Asian Pineapple Cucumber Salad
Enjoy a perfect summer salad with this easy-to-make Asian Pineapple Cucumber Salad recipe. Packed with flavor and a delightful crunchy texture, this refreshing salad is an ideal side dish that pairs seamlessly with many main courses.
Pineapple is a delightful sweet fruit that you can enjoy on its own, but transforming it into a scrumptious salad takes things to another level. I had a beautiful golden pineapple at hand, so I tossed it with crunchy cucumber and drizzled it with an umami-rich fish sauce dressing.
The result? A vibrant, colorful, refreshing Asian-flavored salad that’s good enough to steal the spotlight at any potluck in the summertime. It’s not just a side dish; it’s the perfect companion to any main course. It’s easy, quick, and so flavorful!
If you’re looking for another savory dish made with pineapple, try my Pineapple Fried Rice recipe. This Thai-inspired cuisine is a perfect use for fresh pineapples and is very easy to put together.
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Pairing Pineapple and Cucumber
Pineapple and cucumber may not be the first pair that comes to mind, but they are indeed a great match. The sweetness of the pineapple complements the crispness of the cucumber, creating a refreshing and delightful taste combination.
Adding Asian Flavor to Fruit Salad
Who said fruit salads have to be sweet? By infusing classic Asian ingredients like fish sauce and dried shrimp, this dish bursts with a savory umami flavor that sets it apart from traditional salads.
The fusion of these flavors creates a rich and multi-layered taste experience that is common in southeast Asian cuisine.
Recipe Tips and Advice for Perfect Pineapple Cucumber Salad
Pick well-ripen pineapple:
- Taste: A ripe pineapple has a sweetness that provides a delectable counterpoint to the savory elements in this salad.
- An unripe pineapple may be tart and lack the desired flavor profile.
- Texture: Ripe pineapples are tender and juicy, offering a pleasing contrast to the crunch of the cucumbers.
- An unripe pineapple might be tough and fibrous, detracting from the overall enjoyment of the salad.
- How to Pick a Ripe Pineapple: Look for a pineapple with a golden-yellow color, especially at the base. Gently press the skin; it should give slightly but not feel mushy. A sweet, fragrant smell at the base is another good sign of ripeness.
- Avoid pineapples with dark spots, dry-looking leaves, or a sour or fermented smell.
Cutting a pineapple can be a bit tricky, but often, peeling pineapple is half the fun. Taking your time to remove the skin and core will pay off in the delectable taste of your salad. You can even save the core to infuse water or make juice, so nothing goes to waste.
You can purchase pre-skinned pineapple at the store if you don’t want to deal with it, but often, peeling pineapple is half the fun.
Salting the cucumbers:
Tossing the cucumber slices with a little bit of salt helps to extract some moisture, ensuring that they retain their crispness and become even more crunchy. This technique not only enhances the texture but also prevents the salad from becoming too watery from the natural liquids found in fresh cucumbers
Recipe Ingredients: What You’ll Need
These ingredients work in harmony to create a bright and flavorful salad, adding a punch of flavor that elevates the entire dish.
- Pineapple: Use a well-ripened, fresh pineapple that is cleaned and thinly sliced.
- Cucumber: English cucumber or a similar kind works best.
- Dried Shrimp: This is an optional ingredient, but adding a small amount deepens the umami flavor of the dish in a way that you can’t quite detect as shrimp.
- You can obviously omit it if you prefer not to use it.
- Fish Sauce: This doesn’t just season the salad; it adds an authentic Asian taste profile.
- Lime Juice: This makes the salad more refreshing and helps balance the sweetness.
- Brown Sugar: Adjust the amount as needed. If your pineapple is very sweet, you might not even need it.
- If you have palm sugar, it’s even better, and you can use that instead.
- Red Chili and Shallot: These ingredients add a savory touch and gentle heat to the dish. If you prefer less heat, be sure to remove the seeds from the chili.
- Should shallots be unavailable, you can replace them with red onion.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs like cilantro and mint accentuate the flavors of pineapple and cucumber, tying them together beautifully in the salad.
How to make Asian Pineapple Cucumber Salad
Prepare the Cucumber:
- Thinly slice the cucumber and place it in a bowl. Add salt, toss together, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to draw out some moisture.
- Rinse the cucumber and gently squeeze out the extra moisture.
Optional dried shrimp:
- This ingredient is optional, but if you want to add an umami kick to the salad, including dried shrimp is a good idea.
- Finely chop them with a knife or use a grinder to prepare them for the dish.
Assemble the Salad:
- In a large salad bowl, combine the pineapple, cucumber, shallot, chili, herbs, fish sauce, and lime juice. Toss everything together until well combined.
- Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour.
Dishes to Go with Pineapple Cucumber Salad
The following dishes will pair beautifully with this Asian-style salad:
- Authentic Filipino Chicken Adobo
- Vietnamese Chicken Curry Soup (Ca Ri Ga)
- Crispy Thai Crab Cakes
- Best Homemade BBQ Pork Ribs
- Peri Peri Chicken (Spicy Portuguese Chicken)
Asian Pineapple Cucumber Salad
- 1 small pineapple, cleaned and thinly sliced, about 4 cups
- 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-2 medium shallot, thinly sliced (See note below)
- 2 oz (50g) dried shrimp, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 tbsp), optional
- 1 fresh red chili, seeded and minced
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 – 1 tbsp brown sugar, or palm sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped, optional
- Thinly slice the cucumber and place it in a bowl. Add salt, toss together, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to draw out some moisture. Rinse the cucumber and gently squeeze out the extra moisture.
- In a large salad bowl, combine the pineapple, cucumber, shallot, dried shrimp (if using), chili, fish sauce, lime juice, and herbs. Toss everything together until well combined. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour.
- If shallots are not available, you can substitute them with red or white onion, using about 1/4 of a medium-sized onion.