Food / Main Dishes / Pescetarian

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steak and Cucumber Salad

I’ve been looking forward to this post for a while now. Ahi tuna is such a damn treat—but knowing where it comes from is extremely important.

My husband and I recently stumbled across an outstanding little market in Cary, NC called The Butcher’s Market. This is where I’ve been buying my ahi tuna.

Let me tell you a little bit about The Butcher’s Market.

Friends, this place makes my heart swell.

Not only do they have an impressive selection of exotic meats—ranging from alligator to rattlesnake (WHUT.)—but they also have a very high standard when it comes to animal welfare. All of their beef, poultry and pork come from farms that raise and treat their animals humanely. Also! Their seafood selection comes from Ipswitch, a member of the Marine Stewardship Council, so sustainable seafood is a guarantee.

Being able to shop with that kind of ease is ah-mazing.

Take all my money.

Preparing and grilling ahi tuna like a boss.

A lot of people overcook things in fear of foodborne illness, and that’s a pretty important thing to avoid. But searing a nice rare ahi tuna steak at home is easy to do. And again, as long as you know where it’s from and know it’s of high quality, you’re good to go. When in doubt, talk to your fishmonger.

The first thing you want to do is remove your steaks from the fridge and let them come to room temperature; this ensures an even cook. Then, with this recipe, you’re going to pat them dry, brush each side with a bit of sesame oil, then sprinkle each side with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Technically your steak is ready to go a this point, but in this recipe, I decided to sprinkle some sesame seeds over the fillets. You can skip this if you want!

When grilling your fillets, you only want to sear them for about 1.5 minutes on each side. Sometimes less, depending on the thickness of your fillets. The goal is to get a nice sear on each side while keeping the center cool and rare.

Once cooked, you can serve your ahi as a full steak or slice it. If you’re slicing, slice against the grain.

Our absolute favorite way to eat our ahi tuna steaks is with a simple ribboned cucumber salad, avocado, and a punchy wasabi soy dipping sauce. This gives us a nourishing meal that is cool, creamy, and dreamy for summer meals—especially when dining al fresco.

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5 from 1 vote

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steak

This grilled ahi tuna steak is served with a cooling cucumber salad, creamy avocado, and a punchy wasabi soy dipping sauce.
Course Main Course
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Author Dana Sandonato


Ahi Tuna.

  • 2 4-6 oz ahi tuna steaks
  • 2 TBSP sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Cucumber Salad.

  • 2 cucumbers; ribboned, spiralized, or sliced to ribbon the cucumbers, simple peel away at the cucumbers with a vegetable peeler, forming ribbons. Stop once you get to the seeds. Do this one each side of the cucumber.
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds

Wasabi Dressing.

  • 4 TBSP Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp wasabi paste
  • 2 TBSP scallions, thinly sliced


  • Heat a clean grill to high heat. Using an oil with a high smoke point, oil/season the grill to give is a slick surface.
  • Brush each side of the ahi tuna fillets with 1/2 TBSP of sesame oil. Sprinkle each side with salt, pepper, and sesame seeds. Gently press the sesame seeds down into the fillets to secure them a bit.
  • Place the fillets onto the grill and sear them for about 1.5 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets and let them grill for another 1-1.5 minutes.
  • When done, remove the fillets from the grill and let them rest for about 5-10 minutes.

Spiralized Cucumber Salad.

  • Toss the cucumber in a bowl and drizzle them with sesame oil and rice vinegar. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the cucumbers, toss to coat, and set aside.

Wasabi Soy Dipping Sauce.

  • Whisk the soy sauce and wasabi paste together in a small bowl until the mixture is cohesive. Taste, and adjust wasabi paste to your preference. Add the sliced scallions and serve as a dipper for the tuna and cucumbers.


  • Plate the cucumber salad. Slice each fillet of tuna against the grain and plate alongside the salad. Top the salad with sliced avocado and serve everything with the dipping sauce.


  • Venetia
    March 29, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    5 stars
    I have tried making Grilled Ahi Tuna many times without much success. I made your recipe last night using the EVERYTHING BUT THE BAGEL sesame & salt from Trader Joe’s. It was perfect. Delicious ? Thank you!

    • Killing Thyme
      March 29, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      Hey Venetia!
      I’m SO glad to hear this! The first time I bought + cooked ahi was a total fail, so I can feel your pain. I’m elated that it was this recipe that gave you success. AND. I’m very intrigued about this Trader Joe’s “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning. I’ve been wanting to try it for ages—I’m so into the idea of putting it on ahi! Thanks for the idea; keep rockin’ that fish!

  • Killing Thyme
    August 3, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks, Amanda! That dipping shot was killing me. Haha. I had to try for it several times and the chopsticks were starting to hurt my fingers (they’re metal and dainty so need a tighter grip). I hope you love this when you do make it!

  • Amanda | Chew Town
    August 3, 2016 at 6:02 am

    I love tuna (and that awesome dipping shot you’ve got there), so this is definitely going on my list of “to make” recipes when it gets a little warmer here in Sydney.

    • Killing Thyme
      August 3, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks, Amanda! That dipping shot was killing me. Haha. I had to try for it several times and the chopsticks were starting to hurt my fingers (they’re metal and dainty so need a tighter grip). I hope you love this when you do make it!

  • Meeta
    August 3, 2016 at 5:19 am

    Made to perfection! I love Ahi – but we do not get it as readily as I would like here in Germany. But this looks amazing!

    • Killing Thyme
      August 3, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks, Meeta! Sorry to hear that ahi tuna isn’t very accessible in Germany. Hopefully you stumble upon a fillet at some point!

  • Just Jo
    August 3, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Oh. My.
    I don’t really know where to start with the love – for the restaurant with a conscious, to the recipe which looks delicious to that money shot photo of the dipped and chopstick steadied piece of ahi tuna. Oh. My. Word! All of this is beautiful. Stunning work Dana :D

    • Killing Thyme
      August 3, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      Thanks so much, Jo! I was over the moon when I found this market—one where I could shop with confidence and know that I wasn’t supporting any shady practices. Factory farming forced me into pescetarianism, but I still cook meat for the hubs and I feel so much better buying from this place. Indulging guilt-free is the best kind of indulging. Thanks for all the kind words!

  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    August 3, 2016 at 2:57 am

    This looks stunning, and so light and fresh too. I can’t wait until I can have tuna steak again when baby is born.

    • Killing Thyme
      August 3, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      Thanks, Dannii! I don’t look forward to having to deny such things when I’m carrying one day. Haha. Hope you get to indulge soon :)

  • Charla @ That Girl Cooks Healthy
    August 3, 2016 at 2:49 am

    I’m sure I saw something like this in Hawai’i, looks really good.

    • Killing Thyme
      August 3, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks, Charla! I’m sure these are a popular item on Hawaiian menus.


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