Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing
The Persian cucumber plant profiled in our cucumber salad with grapes and almonds recipe continues to thrive, and daily threatens to grow over, inside, and around every other plant in the garden bed. At least once a week I find a couple ginormous cukes, hiding under the mass of leaves; this is what happens when you don’t pick every day. All is good; these cucumbers make their way into numerous cucumber salads, which are particularly refreshing on hot summer days.
This cucumber salad is simply dressed with a sesame tahini and lemon juice dressing, and tossed with chopped red onion and fresh herbs. We’re using basil, mint, and parsley, because we have them all growing in the garden. But you could use any of those herbs on their own if you wanted. Cucumbers hold a lot of water, especially if they are fresh from the garden, so it does help to salt them and let them drain of their excess liquid first. Otherwise your salad might end up rather runny.
Any variety of cucumber can be used in this salad. You'll want to peel the varieties with thicker peels. Thin-peel varieties can usually be left peel-on.
- 1 1/2 pounds cucumbers, preferably thin-skinned such as persian cucumbers
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 3 Tbsp sesame tahini
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp warm water (or more depending on how thick your tahini is)
- 1/2 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Zest of a lemon
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 2 Tbsp chopped mint
- 2 Tbsp chopped basil
- 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
- Salt and black pepper to taste
1 If the cucumber peels are thick or bitter, peel them. If not, leave them on. Slice the cucumbers lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Slice the cucumbers again lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch cuts.
2 Toss the seeded, diced cucumbers in a colander with the tablespoon of salt. Let drain in the sink while you chop everything else and make the dressing.
3 In a large bowl, mix the tahini, lemon juice and warm water until combined. Stir in the garlic, lemon zest and red onion.
4 Briefly rinse the cucumbers under cool water and pat them dry with paper towels in the colander. Add the cucumbers to the bowl with the dressing and gently toss to combine well. Add in the herbs. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve cool.