Carrot Cucumber Salad with Roasted Sesame Dressing

Craving a refreshing, low-calorie side dish bursting with flavor and crunch? This Asian carrot cucumber salad with roasted sesame dressing packs a punch with vibrant colors and satisfying textures. My 2 secret ingredients in the salad dressing add a ton of flavor and also help absorb the excess moisture keeping the salad crunchy.

Asian carrot cucumber salad in a blue bowl with a spoon in it.

Recipe Video

Why you’ll love this Asian carrot salad with cucumbers

Here’s what makes this simple salad a winner:

  • Effortless crunch: Learn my simple salting technique to keep cucumbers crisp (no mushy salads here!).
  • Flavor fiesta: Salting the cucumber also makes it more flavorful even before adding the awesome sesame dressing.
  • Secret ingredient no.1: Deep-roasted sesame paste adds a unique depth and richness to the dressing.
  • Secret ingredient no.2: Sizzling red pepper flakes in hot toasted sesame oil = HOMEMADE CHILI OIL!
  • Family-friendly fun: This crunchy salad is a crowd-pleaser, perfect for adults and kids alike.
  • Light & healthy: Low in calories and packed with vitamins, it’s a great side dish to any meal.

Bonus tip: This easy salad recipe can be customized with your favorite chopped vegetables or a sprinkle of protein for an extra satisfying meal.

If crunchy cucumbers and a flavor-packed salad dressing is your thing too, let’s get started right away!

Salad ingredients

Let’s look at what goes into this easy salad recipe:

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)

Labelled ingredients for Asian carrot salad with cucumbers and roasted sesame dressing.
  • Vegetables:
    • Cucumber: I prefer Japanese cucumbers for this salad recipe. They are thin skinned and have minimal seeds. They have less water content than other types of cucumbers. They are the sweetest and most flavorful crisp cucumbers. Can’t find them? Use baby cucumbers or Persian cucumbers.
    • Carrots: Choose bright and firm ones. 
    • Other vegetables: You can add a red onion and bell pepper, too.
  • Asian sesame dressing ingredients:
    • White sesame seeds: You can buy roasted sesame seeds. If not available, buy raw sesame seeds and roast them. Alternatively, you can also buy roasted sesame paste from any Asian store.
    • Sesame oil: One of the ingredients that contribute to the Asian flavors. You can use olive oil, but with a slight difference in taste.
    • Rice vinegar: If you love fruity flavors, you can substitute it with apple cider vinegar.
    • Ginger and garlic powder: Using ground versions helps you avoid biting into raw ginger and garlic.
    • Lemon juice or lime juice.
    • Honey: Replace with sugar for a vegan recipe.
    • Light soy sauce gives a mild umami flavor without overpowering the salad dressing.
    • Red pepper flakes and black pepper
  • Fresh herbs: Green onions or cilantro. Fresh mint also goes well with this Asian salad.
  • Other mix-ins: Any combination of toasted nuts and seeds like peanuts, white/black sesame seeds or cashews.
Asian cucumber carrot salad in a blue bowl with a spoon in it.

How to make carrot cucumber salad

This simple recipe for Asian carrot salad with cucumbers is almost done once you salt the cucumbers and make roasted sesame paste. The rest is just combining the ingredients together.

1. Salt the cucumbers

As we all know, cucumbers have a lot of water content. It can turn a crunchy salad into a soggy one the moment you add seasoning.

The trick is to remove as much moisture from the cucumbers as possible. This involves a couple of simple steps.

Start with trimming and slicing them THE RIGHT WAY.

Trim the ends of the cucumber and halve lengthwise. Using the back of a spoon, remove the pulp in the middle.

Pulp of the cucumber being scraped with a spoon.

Slice the halves thinly. (Leave the skin on.)

Cucumber slices on a chopping board.

Mix the cucumber slices with salt. Leave them to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.

2. Make roasted sesame dressing

Deep-roast the sesame seeds: (Skip this step if you’re using roasted sesame paste.)

Heat a large pan or wok. Roast sesame seeds to a golden brown on low heat.

Even if your seeds are pre-roasted, roast them for a few minutes to deepen the flavor and color.

Let the seeds cool a bit. Using a spice blender or food processor, grind the seeds.

Initially, they will have a grainy texture. Scrape the sides and keep grinding. Eventually the seeds will release oil and form a smooth paste.

Toast sesame oil: Make this super-quick chilli oil: Heat sesame oil in a small pan on low heat. 

Add red pepper flakes and turn off the heat. Let it sizzle and cool down.

Red pepper flakes sizzling in hot sesame oil in a small pan.

This way, you toast the sesame oil and infuse it with chili flavor simultaneously.

Mix the rest of the ingredients: Transfer the chili oil to a small bowl or salad dressing shaker. Add rice vinegar, lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, roasted sesame paste and black pepper.

Whisk or shake until the dressing is combined and emulsified. It will look like a thick vinaigrette dressing.

3. Add mix-ins and dressing

Transfer the sliced cucumbers to a large bowl. They would have released a lot of water by now. Wipe them dry using paper towels.

DO NOT RINSE. You’ll lose all that amazing flavor if you do. (Just pop a cucumber slice into your mouth and you’ll know what I’m talking about!)

Don’t worry about too much salt. There’s no added salt in this salad recipe, except for a little soy sauce, so we’re good here.

Thinly slice carrots into half-moons or matchsticks and add to the cucumber slices.

Carrots cut into discs and matchsticks on a chopping board.

Drizzle the sesame dressing on the vegetables.

Crush roasted peanuts and add.

Roasted and roughly crushed peanuts in a zip lock bag.

Chop cilantro and sprinkle on the salad.

