Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad

Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad

There’s been a common theme in my house recently, of meals that require no heat to make. No roasting, sauteing, boiling, frying… nothing. The less heat, and less work required, the better. Which means tubs of ice cream are my best friend, but also, vegetables, because balance. Too hot to cook + lazy = noshing on whole cucumbers and calling it a meal.

Side note: have you ever noticed how thirst quenching it is to eat a cucumber? They’re like edible water bottles. Wait a minute… you guys… EDIBLE WATER BOTTLES. Why haven’t we done this yet?! Saving the environment by eating things? Yes please! (Okay, be honest with me, am I a genius or does this already exist and I’m just late to the party? Because, really, that’s usually the case, or else I’d be mega rich from inventing all kinds of things that already exist.)

But I digress — let’s get back to the vegetables, here.

Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad

I am a huge fan of eating veggies just as they are, but let’s face it, they get boring pretty quick. Enter, cucumber salad. But not just any ol’ cucumber salad — spiralized, noodly, sweet and tangy sesame vinaigrette cucumber salad.

This is one of those things you can throw together on a daily basis, because besides the cucumber, everything in it is just a pantry staple. Crunchy, refreshing, flavorful, and it doesn’t threaten my chances of winning laziest person of the year award? Score!

Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad

If zucchini noodles are called zoodles, does that make cucumber noodles… coodles? Cukels?

If you don’t have a spiralizer, you could certainly slice your cucumbers into thin strips or rounds instead… but trust me, cumboodles are far more fun to eat. (Okay, seriously, we need a better name for these. Got suggestions? Leave ’em in the comments.)

Update: for those of you wanting to know (I get asked all the time) this is the spiralizer I use: Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Vegetable Slicer. I chose this one because it comes with multiple blades, which store within the unit itself. It’s a little bit bulky for storing, but so far I’ve been happy with it!

Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad

I wasn’t joking when I said I’ve been eating whole cucumbers as a snack, but now, this salad has been my afternoon, heat-of-the-day go-to. It’s like I’m on a crazy cucumber kick. I haven’t been this obsessed since I went through my pickle phase of 1998. (Kosher dill for the win, yo!)

I recently met someone who told me, they don’t *like* cucumbers. Wha’? How is that possible? I want to know, do you like cucumbers, and if so, what’s your favorite way to eat them?

And if not… have you tried this cucumber salad?

 Yum

4.6 from 14 reviews
Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: gluten-free, raw, easily made vegan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 english or hothouse cucumbers, chilled
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice (about half a lime)
  • 2-3 TBSP honey, to taste
  • 1 tsp. Toasted sesame oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • ½-1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds (I used white and black, but either would work fine on their own)
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 2 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. If you have a spiralizer, use it to cut the cucumbers and carrots into long noodles. (My carrots weren't big enough to fit in my spiralizer, so I used a jullienne peeler instead -- if you don't have a spiralizer, a tool like this will do in a pinch, or you can slice the carrots and cucumber thinly with a knife.)
  2. Place the spiralized cucumber into a strainer and toss with 1 tsp. kosher salt. Let the cucumber drain for 15-20 minutes to remove excess water.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, honey, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.
  4. Once the cucumber has drained for a bit, spread it onto a layer of paper towels, or a clean dish towel, and gently pat out as much moisture as you can. Place the "noodles" into a large bowl, and add 2-3 TBSP dressing, to coat. Toss to combine, then garnish with additional sesame seeds, sliced scallions, and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately. (Leftover salad can be stored in an airitight container in the fridge for up to a day, but keep in mind that the cucumber will continue to release excess water as it sits. If your salad becomes soupy, you can drain the water from the bottom of the bowl before eating.)
Notes
Honey can be replaced with maple syrup or other liquid sweetener, if you wish to make this salad vegan.

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64 Responses to Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad

  1. Eileen August 4, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    This salad sounds so good! Such a perfect thing to eat when it’s too hot to even go near the stove. I’m jealous of your cucumbers — our CSA has only been giving us lemon cucumbers, which are 90% seeds, and therefore very hard to spiralize or julienne. Must go find some big cucumbers!

