Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing

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.

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


  • 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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  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Laurie

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

  • 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.

  • Rebecca

    This looks great! I’ve been making a salad with Persian cucumbers & strawberries this summer.

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • Christina J Bollinger

      thanks for the tip!

    • I_Fortuna

      I do this too with my cucumbers. I use a Japanese pickle press, salt the cukes, screw down the press, wait about an hour, pour off the brine and rinse them in fresh cold water. This way they remain crispy.
      Before pressing the cukes, I cut them lengthwise and with the knife at an angle cut just under the seed core from both sides. The core of seeds should fall out or be easily pulled out. The spoon method is messy and mutilates the cukes.
      You can also quarter your cukes lengthwise if you are going to chop them anyway and just cut the seed core out easily with one knife cut without damaging your cukes or losing the fleshy, edible parts.

  • 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.

    • Janet Wilson

      Gad, what is this mania for superfood status? Cucumbers are delicious, non-harmful, healthy vegetables full of things your body appreciates and needs, like fibre:
      The good: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. ***It is also a good source of Vitamin A, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Potassium.***

      Read More

      • I_Fortuna

        I agree, cucumbers have a lot of vitamins and minerals that can compliment a daily diet. Fiber is one crucial element too. When used in combo with tomatoes, kale, orange bell peppers and other veggies they can add to powerhouse salads.

  • Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

    So fresh, so delicious, so perfect for summer!

  • 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 Bauer

      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.