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.

Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

cucumber-salad-tahini-1 cucumber-salad-tahini-2

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.

cucumber-salad-tahini-3

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.

Links:

Tomato, Cucumber and Radish Salad with Tahini, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Lamb and Lentils with Cucumber Tahini Salad, from Dinner du Jour

Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Balsamic Tahini Dressing, from Taste Space

Al's Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing on Simply Recipes

25 Comments

  1. Kalyn

    I’m jealous that you have Persian cucumbers growing; I think they’re my favorite of all cucumber varieties, although all garden cucumbers are so good! I do have some cucumbers growing on my deck, but I don’t think they’re getting enough sun because the cukes are still tiny. I can tell I would love this salad, and thanks for featuring a couple of my own favorite cucumber salads as well.

  2. Elena

    Hi, Elise!
    I really love your website and it’s my go-to place when I’m thinking what to make. As for this recipe, I take it that deseeding and salting the cucumbers is for dehydrate them. Is it correct? I really love cucumbers, and I like that they are refreshing and juicy. Does dehydration makes them taste better? or otherwise the salad would be to soggy?
    Many thanks!

    • Elise

      You are not dehydrating them so to speak, but just allowing them to release some of their moisture before tossing them in a salad. Otherwise they will release their moisture while they are in the salad and the salad will be watery.

  3. Hannibal

    The problem with cucumbers, like green beans, is they have zero nutritional value. Cukes as they are known as in the South, are grown mainly for pickles as a flavoring veg in many dishes. With all the healthy choices for salads, a cucumber salad is truly one of empty calories.

  4. Katherine @ our peas + carrots

    I made this tonight with cucumbers picked today from our garden (just a general domestic variety, which I peeled) and found it delicious but a bit salty. Though, it was probably my fault. I didn’t salt and drain the cuckes first, but compensated by only adding 1 Tbsp water (I figured cuke juice would taste better than plain water). I added <1 tsp salt to the salad, but it was too much. Just fyi in case anyone else does the same thing I did!

  5. Nancy Singleton Hachisu

    I just made baba ganoush yesterday and was loving the creamy tahini thing with the eggplant (I just hand shredded the grilled eggplant rather than mashing it – nice for texture) but I never thought of using a tahini-based dressing on cucumbers (the other vegetable that we are overwhelmed with here in the Japanese summer). Thank you for this inspiration. As soon as I finish the leftover baba ganoush yogurt-garlic cucumbers, I will absolutely be following your suggestion.

  6. Denise

    Elise, I love this salad. I never use tahini for more then hummus, and now I am inspired to take it to other levels. As well, I like that the salad is all about cucumbers. I think of them as the neglected step-sister.

  7. Marita

    One-half cup of cucumbers contains just 8 calories, so even if you consider them “empty,” that’s a lot of bulk for not many calories.

    Per the Self Nutrition Data web site, cucumbers are:

    “a good source of Vitamin A, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Potassium.”

    I don’t think any vegetable is devoid of nutritional value. You just need to make sure you eat a variety of them to get the best benefit.

  8. Laurie

    I made this yesterday – I thought it was delicious, and a good way to add more fresh vegetables to our diet. Thanks, Elise!

  9. hrmm

    the phrase “empty calories” can never be associated with any vegetable; this salad, besides being very low in calories overall, is also extremely low carb and healthy in all ways;

    vegetables should be eaten for the phytonutrients they contain; not just for the vitamins and minerals but also for all the as yet un-quantified and very beneficial compounds present. For instance, I’ve tested a flavonoid, Apigenin, in the lab and I’ve seen it inhibit cancer growth with no toxic side effects with my own eyes. Apigenin is present in parsley and celery, both of which could easily be added to this salad; in addition it is likely that cucumbers themselves contain beneficial compounds as yet undiscovered/unstudied by science. It is in everyones best interest to load up on vegetables of all types daily.

    you can also gorge on this salad with probably zero net effect on a diet, which may be useful if you need to fill your stomach guilt-free.

    as an aside, I think a curry-seasoned version of this salad with added cold cooked chicken might be delicious as a complete paleo meal. I have a bunch of Tahini and this salad sounds like a great way to use it up, especially since cucumbers are cheap and plentiful.

  10. Maria Cristina

    I am from Brasil and I do loved your recipe. I love cucumber’s recipe. Thank’s for your attention, Maria Cristina. P.S. Sorry about my english!………………..

  11. Rosie

    Made this last night for dinner and it was very good. Hubby (who can only take tahini in small doses) and 5yr old daughter also enjoyed it and it left all three of us clamoring for more. It was tasty and very refreshing-thank you.

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