Confession: while I enjoy cucumber-infused “spa” water and a well-made raw cucumber soup (if thoroughly pureed), I don’t care to eat raw cucumber slices out-of-hand. Nor do I want to find chunks of cucumber in my salad! There is one exception: this spiralized version of a traditional Vietnamese cucumber salad. Light, refreshing and balanced, with sweet, sour, piquant and herbaceous notes, this cucumber noodle salad pairs well with grilled meats, poultry (like the Vietnamese Herb Grilled Chicken) and fish.
For best results, use a seedless variety of cucumber. I like using the short and stubby Kirby cucumbers (a.k.a. “pickling cucumbers”) with bumpy green skin or English cucumbers, which are long, thin-skinned and usually wrapped in plastic at the supermarket. Thin-skinned, almost seedless Burpless cucumbers are sometimes available at farmer’s markets. Alternatively, you can use Japanese cucumbers—similar-looking to English cucumbers, but with bumpier skin.
2 lbs organic pickling cucumbers, like Kirby cucumbers
OR English cucumbers (a.k.a. “seedless” cucumbers)
1/4 cup coconut vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (strained of pulp)
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 large shallot, finely minced
1/2 serrano, seeds removed, and finely minced (apx. 2 teaspoons)
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Wash cucumbers well and pat dry. Use a wide vegetable peeler to peel cucumber skin in alternating stripes. Trim off ends of each cucumber. Place cucumber lengthwise in a spiralizer. Use the blade with the largest holes to create cucumber noodles.
Place cucumber noodles in a colander. Add 1 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt and mix well. Place colander in a bowl or over a plate. Let stand for 15 minutes. NOTE: If you skip this step, you will have a water-logged cucumber salad. Then, using a large spatula or the palm of your hands, press cucumber noodles against the colander to squeeze out any remaining water. Drain well.
Transfer cucumber noodles to a serving bowl. Add minced shallots and serrano.