This Japanese-inspired cucumber ponzu salad is crunchy, creamy, and tangy. Made with just 6 ingredients for an easy, healthy side dish!
What is Ponzu ポン酢?
Ponzu is a citrus-based sauce common in Japanese cooking. It originally referred to just citrus juice (from fruits like yuzu, sudachi, daidai/bitter orange, lemon, and lime) or citrus juice mixed with vinegar. However, these days ponzu shoyu ポン酢醤油 (ponzu mixed with soy sauce) is most commonly used and is what most people mean when they say ponzu. Ponzu shoyu is made with citrus juice, soy sauce, mirin or sugar, and dashi. This ponzu is very flavorful on its own so can be used as a dressing like in this recipe, or as a dipping sauce for things like shabu shabu and gyoza.
Cucumber Ponzu Salad FAQ
Can I substitute ponzu?
If you don’t have ponzu, use this as a quick substitute: 2 tsp soy sauce + 2 tsp rice vinegar + 1.5 tsp mirin + 1 tsp lemon juice. Because there’s alcohol in mirin, I recommend microwaving the sauce or simmering on the stove to remove the strong alcohol flavor.
Tips for Success
Use long and thin cucumbers ⟶ Japanese, Persian, or English/hot house cucumbers all work. Don’t use American cucumbers which are usually fatter with thick skins and more seeds.
Use my 2-ingredient pickled onions ⟶ Onions add a nice bite to the salad, but plain raw onions will be too strong. I love adding my pickled onions (they’re super easy to make and great for adding to other salads, sandwiches, wraps, etc.). But if you didn’t have time to make them, you can use raw onions but soak them in cold water with a little bit of salt first. This will help remove some of the astringency.
More Easy Japanese Sides!
- Broccoli Goma-ae | ブロッコリーの胡麻和え
- Green Bean Goma-ae | インゲン豆の胡麻和え
- Tataki Kyuri (Japanese Smashed Cucumbers) | たたききゅうり
- Kinpira Gobo (Braised Burdock Root) | きんぴらごぼう
- Tofu and Green Onion Salad
If you try out this cucumber ponzu salad, don’t forget to leave a comment/rating down below and tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking. I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
Easy Cucumber Ponzu Salad
- In a large mixing bowl, add avocado, cucumber, tomato, and pickled onions.
- Drizzle ponzu and sesame oil over and toss well to combine. Taste and add salt if desired.
- If using, garnish with nori right before serving.
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