cucumber salad with sesame-miso dressing recipe

score for the blood sugar control! ::::

I have to admit it right off: I ate half of this salad in one sitting without remorse. And without an inappropriate spike in my blood sugar. This recipe surfaced in my pursuit of trying to find more variety in my controlled diet currently, gestational diabetes being my restriction. If anything, this jaunt into thinking about my food group balancing so clearly everyday has helped me understand food better in general. And it takes a little creativity to give it a little flavor and oomph when there are limited carbohydrates.

Sesame and miso are wonderfully paired in this dish’s flavor. The saltiness of the dressing is well-balanced with the subtle sweetness of the cucumbers, and the creaminess of the pine nuts. This dressing may also pair well with other succulent, sweet vegetables: try bell pepper chunks for dipping, maybe some sticks of jicama, maybe throw in a crispy snap pea pod or two. It’s important to appreciate that the saltiness should be paired with sweet undertones to balance the flavors.

Another bonus: Peach and Grub liked it too. Be warned: if you have kids who like crisp vegetables and salty, peanut buttery flavors, you may need to make extra so you have enough for yourself to eat.


One year ago: I was on a hiatus for a couple of weeks. See my chawanmushi post for details and a recipe.

Two years ago: pumpkin-cranberry-almond cookies and seed crackers


cucumber salad with sesame-miso dressing recipe
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • ⅓ cup Japanese or Chinese sesame paste or tahini
  • 3 tablespoons white miso
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 24 ounces Japanese, Persian or kirby cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise ¾ inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  1. In a food processor, blend the sesame paste, miso, mirin, vinegar and sesame oil until smooth. Transfer the miso dressing to a jar and refrigerate until chilled, at least 15 minutes.
  2. Dry toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until the nuts are golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, sprinkle the cucumbers with salt and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Rinse well, pat dry and return to bowl.*
  4. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and ½ cup of the miso dressing to the cucumbers (reserve the rest for another use - I use it sparingly as a dip the next day for more cucumbers not designated for the salad) and toss well using your clean hands. Transfer to a new dish. Garnish with the pine nuts and sesame seeds and serve.
  5. This salad is best when chilled and eaten the day of assembly. The miso dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  6. serving = 1 cup vegetables + 1 fat (pine nuts and olive oil) = about 5g carbohydrates
* I originally found this step of salting the cucumbers first unnecessary, then found it helped keep the cucumbers crisp for longer. If you decide to salt, then rinse well before mixing the cukes with the dressing.

The best thing about this recipe is that you can gorge on it, even with diabetes. I experimented a little. I actually ate half of this at one sitting, and my blood sugar was under 140 immediately post-prandial, along with my starch and protein with my meal (and under 120 an hour later). Obviously, be aware that the mirin does have a little sugar in it, so don't eat all of the dressing at once.


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