This sesame cucumber salad is everything you want in a super simple summer salad. Made with only two veggies and a three-ingredient dressing! It requires no blender, no shredded carrots, no sugar, and just enough salt to keep it interesting. This, my friends, is the king of side salads!!
Recipe: $5.99 | Per Serving: $1.49 | Servings: 4
This recipe was inspired by my good friend Branko, who made a similar salad for us in Japan. The salad was so good, that I decided I needed to create one.
This recipe was originally published in June of 2016, and has been updated with new pictures! The recipe is otherwise the same. :)
It works great for potlucks! It was a huge hit when I took it to a work potluck, even my super picky vegetable-hating coworkers enjoyed it!
I have such a soft spot in my soul for a simple salad dressing, and this one really fits the bill. I hope you shake up this dressing for your dinners this week! You won't regret it.
Why You Will Love This Sesame Oil Cucumber Salad
- Super simple side salad to add to all types of meals!
- Requires ONLY FIVE ingredients! Two fresh produce and three pantry staples.
- Ready in less than five minutes!
This Asian cucumber salad only requires five simple ingredients! It mixes up in minutes making it perfect for a quick side dish for meals.
- Cucumber: I find one large English cucumber or several small Persian cucumbers work best. These have fewer seeds and a crisper texture than regular cucumbers.
- Greens: I find that delicate, mild greens such as Spring mix work best.
- Sesame oil: For the best flavor use toasted sesame oil! I actually really love Trader Joe's Toasted Sesame oil and often use that here.
- Rice vinegar. I prefer to use unseasoned rice vinegar which is more similar to white vinegar but you can also use seasoned, which has a bit of sugar and salt added to it for a sweeter salad dressing.
- Tamari: You can also use soy sauce if you don't need it to be gluten-free.
- Sesame seeds: I like to sprinkle black and white sesame seeds over the top but you can also use a single color or skip it!
Be sure to check the recipe card for the full list of ingredients and quantities of each.
Dietary Modifications and Variations
- Paleo: replace the soy sauce/tamari with coconut aminos.
- Vegetarian: Heck yes!
- Add More Veggies: While I really love the simplicity of this salad made with just greens and cucumbers you can certainly add others too! Thinly sliced red bell peppers, sliced green onions, grated carrots, and sliced radish all would work well!
- Add Some Protein. If you want to make it a bit heartier you can add some edamame, tofu, sliced chicken, cooked shrimp, or salmon. I like to pair this with pan-seared salmon and Japanese sweet potatoes for a complete meal.
How to Make Cucumber Salad with Sesame Dressing
- Thinly slice the cucumbers using a mandoline or sharp knife. Wash the greens and set them aside to drain.
PRO TIP: I always use a salad spinner! It's one of my favorite kitchen tools and does a great job of removing any water after washing. This means the dressing will be more flavorful, and will stick to the salad better.
- Combine the sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari or soy sauce, and salt in a bowl or a jar. Whisk the mixture until it's well combined.
- Combine the spring mix, sliced cucumbers, and dressing in a large bowl.
- Toss everything together just before serving and top with the sesame seeds.
Alternatively, if you'd like to bring this to a potluck or make it ahead, keep the dressing separate until serving time. You can even allow guests to add their own dressing if they'd prefer.
What to Serve with Cucumber Salad
You can serve it with a variety of different dishes for meals or add a protein to make it heartier.
- Try it added to a salmon soba bowl or with some salmon seaweed rolls!
- It goes great with one-bowl meals such as coconut beef and zucchini noodles or ground beef and cabbage stir fry.
- Add some shredded pork, grilled chicken, marinated tofu, or sauteed shrimp to the top.
- Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving as it will get soggy if tossed too early. Another option is to serve the dressing on the side.
- Leftovers will not store well so if possible mix only the greens and cucumbers with the dressing you know you will eat. Store leftover greens, cucumbers, and dressing in the fridge. Leftover salad will be sad the next day, so feel free to server the dressing on the side.
- Salt the cucumbers to remove excess moisture (optional). This can be done by placing the cucumbers in a colander and tossing them with a teaspoon of fine salt and then leaving them to sit for an hour. Rinse off the excess salt before mixing the cucumbers with the greens and dressing. This is especially helpful if you want to prep this ahead or take to a potluck as the cucumbers will stay crisp longer.
- Feel free to taste and adjust the ratio of ingredients in the sesame dressing to your preference!
English, Persian, or seedless varieties of cucumbers are best here. These often contain less moisture and have a crisper texture which holds up well with the dressing.
It's not necessary but it's a way to remove some of the excess moisture in the cucumbers. Adding salt works to draw the water out of the cucumbers. That way when you mix with the dressing it retains all the flavor rather than being slightly watered down.
I used a simple ratio of sesame:rice vinegar:soy sauce -- 6:2:1 along with a dash of salt! So feel free to use this ratio to make more or less dressing!
More Cucumber Recipes
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Simple Sesame Cucumber Salad
- 1 large English cucumber about 12 oz (or 2-3 small Persian cucumbers)
- 6-8 ounces mixed greens or Spring mix
- 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar can also use seasoned if you prefer a sweet salad dressing
- 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 Pinch salt
- Black and white sesame seeds to garnish
- Wash the greens and set them aside to drain. (I use a salad spinner - one of my favorite kitchen tools!)
- Using a sharp knife or a mandoline, thinly slice the cucumber. Optionally: if you have time, you can salt the cucumber to remove moisture. To do this, add the cucumber to a large colander and toss with 1 teaspoon fine salt, let sit for 1 hour, then rinse and drain to remove excess salt.
- In a large bowl (or jar), combine the dressing ingredients: sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari/soy sauce, and salt. Whisk until well combined.
- At serving time, combine the spring mix, sliced cucumbers, and dressing in a large bowl, tossing to coat. If you do this too early, the salad will get very soggy. Optionally, you can serve the dressing on the side.
- Top with black and white sesame seeds and serve!