Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

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With smoky, spicy flavor, this grilled shishito pepper and cucumber salad is balanced with cool cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and lemon vinaigrette.

Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

The first time I tried a shishito pepper I was so scared my palms were practically sweating.

I like spicy food, but I’m kind of a novice. Again, I think it was the fear of breathing fire that kept me away from hot things. 

Only in the last few years have I fully embraced fiery foods. 

I still approach them with caution, but I also think about the time wasted that I could have been enjoying lots of spicy culinary options. 

Lately I’ve had a thing for shishito peppers. 

What Are Shishito Peppers?

Hailing from Japan, shishito peppers are small and green with a mild to medium heat. Every so often you will get once that’s more hot. Just a warning!

Shishito peppers are smoky and meant to be cooked in a hot skillet on the stove or on the grill. Both are the best ways to blister the skin and further enhance their flavor.

You can dunk them into dips. I really love them in a salad with ingredients that do some cooling like cucumbers.

How To Cook Shishito Peppers

With just a little oil in a hot pan, you can blister them in minutes.

For this recipe, I fire up my grill. What I love about grilling them is that it just makes sense as a way to cook them because they already smoky. Cooking shishito peppers on the grill enhances that.

On a hot grill, it takes just about a minute per side to grill them.

Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

The Ingredients for Grilled Shishito Peppers

For this grilled shishito pepper cucumber salad, you will need:

  • Shishito peppers: You usually can buy these in a bag in the produce department at the grocery. Male sure they look crisp and have smooth skin.
  • Cucumbers: English cucumbers are my go-to because they have less seeds. They are skinnier and longer than standard cucumbers.
  • Tomatoes: For this salad, I like small cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • Cilantro: If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can switch it out and use chopped parsley instead.
  • Sesame seeds: Black sesame seeds look lovely because they really stand out with the colors of the other ingredients. If you can’t find them, white sesame seeds are fine, too.
  • Olive oil: I toss the peppers in olive oil before grilling them.
  • Salt & Pepper: To season the peppers, I sprinkle them in salt and pepper.
  • Lemon vinaigrette: The salad is drizzled with lemon vinaigrette with rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Shishito Peppers Appetizer

Often when I make shishitos, they are for an appetizer. I leave them whole and do no other prep than make a dipping sauce. 

But I had a big debate when I first decided to make this shishito pepper and cucumber salad. The tops of these peppers act as a handle, and you don’t eat them. 

The thought of having to slice off the tops as I ate the salad, did not appeal to me. I had visions of a clean plate with piled-up pepper tops pushed to one side. 

That’s why I trim off the tops when making a salad.

Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

How To Make A Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

To prep the shishitos, I slice the tops off and halve them lengthwise. Then I toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper. There are always some loose seeds that fall out, but they aren’t that messy. 

On the hot grill, I carefully arrange the peppers so they don’t slip between the grates. It’s no biggie if you lose a few. If you are concerned, you can use a grill pan.

Once the peppers were blistered, I combined them with my fresh and more mild ingredients. I adore this balance of cool crispy bites with the spicy heat.

In a big bowl, I stir together the peppers, sliced, cucumbers and halved cherry tomatoes along with chopped cilantro.

For the vinaigrette, I whisk together lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

To finish off the salad, I drizzled on the lemon vinaigrette and add black sesame seeds. 

Try These Other Cucumber Salads

Watermelon Cucumber Corn Salad
Strawberry Cucumber Pasta Salad
Chickpea Greek Salad
Roasted Pepper Panzanella Salad
Fattoush Salad

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Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 minutes
Total: 12 minutes
Servings: 4
With smoky, spicy flavor, this grilled shishito pepper and cucumber salad is balanced with cool cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and lemon vinaigrette.


  • For salad
  • 12 ounces shishito peppers tops trimmed off and peppers halved lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 English cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
  • For vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat.
  • Toss the shishito peppers in olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the peppers on both sides until they are blistered, about 1 minute per side.
  • In a large bowl, combine the peppers with the cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro and sesame seeds.
  • For the vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad.


If you can’t find black sesame seeds, you can substitute them with white sesame seeds.


Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 870mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 291IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salads
Cuisine: Asian
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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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  1. I love Shishito peppers too! What kind of dipping sauce do you make to serve with them as an appetizer?