If you've never tried Sunomono, also known as Japanese Cucumber Salad, you're in for a treat. It’s a refreshing low carb salad packed with bright, delicious flavor.
If you’ve ever been to Japanese restaurants, there’s a good chance you were served sunomono before your main course.
This Japanese cucumber salad is a delicious side dish packed with bright, fresh flavors. It’s also a great way to use up extra cucumbers!
Traditionally, the dressing can be prepared several ways. Some use an amazu sweet and sour sauce made with rice vinegar and sugar. Other times, a soy-based ponzu sauce with citrus is used.
But my favorite version is made from vinegar, sweetener, and soy sauce. This easy, tangy dressing has a touch of sweetness that makes sunomono a refreshing light salad to enjoy any time of year.
And by replacing the sugar used in traditional versions with a low carb sweetener instead, it’s easy to make this sunomono recipe low carb and keto friendly!
How to make Sunomono Salad
The Japanese salad is a very simple recipe to prepare. First you prep the cucumbers. Then you make the dressing for the salad.
- Peel cucumbers then cut in half lengthwise. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to cut thin strips of the skin. But leave some skin on so some green color remains. For best results, use slender Japanese cucumbers or similar ones instead of regular cucumbers.
- Remove seeds and slice. Scoop out any large seeds and discard. Slice the cucumbers crosswise into very thin slices. A mandolin slicer will make slicing much easier.
- Place slices in bowl and sprinkle with salt. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes until softened.
- Drain the slices and squeeze out excess water. This can be done using a paper towel or kitchen towel.
- Combine the dressing ingredients. In a small bowl, combine rice wine vinegar, low carb sweetener, salt, ginger, and soy sauce. If desired, you can use a little sesame oil too.
- Add the cucumber and mix well. Stir in the slices until they are coated with the dressing.
- Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Your dish is now ready to enjoy! For a nice presentation, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve it with keto sushi or miso soup. It's the perfect starter for a Japanese meal like a miso salmon dinner.
Storing the salad
If you have leftover cucumber sunomono, you can easily store it. Simply place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The vinegar helps preserve the cucumbers and keep them fresh. Your sunomono should last for up to a week just like my zucchini noodle salad.
If you want to change up the salad to make it more of a light meal, simply add in some protein. Traditionally, crab or octopus (tako) is mixed into the Japanese cucumber salad. This makes it a wonderful light meal that's perfect for summer or as a lunch any time of year.
It's not easy to get octopus in my area so I like to add fish or lobster meat. Some people add imitation crab meat, but that's not a good choice for low carb because there's starch added. A better option is to use meat from large Alaskan king crabs.
Other recipes to try
Cucumbers are a wonderful, versatile ingredient that you can use in all kinds of recipes beyond low carb salads. Check out a few of these favorites:
- Keto Salsa packs in all the flavor of traditional salsa with about half the carbs!
- Apple Cider Vinegar Cucumber Salad is another easy, fresh salad idea that combines cucumbers and vinegar.
- Cucumber Chips are a great replacement for traditional chips. They’re super low in both calories and carbs!
- Mint Cucumber Water is a cool, refreshing drink with no added sugar or sweeteners.
- Creamy Dill Cucumber Salad made with a sour cream and vinegar dressing is a refreshing salad that’s perfect on a hot day!
- Keto Sub Sandwich is made with all of your favorite filling but doesn't use bread!
- Cucumbers and Tomatoes in Vinegar is a light and refreshing salad perfect for summer picnics and potlucks.
Sunomono Japanese Cucumber Salad
- 2 large cucumbers peeled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup rice vinegar
- 2 stevia packets
- ¾ teaspoon ginger or 1 ½ teaspoon fresh grated
- ¼ teaspoon soy sauce
- sesame seeds optional
- Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and scoop out any large seeds. Slice crosswise into very thin slices. Place cucumber slices in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, or until cucumbers are softened. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid.
- In a small bowl combine vinegar, sugar, salt, ginger, and soy sauce. Add cucumbers and mix until cucumbers are coated with the mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of each serving as garnish if desired.
Array ( [calories] => 14 [carbohydrates] => 3 [protein] => 1 [sodium] => 797 [potassium] => 36 [vitamin_a] => 50 [calcium] => 10 [iron] => 0.2 [serving_unit] => 1.5 cups )
Notes on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
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First Published: August 3, 2010... Last Updated: June 4, 2020