Cucumber and carrot salad with Asian sesame dressing drizzled on top in a large white bowl.

Toss everything together and serve! On hot summer days, you can chill this salad and serve later.

Recipe tips

  • For a hint of sweetness: Chop up some dried mangoes and mix-in.
  • Cucumbers: Have only English cucumbers? No problem. Peel them partially and salt them longer (for about an hour).
  • Fun take on sliced carrots: Use a peeler to shave off ribbons of carrot. Or julienne the carrots using a julienne peeler.

Storage and make ahead tips

Storing leftovers: Carrot cucumber salad stays fresh for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. It is not suitable for freezing.

Making ahead: Store the salad dressing in a separate airtight container. This way, the salad stays fresh and crunchy for about 4 to 5 days in the fridge.

Asian carrot salad with cucumbers in a blue bowl.

What to serve with crunchy cucumber carrot salad

This versatile and vibrant salad can be the star of many meals. Here are some ideas to make it a flavorful and healthy part of your low-calorie family feast:

Chicken:

Click here for more chicken recipes.

Seafood:

Click here for more seafood mains.

Tofu:

Soups:

Click here for more soups.

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Carrot cucumber carrot salad in a blue bowl with a spoon in it.

Asian Cucumber Carrot Salad Recipe

This Asian carrot cucumber salad with roasted sesame dressing packs a punch with vibrant colors and crunchy textures. The 2 secret ingredients in the salad dressing add a ton of flavor and also help absorb the excess moisture keeping the salad crunchy.
Author: Sheeba
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4
Calories 131.5 kcal

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 2 medium Japanese cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium carrots

Roasted sesame dressing

  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame paste (or 6 teaspoons sesame seeds roasted and ground)
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or sugar)
  • 3 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Mix-ins

  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

STEP BY STEP IMAGES

Scroll back to find detailed recipe photos!

Instructions
 

Salt the cucumbers

  • Trim the ends of 2 medium Japanese cucumbers and halve lengthwise.
  • Using the back of a spoon, remove the pulp. Slice the halves thinly. (Leave the skin on.)
  • Mix the cucumber slices with 1 teaspoon salt. Leave them to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.

Make roasted sesame dressing

    1. Deep-roast sesame seeds (Go to step 2 if you're using roasted sesame paste)

    • Heat a large pan or wok. Roast 6 teaspoons sesame seeds to a golden brown on low heat.
    • Even if your seeds are pre-roasted, roast them for a few minutes to deepen the flavor and color.
    • Let the seeds cool a bit. Using a spice blender or food processor, grind the seeds.
    • Initially, they will have a grainy texture. Scrape the sides and keep grinding. Eventually, the seeds will release oil and form a smooth paste.

    2. Toast sesame oil

    • Make this super-quick chilli oil: Heat 3 teaspoons sesame oil in a small pan on low heat.
    • Once the oil heats up, add 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
    • Turn off the heat. Let them sizzle and cool down.
    • This way, you toast the sesame oil and infuse it with chili flavor simultaneously.

    3. Mix the rest of the dressing ingredients

    • Transfer the chili oil to a small bowl or salad dressing shaker.
    • Add 2 teaspoons roasted sesame paste, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon ginger powder, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon honey, 3 teaspoons light soy sauce and ¼ teaspoon black pepper .
    • Whisk or shake until the dressing is combined and emulsified like a thick vinaigrette dressing.

    Add mix-ins

    • Transfer the sliced cucumbers to a large bowl. They would have released a lot of water by now.
    • Wipe them dry using paper towels. DO NOT RINSE.
    • Thinly slice 2 medium carrots into half-moons or matchsticks and add to the cucumber slices.
    • Drizzle the sesame dressing on the vegetables.
    • Crush ¼ cup roasted peanuts and add. Sprinkle ¼ cup chopped cilantro.
    • Toss everything together and serve the salad.

    Video

    Notes

    • Cucumber: I prefer Japanese cucumbers for this salad recipe. They are thin skinned and have minimal seeds. They have less water content than other types of cucumbers. They are the sweetest and most flavorful crisp cucumbers. Can’t find them? Use baby cucumbers or Persian cucumbers. Have only English cucumbers? No problem. Peel them partially and salt them longer (for about an hour).
    • White sesame seeds: You can buy roasted sesame seeds. If not available, buy raw sesame seeds and roast them. Alternatively, you can also buy roasted sesame paste from any Asian store.
    • For a hint of sweetness: Chop up some dried mangoes and mix-in.
    Nutrition Facts
    Asian Cucumber Carrot Salad Recipe
    Amount per Serving
    Calories
    131.5
    % Daily Value*
    Fat
     
    9.1
    g
    14
    %
    Saturated Fat
     
    1.3
    g
    8
    %
    Polyunsaturated Fat
     
    3.5
    g
    Monounsaturated Fat
     
    3.7
    g
    Sodium
     
    905.3
    mg
    39
    %
    Potassium
     
    352.9
    mg
    10
    %
    Carbohydrates
     
    9.8
    g
    3
    %
    Fiber
     
    2.8
    g
    12
    %
    Sugar
     
    4.4
    g
    5
    %
    Protein
     
    4.5
    g
    9
    %
    Vitamin A
     
    5385.9
    IU
    108
    %
    Vitamin C
     
    5.9
    mg
    7
    %
    Calcium
     
    41.8
    mg
    4
    %
    Iron
     
    0.9
    mg
    5
    %
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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    Author profile photo

    Hi! I’m Sheeba, welcome to Go Healthy ever after!

    I have a passion for cooking delicious nourishing food that’s easy to cook with fresh natural ingredients free from additives or preservatives. The easy healthy recipes you find here will inspire you to cook with creativity.

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