Lemongrass Cucumber Salad with Chicken

I was in Japan last week with my family and we were there for 7 days exploring. The trip was amazing, but the food was definitely a challenge. We didn't eat a lot of salad in Japan. Not that we didn't want to, there just was not really any salad to be found. Here in Los Angeles we have giant gorgeous salads on every corner. There was a lot of pastries, soup, noodles, and of course fish and rice, but literally I think I only saw one salad and it was at Disneyland Tokyo. It was terrible looking by the way and it came in a plastic cup with a crouton. Gag. So needless to say that when we got back home last week I was on this super healthy kick to eat only vegetables. It lasted like three entire days and then I needed chocolate again obviously. Anyhoe, Hahahahaha that typo was too good not to leave. Anyhow, I went to the book store (I know weird) to get a couple books (I got #GirlBoss which is amazing FYI and Heidi Swanson's book 'Near and Far'. The book is seriously stunning. Each page is perfectly written with a beautiful rustic, half eaten dish of whatever she made. I just wanted to sit down and eat the entire damn book in the store. Hardcover and all. Heidi (I say her name like I know her) gathered recipes from her travels around the world and wrote them all in this cookbook. I added chicken to my recipe because I was hugaryyyyyy, but if you want to keep it meat free you can add tofu like she suggests. Alrighty, I have said enough. I added a couple slight changes based on local ingredients etc. Xx


Lemongrass Cucumber Salad with Chicken


1 1/2 large English cucumbers, thinly sliced

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup chopped cilantro OR kale

12 oz extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes OR grilled chicken breast, chopped into cubes

3 stalks lemongrass, tender center only, minced

1/4 cup brown rice vinegar

1/4 cup (60ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to serve

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1 lime, cut into wedges


1. Place the cucumbers, onion, cilantro (or Kale) and chicken (or tofu) in a large mixing bowl.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemongrass, vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, and salt and simmer for a couple of minutes — long enough for the sugar to dissolve. Remove from the heat and whisk in the red pepper flakes. Let cool for 5 minutes and pour over the cucumber mixture. Toss gently but thoroughly and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Toss again and adjust the salt and red pepper to taste.

3. Top with pine nuts and a squeeze of lime. Serve the remaining lime wedges at the table.

TIP: If you cannot find brown rice vinegar use white rice vinegar. Do not use Seasoned Rice Vinegar because it is a sweet vinegar and you are adding brown sugar in the recipe as well - in other words, the dressing will be way too sweet. Enjoy!