Cucumber and Wakame Salad

Cucumber and Wakame Salad

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
39 Calories
0g Fat
9g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 39
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 415mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 29mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 66mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sunomono is usually a light, vinegared salad made with cucumbers. This is a sunomono made with wakame, or seaweed, and cucumber. It is served as part of Japanese meals and is especially good with seafood. The combination of cucumber and wakame is one of the most popular types of Sunomono. You too can make this simple and tasty dish at home.

If you have a mandolin or vegetable slicer, it’s a breeze to make this. But even if not, you can still slice cucumbers the old way, with a knife. 

Sunomono can also refer to vinegared salads made with other raw vegetables (i.e., turnips, daikon, radishes, celery, cabbage) and sometimes seafood as well. “Su” is the Japanese word for vinegar.

The vinegar of choice is rice vinegar. Fermented from rice, rice vinegar plays an essential role in Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cuisines. Less acidic than most Western vinegar, rice vinegar has a mild and slightly sweet flavor. Seasoned rice vinegar is often referred to as “sushi vinegar” as it includes sugar and salt, the three ingredients used to flavor rice for sushi. 

When preparing sunomono, the key is to first remove any excess moisture from whichever vegetables you use.

  • Slice the vegetables
  • Sprinkle with salt and mix together.
  • Let sit over a strainer for about 10 minutes to begin drawing out the moisture.
  • Use your hands to squeeze out additional moisture.
  • Gently mix with the dressing and other salad ingredients.

Japanese cuisine has embraced edible sea vegetables, particularly nutrient-rich seaweed, for centuries because they contain the widest variety of minerals of any vegetable group. With its subtly sweet flavor and silky-smooth texture, wakame stands out as a favorite. It is most often incorporated into soups, such as Miso soup and salads such as this recipe for sunomono. Wakame most often comes dried and in need of rehydrating before using. Dried wakame can be purchased “ready-to-use” or in larger pieces in need of trimming.


  • 1 small cucumber, sliced into thin rounds

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 ounces rehydrated and softened wakame seaweed, cut into about 2-inch lengths

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cucumber and Wakame Salad ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Put cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 5 minutes.

    Cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with salt

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Squeeze cucumber slices to remove liquid.

    cucumber slices in a colander

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Mix vinegar and sugar in a separate bowl.

    vinegar and sugar in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Add cucumber and wakame to bowl and mix well.

    Cucumber and Wakame Salad in a mixing bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variation

  • You should also consider wakame kyuri su—a simple, delicious salad of wakame seaweed and fresh cucumbers with a delicate sesame dressing. The ingredients are simple—cucumbers, dried wakame seaweed, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, sesame oil, sea salt and a little bit of honey or maple syrup.