Thai Coconut Cucumber Salad

Chilled crunchy summer veggies are tossed with herbs and a spicy, tangy curry coconut dressing. Serve it for a vegan weeknight dinner as a main or side.

I could eat coconut all day in the summertime. Cold, crunchy, spicy salads like this one with a side of coconut iced tea, followed by coconut ice cream for dessert. I ask you, who needs so much dairy when the coconut exists? (Ok, don’t answer that, I know you cheese-lovers are a passionate bunch).

I’m calling this one a “Thai-inspired” dish. Jack and I are talking about taking a trip to Thailand next spring (!)… so until then, I bring you “Thai-ish.”

Coconut milk, lime, and red curry are flavors that I am crazy about… and here they create a delicious and creamy contrast to the crunchy chopped veggies and cashews. Add some cold rice noodles to make this a more filling “meal” salad… or omit the tofu to make it a lighter side dish.

thai coconut cucumber salad

  • ⅓ cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (omit if vegan, add extra soy sauce at the end if necessary, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (use tamari if gluten free)
  • juice from ½ lime (reserve the other ½ lime to squeeze juice on at the end)
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoons sriracha, to taste
  • a few tablespoons of water, if needed, to thin it out
for the salad:
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber
  • ½ cup chopped red pepper
  • ½ cup edamame, cooked
  • ½ cup tofu, cubed, (baked, if you prefer, see method below)
  • ¼ cup scallions, sliced, white and green parts
  • ½ cup basil leaves, chopped (thai basil if you have it, I just had regular basil)
  • 4 or 5 mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup arugula or other salad greens
  • 1 cup rice noodles, cooked (optional)
  • ¼ cup cashews, toasted & chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup toasted coconut flakes (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Add a bit of water if necessary to thin the dressing to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings. Place in the refrigerator while you chop salad ingredients.
  2. Toss all salad ingredients, except for the cashews and coconut flakes, with the dressing. Taste and decide how much or little dressing you like. Adjust for seasonings. Add the cashews and coconut flakes on top at the end so they remain crunchy. Squeeze more lime juice on top (or serve with lime slices on the side) and serve.
optional, bake the tofu:
  1. cut firm tofu into small cubes. Arrange on foil on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Let cool for 15 minutes or so before you toss into a cold salad.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. PJ

    My husband wanted a new salad, not our “usual ones”, so I browsed your blog and decided to make this salad 😉

    My rice noodles were way too long, next time, I must cut them before cooking for easier eating 😀

    And we found that the dressing needs even more zing, so next time I’ll adjust the paste and sauce amount. The coconut milk neutralizes the chilli very well 😀

    I’ll definitely make this again!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.