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Korean Cucumber “Kimchi” Recipe

I’m always creating vegetable side dishes because I want things that are a fast and easy way to get our vegetable servings for the day.  I made a Korean Chicken Thigh recipe (coming soon!) and wanted something appropriate to go with it.  Kimchi seemed like the obvious choice but I haven’t made any recently and it needs at least a couple days of fermenting time.  So I whipped together these cucumbers as a quick kimchi substitute.

The tang of rice vinegar and spice of red pepper and onion make this a satisfying accompaniment to any Korean dish.  The cucumber is refreshingly crisp thanks to the 30 minutes I let them drain of excess water.  If you’re short on time you can skip that step, they’ll just be a little softer and you’ll have more liquid in the dish.  Cucumber is a great source of Vitamins A, C, K, and Potassium, while red onion is a great source of dietary fiber and is PACKED with Vitamin C.   So whip some up and know you’re eating one healthy side dish!

Cucumber “Kimchee” Recipe

serves 2-4 as a side


1/2 English cucumber
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 TBS chopped red onion
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 TBS rice vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes


Slice your cucumber half in half again, this time vertically so you have to long pieces.  Use a spoon to scoop out the center with the seeds.  Thinly slice the cucumber into crescents.

sprinkle the slices with the kosher salt and mix well in a colander.  Let the colander sit in the sink for 30 minutes to drain.  Rinse the salt off then wrap the cucumber slices in paper towels and squeeze out any water that’s left.

Mix in onion, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey and red pepper flakes.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Approximate cost/serving: At Sam’s Club I get 3 cucumbers for under $3 but we’ll call them $1 each.  That means it’s only about 70 cents to make this side, even if you split it between 2 people as your only side that’s just 35 cents a serving.

Vegetarian/Gluten Free: Yes, no substitutions needed for either!

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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.

9 thoughts on “Korean Cucumber “Kimchi” Recipe”

  1. The English cucumber is usually longer and skinnier than the common ones always in the grocery store. They’re almost always wrapped in plastic, most grocery stores carry both kinds they just usually have fewer of the English variety. I added a cucumber guide to the post!

  2. Beautiful Photos!! This has all my favorite ingredients! Salt, Vinegar, Onions,and Cucumbers. How could it not be wonderful!! It sounds like the perfect accompaniment to the Koren Chicken. Can’t wait for that recipe.

  3. I love those! Next time you’re in an Asian market, check out the giant bags of red chile powder they have. It’s great to have on hand and I put it in everything…not just kimchi! : )

  4. I love this! I love the flavor of Kimchi but like you mentioned, sometimes I don’t want to wait the time it takes for it to ferment. Definitely going to give this a try the next time I’m craving Kimchi and am pressed for time! Thanks so much for sharing your great recipe!


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