Make Ahead

Cucumber and Fennel Salad with a Chinese Vinaigrette

June 10, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

My business colleague came home from a recent trip to China, and told me the only fresh vegetables she had were cucumbers prepared in a vinaigrette that she guessed had rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and some spicy heat. I was intrigued by her recipe because i thought that raw fennel would be an interesting addition to the dish. This salad is refreshing as a side, and is easily portable. —Bevi

Test Kitchen Notes

This was awesome. Super easy and very tasty. I thought fennel and sesame might be a bit weird, but I'm into it now. I didn't do anything different and it would totally be fine with an English cuke if you didn't want to find the Persians. The weight of the fennel was 220g and the total cukes was 330g. —Stephanie Bourgeois

What You'll Need
  • For the salad
  • 4 small Persian cucumbers, very thinly sliced by hand or with a mandolin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered, and then sliced very thinly with a mandolin
  • 1 tablespoon fennel fronds, chopped
  • For the vinaigrette
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  1. Place the sliced cucumbers in a sieve and salt them. Allow them to sit and drain for an hour. Pat dry.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a small pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the red pepper flakes. Stir for about a minute, and remove from the heat.
  3. Stir together the rice vinegar and the sugar, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the sesame oil. Blend thoroughly
  4. Place the cucumbers and fennel in a bowl. Add the vinaigrette and stir well. Place in the refrigerator and chill, stirring often.
  5. Serve as a side and enjoy.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Änneken
  • aargersi
  • lapadia
  • Bevi
  • boulangere

Recipe by: Bevi

Cooking is an important part of my past. I grew up and worked on our family resort. These days, I cook good food to please my friends and family.

8 Reviews

Änneken July 13, 2022
I love fennel and cucumber but this salad didn't wow me at all. It's not terrible and I had all of it over the course of a few days but I won't make it again. It's just not exciting.
Bevi July 13, 2022
Not exciting to you.
boulangere July 13, 2022
Excited to add to next week’s menus. Glad it surfaced.
aargersi April 16, 2013
Love salads like this! I will try it soon!!
Bevi April 16, 2013
lapadia March 23, 2013
So refreshing, the rice vinegar vinaigrette is wonderful, I have everything but the cucumber, will get back to you when I try it!
Bevi March 23, 2013
Your slaw is the culinary cousin of this!
lapadia March 23, 2013
I recognized hints of it in the vinaigrette :)