Sesame Cucumber Salad

Cooling cucumber salad, perfect for hot days and late night snacks. Cucumber chunks, tossed with sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, and chili flakes.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Will someone please tell me why it is 60°F and drizzly, at the end of May, here in Sacramento?

For my Memorial Day BBQ, we huddled around the fireplace, while the brave ones (or those more appropriately dressed for the weather) manned the grill.

I don’t want to complain too loudly though, lest some of you enduring the heat wave that’s sitting on much of the country send those searing temps back towards us. We’ll get our share later, I can assure you.

For those of you who do find yourself in stifling heat, and are looking for something cooling, I can recommend this cucumber salad, recipe courtesy of a certain tall, dark, and handsome Frenchman. (Thank you Guy!)

It’s actually good any time of the year; we like it for a light late night snack while watching Poirot or the Pink Panther.

Sesame Cucumber Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 7 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-3

Add some thinly sliced basil as an option, Thai basil or Vietnamese basil works best, though regular Italian basil works too!


  • 2 medium sized cucumbers (about 1 lb total)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons toasted (dark) sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 6 basil leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)


1 Peel the cucumbers. Cut them into quarters, lengthwise. (If the seeds are bitter, scrape out the seeds and discard.) Cut the cucumbers again, crosswise, into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

2 Place cucumbers into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Toss with sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, basil (if using), and chili flakes. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if using.

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Sesame Cucumber Salad

Showing 4 of 26 Comments

  • Lillianne

    Can anyone tell me what “seasoned” rice vinegar is? Any different from regular rice vinegar from the Asian store?

  • Randall

    Reminds me a lot of paihuanggua, a common starter here in China. Only real difference with the Chinese version is you chop the cukes with the blunt side of the cleaver (the “pai” – “beaten,” “smashed”), and add a ton of crushed garlic.

  • Bee | Rasa Malaysia

    I love cucumber salad of all sorts, just so easy to make and refreshing – Chinese-style, Thai-style, Japanese-style. I also love cucumber water, especially great after sauna/steam room/spa treatment. :)

  • Tess Danesi

    Just made this and it was wonderful. Husband and daughter both want it again. Definitely refreshing and perfect for summer.

    I keep my sesame oil in the fridge to prevent it for going rancid too quickly. Seems to work for me.

  • Lindsey

    I just made this and it was so easy and so delicious. My only modification: thinly slicing the cukes to get a higher surface area to dressing ratio. :)

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