Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing

Middle EasternGluten-FreePaleoVegan

Quick and EASY Cucumber Salad with tahini dressing, lemon, garlic, and herbs!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

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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.

Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing

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.


  • 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 Seed and slice the cucumbers: 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 with salt and let drain: 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 Make the dressing: In a large bowl, mix the tahini, lemon juice and warm water until combined. Stir in the garlic, lemon zest and red onion.

4 Rinse the cucumbers: Briefly rinse the cucumbers under cool water and pat them dry with paper towels in the colander.

5 Toss cucumbers with dressing: 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.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

17 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Rachel

    This was so simple and delicious! If you’re thinking of adding more than the 2 tbsp of water to the dressing, keep in mind that some of the water from the cucumber is going to thin it out a little bit. Also, I added radishes for a little extra crunch.


  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Laurie

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

  5. 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.

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