Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

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. 

They have a medium heat level. 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.

Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

How To Make A Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

Usually 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 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. 

Before I grilled the shishitos, I sliced the tops off and halved them lengthwise. Then I tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper. There were some loose seeds that fell out, but they weren’t that messy. 

Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

On the hot grill, I carefully arranged the peppers so they wouldn’t slip between the grates. I lost only 3. If you are concerned, you can use a grill pan.

Once the peppers were blistered, I combined them with some fresh and more mild elements. I wanted to offset the spicy heat.

I included sliced cucumbers and halved cherry tomatoes. Then I sprinkled on chopped cilantro.

To finish off the shishito pepper and cucumber salad, I drizzled on lemon vinaigrette with rice wine vinegar and black sesame seeds. 


Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad

Shishito Pepper and Cucumber Salad
  • Author: Paige
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x


For salad

12 ounces shishito peppers

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 and cilantro.

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.

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