Asian Cucumber Salad

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.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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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!