My life has been crazy lately, an absolute whirlwind of activity. All exciting events in various ways, but I’ve barely had a chance to catch my breath. As a matter of fact, I am writing this from an airport terminal as I wait to board a flight to Istanbul (where I’ll be presenting at a conference – and getting ideas for new cooking projects, of course). It can be hard, amidst a flurry of events, to keep cooking, to eat well (both in terms of health and taste). So that’s why I’m posting a simple recipe today, one you can throw together in a matter of minutes. And one that’s quite tasty, to boot. This Asian-inspired cucumber salad can work as a quick lunch (especially if served over greens) or a side and would work amazingly at a picnic. Black sesame seeds add crunch, flavor, and great visual effect. Even when your life feels overwhelming, you should find a little time for this salad.
Cucumber Sesame Salad (adapted from Vegetarian Times)
Yield: 4 – 6 sides
- 1 lb cucumbers, thinly sliced in half moons
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce*
- 2 tsp mirin**
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 Tbsp black sesame seeds***
*As always, using a good-quality soy sauce is best – personally, I like Kimlan “Super Special” soy sauce – but you can also do okay with the low-sodium version of a more ubiquitous brand, such as Kikkoman. If you can’t eat gluten, make sure you’re using a gluten-free soy sauce.
**Or substitute sugar.
***Regular sesame seeds will work, too, but the black ones provide a great visual effect.
- In a colander, toss together 1 lb cucumbers, thinly sliced in half moons and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Let drain over a bowl for at least 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together 4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp mirin, 2 tsp grated fresh ginger, and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.
- Gently squeeze the cucumbers to remove excess water, then transfer to a medium bowl and toss with the dressing.
- Sprinkle with 1/2 Tbsp black sesame seeds, and toss briefly to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.