This Chinese-inspired smashed cucumber and carrot salad is a refreshing summertime Whole30 recipe. This simple side dish pairs perfectly with grilled meats!

A close up of the paleo and whole30 smashed cucumber and carrot salad recipe in a bowl.

A quick and easy Whole30 cucumber salad

Then it’s your lucky day, ’cause I’ve got an Asian-inspired smashed cucumber and carrot salad for you. It’s a simple and refreshing side that pairs perfectly with just about anything—especially proteins cooked on the grill. If you’ve got a jar of my All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce in the fridge, you have to make this dish. As I’ve said a million times before, this versatile sauce recipe from our newest cookbook, Ready or Not!, is a game changer because it can be used for so many other dishes besides stir-fries.

Case in point: Smashed Cucumber and Carrot Salad!

A collage of the cooking steps to make paleo and whole30 smashed cucumber and carrot salad!

A paleo spin on a classic Sichuan cucumber salad

Chilled smashed cucumber salad seasoned with nutty sesame oil, garlic, and tangy vinegar is a classic Sichuan veggie side dish that’s served as a cooling contrast to the region’s traditionally spicy cuisine. Why smash the cucumbers? Gently bashing ’em with a cleaver helps expel some of the extra liquid during the initial salting process; plus, the jagged bits cling to more of the dressing when the salad is served. Smart, right?

An overhead shot of paleo and whole30 smashed cucumber and carrot salad.

Still, this wouldn’t be a Nom Nom Paleo dish without a shortcut involved! My version doesn’t call for a complicated dressing—instead, we just amp up my All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce with additional toasted sesame oil, fresh garlic, and a smidge of red pepper flakes, and use that as the dressing. And don’t sweat it if you don’t have time to add the extra stuff; plain old All-Purpose Stir-Sauce will still taste fantastic on it. You can even make this salad into a well-rounded meal by adding some protein and fat, like shredded cooked chicken and diced avocado!

Ingredients

How to make smashed cucumber and carrot salad

Place the cucumbers on a large cutting board and gently smash them with a meat pounder, cleaver, or small cast iron skillet until they split open.

Smashing salt covered cucumbers.

Trim the ends and cut the bashed cucumbers into bite-size pieces.

Chopping salt covered and smashed cucumbers into one inch pieces.

Grab a fine-mesh strainer or a colander that fits in a medium bowl.

Placing a colander or fine meshed strainer inside a metal bowl.

Transfer the cucumber pieces to the colander and toss with kosher salt. Place the strainer and bowl with the salted cucumber in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients. (I’ve salted the cucumbers for as short as 5 minutes and as long as 4 hours.)

Putting the chopped cucumbers into the colander or mesh strainer and pour more salt over the top.

Got some All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce in the fridge? Great—use it! (And if not, it just takes a few minutes to shake a jar together, so do it already!) Then, in a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce, minced garlic, sesame oil, and crushed red chile pepper.

Pouring all-purpose stir fry sauce and smashed garlic into a measuring cup to make the paleo and whole30 dressing.

Grab the drained cucumbers out of the fridge…

Take the cucumbers in the colander or fine mesh strainer out of the metal bowl.

…and plop them to a bowl with the carrot noodles and most of the green onions.

Pour the cucumbers, ribboned carrots, and sliced scallions into a metal bowl.

Add the dressing…

Pour the all-purpose stir-fry dressing into the bowl with the cucumbers, ribboned carrots, and sliced scallions.

…and toss well.

Someone tossing the ingredients for paleo and whole30 smashed cucumber and carrot salad

Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the remaining green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Transferring the paleo and whole30 smashed cucumber and carrot salad into a bowl and topping with sesame seeds.

Serve immediately!

Close up of the paleo and whole30 smashed cucumber and carrot salad in a bowl.

Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).


PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

Smashed Cucumber and Carrot Salad

4.34 from 24 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
This Chinese-inspired smashed cucumber and carrot salad is a refreshing summertime Whole30 recipe. This simple side dish pairs perfectly with grilled meats!

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound seedless cucumbers rinsed and dried (I prefer Japanese or Persian, but English cucumbers will work, too)
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 2 medium carrots peeled into noodles with a vegetable peeler
  • ¼ cup All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Instructions 

  • Place the cucumbers on a large cutting board and gently smash them with a meat pounder, cleaver, or small cast iron skillet until they split open. Trim the ends and cut the bashed cucumbers into bite-size pieces.
  • Grab a fine-mesh strainer or a colander that fits in a medium bowl. Transfer the cucumber pieces to the colander and toss with kosher salt. Place the strainer and bowl with the salted cucumber in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients. (I’ve salted the cucumbers for as short as 5 minutes and as long as 4 hours.)
  • Got some All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce in the fridge? Great—use it! (And if not, it just takes a few minutes to shake a jar together, so do it already!) Then, in a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce, minced garlic, sesame oil, and crushed red chile pepper.
  • Grab the drained cucumbers out of the fridge, and plop them to a bowl with the carrot noodles and most of the green onions.
  • Add the dressing and toss well. Serve immediately!

Video

Notes

You can even make this salad into a well-rounded meal by adding some protein and fat, like shredded cooked chicken and diced avocado!

Nutrition

Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Fiber: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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