Because English cucumbers tend to be grown in hot houses, they are available all year-round, and are great for adding crunch to winter salads. They’re the star in this recipe, which is about as simple as they come—and one of my favorites. In just 15 minutes, the vinegar and salt pickle and crisp the cukes by drawing out the water. After that, they get tossed with Thai sweet chili sauce, some roasted peanuts, bell pepper and scallions. An easy side to serve with brown rice and steamed vegetable dumplings.

Sweet Chili Cucumbers

Thai sweet chili sauce, made with red chile peppers, rice wine vinegar, garlic and fish sauce, and sweetened with fruit or sugar, is a great condiment/sauce to keep on hand. It’s available in the Asian section of most grocery stores.

Serves 2 to 4 

  • 1 english cucumber, peeled in ½ inch intermittent strips and diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup each small dice of red, yellow, orange sweet bell pepper
  • ½ cup thin sliced scallions, green part only

Place sliced cucumbers in a bowl. Whisk together vinegar, sugar and salt, pour on top of diced cucumbers, and mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes carefully pour off liquid. Add chili sauce, peanuts, diced peppers, and scallions. Toss well to evenly coat cucumbers.