Cucumber usually brings moisture and crunch to a dish. Whether you’re out of cucumber or you just don’t like them, all of the options below serve as a great cucumber substitute. The key is that they mimic the water content, crispness, and sometimes, even color of cucumber. Basically, these replacements are great if you just want to experiment with flavor and switch it up with your salads, sushi or tea sandwiches.
First, radishes are very crisp and crunchy just like cucumbers. They have a slightly stronger flavor, but this also varies between varieties. They are great eaten raw and sliced thinly. Some common types are daikon radishes and red radishes. They are usually in season spring through summer, but can be found at grocery stores year round. This cucumber substitute would be better for salads and sandwiches, but radishes might be too pungent for sushi.
2. Zucchini/Summer Squash
Zucchini and summer squash can be eaten raw if sliced thin. They are very neutral in flavor and have a light, crisp taste. They have a very similar water content as cucumber, and would be a successful cucumber substitute in many salads and sandwiches. They might even be a unique addition to sushi! Be careful if you are cooking them, though, as they can get mushy in the center and then will not be a good cucumber substitute.
3. Iceberg or Romaine Lettuce
Iceberg and romaine lettuces are known to be the crunchiest lettuces. They can easily replace cucumber in salads or sandwiches. They have very little flavor themselves, and can serve as a great blank canvas for whatever seasoning you put on them, much like cucumber does. Iceberg and romaine lettuce are also very convenient as they are always available at grocery stores.
Celery makes a great cucumber substitute because it has high moisture content and a very mild flavor. It’s often used in salads and sandwiches with cucumber. This famously low-calorie vegetable has a very high water content and crispness, like cucumbers. Slice it thinly and use it raw wherever you would use cucumbers.
Carrots might seem very different from cucumbers at first glance, but they have the same crunchiness and moisture as cucumbers. They aren’t too flavorful and could easily replace cucumbers in many dishes. Additionally, carrots bright orange color could create some visual contrast in many dishes. They would work perfectly in salads, sandwiches, charcuterie boards, and sushi.
In summary, in terms of taste, iceberg and romaine lettuces and celery have the most similar taste. But if crispness and moisture are qualities you wish to replicate, carrots, celery, zucchini and radishes are most similar.