Sunomono Salad with Kholrabi

Simple sunomono salad with kholrabi by the nomadic wife



Sunomono salad is a traditional Japanese salad

Typically consisting of tissue paper thin slices of cucumber and a rice vinegar based dressing. It also comes in many iterations, sometimes featuring shrimp (Ebi Sunomono), or cold rice noodles.

Sliced cucumber for sunomono salad recipe
Sunomono salad with kohlrabi and rice vinegar dressing

Japanese influence

I first experienced Sunomono salad in Hawaii where the japanese influence is predominant in the cuisine. It was served as a starter between our miso soup and our sushi course. It was tangy, light, sweet, crunchy and perfectly harmonious. The perfect balance of flavors in each bite.

Since then, I have made this salad at home whenever cucumbers come into season. As a side dish for a heavier barbecue meal or as a starter before our main course. I love how the acidity of this incredibly simple salad leaves you refreshed, anticipating the next bite.

Sunomono Salad with kohlrabi

Crunchy with Kohlrabi

Being the person that I am, however, has brought me to the conclusion that I could somehow make it more crunchy. I have a penchant for crunchy salads, and as perfect as it is on its own -- cucumbers only -- there’s something wonderful about elevating this salad with a little bit of satisfying crunch. To achieve this, I include some thinly sliced kohlrabi, since they marinate just as quickly but retain more of their integrity than the cucumbers.


wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, vegetarian

4 servings

1 large kohlrabi
2-3 Lebanese cucumbers
¼ t sea salt
3 T rice vinegar
1 T honey
¼ t tamari
½ t roasted sesame oil
1 t sesame seeds

15 mins prep

Slice cucumbers as thinly as you can and set aside for a few minutes, they will lose some water.
Slice the kohlrabi thinly then squeeze the cucumbers in a clean kitchen towel to remove the excess water.
In a bowl, mix the salt, vinegar, honey, tamari & sesame oil with a fork.
Add the kohlrabi & cucumbers, mix well until everything is coated and sprinkle sesame seeds on top right before serving.


Kholrabi often come with a few leaves attached. These leaves tastes a little like kale and can be use in a very similar way, so save them for stir fries & salads. The bulb itself keeps very well in the crisper for quite some time, but it can also be turned into pickles for winter eating!

Try having it as slaw, pickles or even roasted as fries (recipe for kohlrabi fries is coming)!