This easy Korean cucumber salad recipe is crunchy, spicy, and refreshing, and it’s also paleo, keto, and vegan friendly! Called “oi muchim” in Korean, you’ll love how quickly it comes together.
This Korean cucumber banchan (banchan means side dish) has always been a part of my life growing up. It’s very common in many Korean households and typically eaten with a bowl of rice and a main dish. Every household has its own oi muchim recipe with various amount of spices and ingredients added to each. Oi means cucumber and muchim means mixed with seasoning or dressing. If you are a bit intimidated by Korean cooking, this is one of my favorite quick and easy vegan Korean recipes that also happens to be paleo, Whole30, and keto.
Korean Cucumber Salad Recipe
I love that you can make this Korean cucumber banchan in just 30 minutes. Leftovers also keep well in the fridge, so I like to make a double batch to eat throughout the week. The flavors are spicy, crunchy, refreshing, with a bit of sweetness, and it’s just so wonderful served with rice and a meat dish. I think you’ll really enjoy my healthy version of oi muchim recipe!
Ingredients for Oi Muchim Recipe
If you don’t count salt, you just need 6 main ingredients for this Korean cucumber salad recipe:
- cucumbers: You’ll need 1 lb of crunchy cucumbers sliced thinly.
- garlic: This is NOT one of those recipes where you can triple the amount of garlic stated. Just 1 clove will add a powerful punch of flavor.
- gochugaru: This is Korean chili flakes, used commonly in Korean cooking. You can find them at a local Asian market or online.
- rice vinegar: You can also use apple cider vinegar if you don’t have this on hand.
- coconut aminos: A soy-free alternative to soy sauce, coconut aminos gives a very similar flavor with a slight natural sweetness added in.
- sesame seeds: Use toasted sesame for the best flavor.
Another optional ingredient is coconut sugar, since some recipes add a bit of sweetener to their oi muchim. It’ll give a nice balance of flavors, but omit if you are in the middle of the Whole30 challenge.
How to Make Korean Cucumber Salad
Once you have all the ingredients, here’s how to make Korean cucumber salad:
- Slice the cucumbers thinly to about 1/8 inch thickness. Use a mandolin slicer for consistent sizing.
- Add the cucumbers to a bowl and toss with salt. Let this sit for 20 minutes so the cucumbers can sweat.
- Pour out any liquid released from the cucumbers.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, then toss well to coat.
- Taste to adjust seasoning to how you like it, then serve.
What Kind of Cucumbers Work Best?
The crunchier the better, for this paleo Korean cucumber salad. I like to use Kirby or pickling cucumbers since they still hold their crunch even after getting salted. If you have other types of cucumbers, they’ll still work but know that they may lose their crunch.
Is There a Substitute for Gochugaru?
Unfortunately, the flavor just isn’t the same without gochugaru. The good news is that they aren’t too hard to find at a local Asian grocery store these day or even online. However, if you don’t have it on hand, you can just omit it completely from this recipe. It won’t have the same Korean flavors, but it’ll still turn into a nice and refreshing cucumber salad.
What Other Paleo Korean Food Can I Serve It With?
For more paleo Korean food and even keto Korean recipes, check out my cookbook, Korean Paleo. It’s packed with 80 authentic dishes that are free of gluten, soy, and grains. There’s even a cucumber kimchi that’s fantastic, and you’ll love it if you enjoyed this Korean cucumber banchan. In it, you’ll also find many main dishes and sides that go with this oi muchim recipe really well. There are even lots of easy vegan Korean recipes to choose from.
How Do I Store the Leftovers of Korean Cucumber Salad?
To save the leftovers, place the oi muchim in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Do not freeze this salad, since the cucumbers will get once once defrosted.
For more paleo or keto Korean recipes, check out…
- Kkakdugi – Korean Radish Kimchi (Paleo, Whole30, Keto, Vegan Option)
- Essential Ingredients for Korean Paleo Cooking
- Korean-Style Scallion & Potato Pancakes
- Creamy Cucumber Radish Salad (Paleo, Whole30, Keto)
- Paleo & Whole30 Korean Steak Bites – Stovetop or Air Fryer (AIP Option)
Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim Recipe)
- Slice the cucumbers so they are about 1/8 inch thick. I like to use a mandolin slicer for consistency. Place the slices in a bowl.
- Add salt to the cucumber slices, then toss to coat. Let this sit for 20 minutes so the cucumbers can sweat.
- Drain any liquid released by tilting the bowl over the sink. Don't squeeze the cucumbers.
- Add garlic, green onion, gochugaru, rice vinegar, coconut aminos, and sesame seeds, then toss well to combine.
- Taste to adjust seasoning: add more gochugaru for spice, vinegar for tanginess, and/or coconut sugar for a bit of sweetness.
- Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.
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