When eating at our local Japanese izakaya restaurants, we always look forward to the cucumber salad amuses-bouches that they greet us with at the table. It’s such a treat to be able to snack on fresh cucumbers laced with delicate Japanese flavors. Inspired by those simple cucumber salads, we’ve re-created our own version with Japanese miso paste. The salty and deep umami flavors balance so well with the fresh crispness of cucumbers. If possible, try to find crunchy Persian or Japanese cucumbers. They don’t have tough seeds and can be eaten whole.

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  • ½ pound (225g) crisp cucumbers, preferably Japanese or Persian variety
  • ½ cup (80g) red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)



  1. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers and red onion. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the vegetable or grapeseed oil, sesame oil, lime juice, miso paste, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. Combine well.
  3. Add the miso mixture to the bowl with the cucumbers. Toss together to evenly coat. Chill for about 20 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, if desired.