers do not keep well.)


Smashed Cucumber Salad with Chicken Smashed Cucumber Salad with Chicken Smashed Cucumber Salad with Chicken

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • Greg

    It was so good! I cooked some spaghetti, rinsed it well with cold water, drained it well, and tossed with a few drops sesame oil and chilled in the fridge with everything else. Then tossed it all together for a cold noodle chicken cucumber salad. Really good and hearty for us guys!


  • Divina

    Dish super easy and practical for those who arrive tired of the service, hungry, the cucumber-chicken mixture is unusual for me but seems to work well and get very tasty, I loved the tip.

  • Jeanine Murray

    Just forgot to add ‘garlic’ in step three, it just says ‘minced’… Making this for lunch, looks amazing! Love your blog. It’s my go-to for great recipes! Thanks.