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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 30 2009

Asian Cucumber Salad

By Mark Sisson

Cool as a cucumber. In the summer months, this phrase takes on a literal meaning. Cucumbers are primarily composed of water, making them the perfect summer thirst-quencher. Look for cukes that are dark green, firm, slender and un-waxed so you can eat the fiber-rich skin. Persian cucumbers, smaller and rarely bitter, are especially popular these days.

When you have a stash of cucumbers on a hot summer day, the first step is cutting four round slices. Next, find a relaxing place to sit, preferably by a pool. Place two slices in a glass of ice water for sipping. Place two slices over your eyes. Ahhhhh. Pure relaxation. When your stomach starts to growl it’s time to slice more cucumbers, this time for dinner.

Doused in a simple sesame dressing, cucumbers can be served alone or combined with any number of vegetables. Contrast the light, cool flavors of this Asian Cucumber Salad with the savory flavors of seared meat. Try marinating flank steak or skirt steak in a few tablespoons of tamari and several minced garlic cloves. Grill, slice and serve next to (or on top of) the salad.


4 small Persian cucumbers or 2 larger cucumbers
1 red pepper
2 carrots
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar (with no sugar added)
2 teaspoons wheat-free tamari (similar to soy sauce)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, diced or grated*
1-2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (found in the Asian section of most supermarkets)


Cut the cucumber into thin round slices. Dice the red pepper or cut into thin strips. Grate the carrots.

In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, tamari and ginger (*if you own a zester, it’s the perfect kitchen tool for grating ginger.) Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables.

Garnish with black sesame seeds. Serve chilled.

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16 thoughts on “Asian Cucumber Salad”

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  1. I love cucumber salads! So light and refreshing. Definitely like this dressing idea, so will try that next time.

  2. that is amazing!.. definitely going to try that one out. Im guessing the sesame oil can be switched with olive oil or ghee ??? (thats all I am using at the moment).

  3. Yum. I especially like lemon cucumbers. Never bitter. They are round and have a yellow skin. Don’t taste like lemons, tho. They reseed themselves in my garden every year. That dressing looks like a keeper.

    Wiping cucumber on your skin is refreshing and good for it too.

  4. sidd, olive oil would probably be fine, but sesame oil has a very distinct taste to it. So it would be a little different than the recipe, but the other dressing ingedients would probably still make it asian-flavored enough 🙂

  5. perfect timing! my cucumbers are going crazy 🙂 will try this with lemon cucumbers as well~

  6. I’m so making this! Btw, I thought Tamari was non-primal as it’s made with soy and have been avoiding it.

  7. Tamari can be found at Asian stores. Mostly those that serve Japanese – but I’d think in SoCal you wouldn’t have a problem.

  8. The cucumbers in the picture are not true cucumbers, these are long, big ones with little flavour
    True cucumbers are less watery and much much tastier (and have way more witamins)

  9. I am cursed with high blood pressure and I am thus very sensitive to sodium. Is there a reasonable flavor substitute for tamari, soy sauce, etc.?

    (I am able to completely control the high blood pressure, and pre-diabetes, with diet and exercise but an intake of a sodium-rich food item can foul things up.)

  10. Nice looking Salad… Though Cucumber is Really good but Any Vegetable with roughage content will do for most of us… especially i take salad whenever i have constipation 🙂
    Anyway, Thanks for the recipe

  11. How about fish sauce as a tamari substitute? I made this recipe as is, and my wife and I liked it, but something made me want to switch things up to fish sauce, cilantro, serrano chiles, and lime instead of tamari, sesame seeds, ginger and rice vinegar. Is fish sauce a reasonable PB condiment or is it too high in salt?

  12. loved this salad, i served it with thai spicy fried fish and it was great.

  13. the best part about this recipe is that it’s actually a real chinese dish. when i read the title of this article in a “related articles” section of a different article i got excited to see it! in chinese it is called ???? (liang2 ban4 huang2 gua1), which literally means “cool cucumber salad” this primal recipe is pretty much exactly on point with the traditional recipe, which i find to be very awesome!