    • Willow Arlen August 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

      Thanks, Eileen! This salad does requires a less watery, less seedy type of cucumber, but it is definitely worth picking some up from the store. I bet your lemon cucumbers would work perfectly in another thing I love to make to beat the heat, though — cucumber water! Just put a large pitcher of water in the fridge with a bunch of sliced cucumber, and maybe a slice or two of lemon. When you pour water out for drinking, add more fresh water to refill, and replace the cucumber and lemon slices every few days. SO crisp and refreshing! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend. :)

  2. Marcia August 5, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    This is brilliant! I can’t wait to try it!!!!

  3. sara August 5, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    this looks sooooooooooooooooo good, but sadly the edible water bottles have already been invented. https://youtu.be/YLjzsfgk198

    • Willow Arlen August 7, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

      Dang, that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing, Sara. I wonder how sturdy those are, though — doesn’t seem like something you could throw in your purse and go walking around town with. Cucumber, 1, molecular gastronomy, 0. (But not really, because molecular gastronomy scores major points for being so mind blowing. Cucumbers, not so much.) :P

  4. sandrea December 26, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    Hi, I was wondering what kind of spiralizer you have? I am looking to get one so I can try this recipe out :]

    • Willow Arlen December 27, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

      Hi Sandrea! The one I have is the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer — I got it on Amazon, and love it. It works well, cleans up fairly easily, and the blades store underneath it. The only downside is it takes up a bit of space to store, but other than that it’s great. Hope that helps!

      • sandrea December 28, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

        Thank you! There is a lot of options on spiralizers on amazon, may I ask how you went about choosing the paderno spiralizer vs. the spiralizer and brieftons brand?

        • Willow Arlen December 28, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

          I went with the paderno primarily because someone else I knew had one and loved it, and also it was the best seller with many positive reviews. I haven’t tried any of the others, so I can’t really compare. The designs look pretty similar, though, so my guess is they are all pretty comparable. (I was tempted by the handheld kind, simply because it’s so much smaller than the counter-top variety, but decided against it because it looked like more work to use and clean.)

    • Malai November 25, 2016 at 2:32 am #

      You can get it at Ross call vegetti only $6.99

  5. Dawn February 9, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    Got a spiralizer for Christmas , it’s awesome.
    I loved this dish an have made it several times now. Thanks

    • Willow Arlen February 10, 2016 at 9:01 am #

      That’s awesome, Dawn! I’m glad you like the salad!

  6. Olav February 11, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

    I got to try some of these dishes. Slow cooker you can wait your turn

  7. Danielle February 17, 2016 at 2:45 am #

    Mini cucumbers in dilly dip, yum! No slicing required. I’d call it Casta (cucumber pasta)

    • Willow Arlen February 18, 2016 at 9:51 am #

      Casta! That’s brilliant! Thanks for sharing, Danielle!

  8. Marla March 1, 2016 at 7:33 pm #

    Do you peel the cucumbers before spiralizing?

    • Willow Arlen March 1, 2016 at 8:34 pm #

      Hi Marla! I don’t peel them. I like to use English (also known as hothouse) cucumbers, which have a very pleasant skin. If you’re using a cucumber that has a very waxy or bitter skin, you can certainly peel them first, but if you can find the English ones I recommend those, as they have less water content and won’t water down the dressing as much. Hope that helps!

  9. Alicia March 6, 2016 at 12:07 am #

    This was a great recipes! I’m with ya…I absolutely love cucumbers. Sometimes I just cut one up, squeeze a lime over it and I’m good to go.i also love cucumbers and onions with vinegar, sugar and dill….amazing

    • Willow Arlen March 6, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

      Thanks, Alicia, I’m so glad you liked it! The cucumbers with onions and dill sounds amazing — reminds me of a salad my parents used to make!

  10. Patty March 15, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    I’m going to make this for a lunch next week, what would be good to serve with this?

