This Asian Cucumber Sesame Salad is made with crispy sliced cucumbers in an Asian-inspired vinaigrette that is so simple to prepare you will likely want to make this all the time as a quick alternative to a side salad.
This quick and easy Asian Cucumber Sesame Salad is refreshing and simple to make! With just five easy ingredients, this is about to become your favorite side dish recipe. Perfect for outdoor gatherings or a delicious addition to any weeknight or weekend meal.
It’s hard to beat the crunch of this delicious sesame cucumber salad. No matter how you slice it (literally), the flavor is going to have you coming back for more.
Your tastebuds will be taken on quite a ride and won’t be ready to be done, even as your bowl empties faster than you’re ready for!
The most difficult part of this entire recipe is deciding whether you want to eat it right away or cover it and let it marinate for a bit. If you’re asking me, I say I usually enjoy it straight away as a quick side dish.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- English cucumber or mini cucumbers – You can use whatever you prefer! (or whichever is on sale!)
- Rice Wine Vinegar – A mild vinegar with a hint of sweetness adds a zip to this salad without being too overpowering.
- Sesame Oil – The nutty earthy sesame oil flavor stands out perfectly against the flavor of the vinegar.
- Sea Salt – To your liking.
- Black Pepper – To your liking.
- Sesame seeds – This is optional but does add a nice crunch and looks pretty. You can also use roasted or black sesame seeds as well.
What cucumbers are best to use?
English cucumbers or mini cucumbers are my choices! I love using them because they’re a great size for biting, and they stay crisp as well.
Garden cucumbers tend to have more seeds in them which makes them a little bitter at times and also have tougher, thicker skin than English cucumbers. With English cucumbers, there is no need to peel them. Leaving the skin on gives this salad great color
Storing Cucumbers So They Stay Fresh Longer
- When you first bring them home from the grocery store remove them from any plastic packaging, wash them, and dry them thoroughly. Cucumbers need to be completely dry to extend their shelf life and sometimes moisture can get trapped under the plastic wrap.
- When they are dry wrap them in a dry paper towel or dish towel. I do this with lettuce and cut peppers too. Wrapping them in a dry cloth keeps the humidity and moisture from the fridge away and reduces early deterioration.
- Put the wrapped cucumbers inside a clean plastic bag and close loosely. A little airflow is a good thing.
- Keep cool but not too cold. If they freeze they will go mushy right away.
- If you use half a cucumber simply cover the end with plastic wrap and put it back in the cloth wrap and bag as before.
- The cucumbers should last for up to a week to use in salads.
Step by Step Instructions
- Wash and thinly slice the cucumbers and place them in a medium bowl. Add vinegar, sesame oil, salt, and pepper and give them a toss.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve right away or the next day for a more intense flavor.
- The longer that you let this cucumber salad marinate in the fridge, the more flavor it is going to have. If you can be patient, it’s worth it! (but if you can’t, like me, I totally understand!)
- Some people like to peel the sides of their cucumbers, but not all the way. To do this, you just need to use a peeler and peel one side, then leave a space and peel another section. Leaving a little bit of the green part of the cucumber adds to the crunch!
- If you want some other flavors added to this recipe, play around with it! Since this simple cucumber salad is light and refreshing, keep that in mind when you’re making it. Chopped peanuts would also be quite delicious to add to the mix!
Can you use shredded cucumbers instead of sliced cucumbers?
You can! I’m all about the texture of this salad recipe as it’s written but if you want to make more of a cucumber slaw, give it a try. You can grate the cucumber so that it’s shredded and then make the rest of the recipe as written.
You can use a potato peeler to make thin ribbon-like slices for a pretty and fun texture.
Or you can cut them a bit thicker to about a 1/2″ thick and smash them for a slightly softer texture.
How to cut cucumbers for this salad
You’re going to want to hand slice the cucumbers to a 1/4 inch or thicker for a crunchier texture, and you can then use a mandolin to slice very thin rounds as well.
Use a mandolin or potato peeler to slice lengthwise and get larger chunks on a diagonal for more crunch and visual appeal.
Place any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh for up to 3 days!
Just note that you cannot freeze these marinated cucumbers. They’re meant to be enjoyed fresh, not frozen. Cucumbers don’t freeze well and turn mushy as they thaw because of their high water content.
What to serve with this dish
This is why this simple cucumber salad recipe needs to be on your radar! You can literally serve this with any type of main entree. From chicken to pork, everything pairs perfectly with these flavors.
Other great cucumber recipes to try!
- Thai Cucumber Salad
- Japanese Cucumber Salad
- Easy & Zesty Quinoa Salad Recipe
- Gluten-free Fattoush Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad Recipe
- Frozen Cucumber Mojito Mocktail
- Cucumber Peach Salsa
- Cucumber Salad with Dill and Chickpeas
- Chopped Cucumber Caprese Salad
Asian Cucumber Sesame Salad
- Medium bowl
- Measuring Spoons
- Mixing Spoon
- 1 English Cucumber or 4 mini cucumbers washed and thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper or to taste
- 1 tsp sesame seeds (toasted or untoasted) optional
- Wash and slice the cucumbers and place in a medium bowl
- Add vinegar, sesame oil, salt and pepper and toss
- Top with sesame seeds if you wish
- Eat right away or cover and store in fridge for up to two days
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
For the step-by-step version of this recipe, check out the How To Make Asian Cucumber Salad Story.