    • Willow Arlen March 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

      Hi Patty — wonderful, I hope you like the salad! If you’re wanting to stick to Asian flavors, or a light and healthy theme, you could go with this simple Miso Soup, or these Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce. Otherwise, I’d say you could serve it with just about anything! Grilled chicken and veggies on the side would be great for a heartier meal, or a grain like rice pilaf or this Malaysian Quinoa dish. I hope that helps!

      • Patty March 16, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

        Thanks for the ideas.

  11. Emily March 26, 2016 at 2:46 am #

    Casta? That was a good suggestion. My silly side likes Cumberdoodles. I am absolutely trying this dish!

    • Willow Arlen March 28, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

      Heheh, I like Cumberdoodles, too! I hope you like the salad!

  12. Alex April 14, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

    It is really delicious , very good

  13. Bobbie Holland April 30, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    Have you tried with zucchini instead of cucumbers? I cannot eat cucumbers. Thanks.

    • Willow Arlen May 1, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

      Hi Bobbie! I have not tried using zucchini in this particular recipe, but I bet it would work well! I’ve spiralized zucchini for other recipes, and while it has more texture and flavor than cucumber, I’m sure it would still be delicious here. Hope that helps!

    • TheBlizz May 22, 2016 at 7:30 am #

      I make zucchini noodles all the time. They’re wonderful raw with some pasta sauce. I think they would also lend themselves very well to this recipe.

  14. Katherine Killeen May 10, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

    Willow-
    Great recipe but can’t find the nutritional info. Can you help me with this? Thanks.

    • Willow Arlen May 11, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

      Hi Kathrine! I’m not sure exactly what aspects of the nutritional info you’re looking for, but cucumbers and carrots are very low in calories (maybe 20-30 calories a piece?), and so are most of the other ingredients. Most of the calories in this recipe come from the honey (65 calories per TBSP, and you can adjust the amount to taste), and the toasted sesame seeds and oil (1 tsp. of the sesame oil is about 40 calories, and 1 TBSP sesame seeds is about 50 calories). The exact nutritional info will vary a bit depending on the size and sweetness of your vegetables, and how much honey you use. You can get more specific info on each ingredient by doing a google search like “nutritional information honey” or whatever ingredient you want to know more about. I hope that helps!

  15. Nikki May 17, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

    I made this for dinner and added shrimp and avocado. It was delicious!! Also, I subbed the honey for a tsp. of agave nectar and it worked well. Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

    • Willow Arlen May 23, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

      Sounds wonderful, Nikki! Glad you liked it!

  16. Yesenia June 4, 2016 at 12:47 am #

    lol i enjoyed reading your article ! I love your personality ! Can’t wait to try this !!

  17. Mark Pinto June 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    How about calling them coodles

  18. VALERIE VALICENTO June 4, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    How long can you store this? I make my salads in order to take them to work every day. Is this a one day recipe or can it be stored for a week? I put my salads in mason jars and take them to work each day.

    • Willow Arlen June 6, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

      I would suggest eating this salad right away, because the cucumbers will release a lot of liquid and water down the dressing, making it bland and a little soupy. That said, you could keep the cucumber noodles in one jar, and the dressing in another, then when you’re ready to eat, just drain any liquid off the noodles before adding the dressing. I hope that helps!

  19. Cops June 8, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    Attempted this a few weeks back – the noodles never drained enough to consider using them. I may have used too small a blade in the spiralizer, though. Wish I hadn’t given up, but I was not about to experiment further given the price of Seedless Cucumbers these days – I was already into the dish for $8 when I pitched the noodles!

    • Willow Arlen June 15, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

      Hi Cops — I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you! I’m surprised the noodles didn’t drain enough, I haven’t encountered that problem myself. And I’m extra sorry to know they cost so much where you live — English cucumbers here are maybe 50 cents a piece or so. It’s always a major bummer when an expensive ingredient doesn’t work out!

  20. Windyj2301 June 14, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

    Coodles FTW! (For the win for all you non-nerdy people! I thought I didn’t like cucumbers (the soggy & crunchy isn’t s texture I like), but as coodles I <3 cucumbers! 👍🏼😀

    • Willow Arlen June 15, 2016 at 7:36 pm #

      Heheh, I’m glad you like them, Windy! And coodles are definitely the best name I’ve heard so far — coodles FTW! :)

  21. Joan June 19, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    Made this. Taste is good. But for salad I expect crunchy . This had texture of cooked spaghetti. Is that correct or did I do something wrong.

  22. Ann June 19, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    No idea what. TOASTED sesame oil means and am I suppose to toast the seeds. Already preparing for party tonight. Appreciate quick response. Thank you

    • Willow Arlen June 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm #

      Hi Ann! There are two kinds of sesame oil – plain sesame oil is light in color and has very little flavor, while toasted sesame oil is dark brown in color and has a very strong sesame flavor. You can typically find toasted sesame oil in the international or Asian aisle of the grocery store. As for the sesame seeds themselves, you can toast them quickly in a dry pan over low heat until lightly golden to bring out the flavor, or you can use them raw. They’re good either way. I hope that helps, and have fun with your party!

  23. Wiktoria June 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    Love cutting cucumbers into thin slices and mixing them into some sour cream. Add a little salt and pepper to the mix and its a perfect side dish to meats at dinnertime. (Polish family) Call it mizeria.

    • Willow Arlen June 28, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

      Mmm, sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Judi July 13, 2016 at 2:05 am #

    Eileen
    Edible water bottles! You are a genius.
    I always feel guilty about all the bottles
    In my recycle bin. But I drink a ton of water and I like that it is portable

  25. Pam August 11, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

    I didn’t have cucumbers but wanted to make an Asian salad and this one looked easy and delicious. I used 2 kinds of cabbage, grated carrot,chopped celery, and green onions and then the recipe dressing. I ate the whole bowl myself and only left a bit for my husband! Going to make it again soon. I will try with baby cucumbers but not sure I will bother with shaping them into noodles.The salad is delicious even without the cucumber

    • Willow Arlen August 18, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, Pam! That’s a great idea using cabbage and other veggies. I’ll have to try that sometime!

  26. Roxanne August 17, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    Made this tonight. Really enjoyed it. Clever use for all the cucumbers that are abounding in my garden right now! :-) Great flavor and easy to whip up. The cucumbers did continue to drain so added the dressing very last second so I could continue to dry the cucumbers with a towel. Husband liked it as well, will make again. Thanks!

    • Willow Arlen August 18, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

      Thanks, Roxanne, I’m so glad you liked it!

  27. Angela September 6, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    Wondering, do I use the green or white or both of the scallion? I never know…;) thanks!

    • Willow Arlen September 14, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

      Hi Angela — my apologies for not replying to this sooner! I use both here, but you can just use the green portions if the white have too strong of an onion flavor for your tastes. Hope that helps!

  28. Phen December 15, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

    Would love to give this a go tomorrow but no idea what type of cucumber is best! Can I use English cucumber or is that too watery? Thanks!

    • Willow Arlen December 15, 2016 at 10:03 pm #

      Hi Phen! English cucumbers are perfect for this salad. They actually have less water content than garden cucumbers, and their skin is sweeter and less waxy so there’s no need to peel them. I’ve updated the recipe to specify that they are the kind I used. I hope you like this salad!

  29. Paulina January 2, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

    Nutrition please

    • Willow Arlen January 2, 2017 at 7:27 pm #

      Hi Paulina! I don’t include nutritional information with my recipes because it’s just not possible to be 100% accurate. (For example, this recipe calls for honey [i]to taste[/i], and since I can’t know how much you will use, or the size of your cucumbers, etc., I can’t say what the exact nutritional information will be). If you’re needing the information for health reasons, I recommend using a site like caloriecount.com — it’s free to create an account and plug in your ingredients/amounts to get an accurate estimate of calories, fat, protein, etc.. If you don’t like that one there are other sites out there, too, that’s just a popular one I know a lot of people use. :) Hope that helps!

  30. Claire January 9, 2017 at 9:25 pm #

    Absolutely delicious! So refreshing, and made a great accompaniment to salmon. Thank you.

    • Willow Arlen January 10, 2017 at 12:21 am #

      Thanks Claire, I’m so glad you liked it!

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