Seaweed Salad Recipe 海藻サラダ

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Seaweed Salad with Miso Dressing | Easy Japanese Recieps at JustOneCookbook.com

I didn’t know seaweed is considered “strange food” until I came to the US.  Japan is surrounded by the ocean and we eat many kinds of seaweed.  For example, nori for sushi and rice balls (onigiri), and wakame for miso soup and salad.  Beside these, there are many other different types of “seaweed” for culinary use.

Even though seaweed is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine, I was surprised by many requests for Seaweed Salad recipe from JOC readers around the globe.

I was surprised but happy to know now that there are more people who enjoy eating seaweed than I had thought.  And when you asked me for “seaweed salad”, it’s possible you were looking for this type of seaweed salad below, which is commonly served in Japanese restaurants in the U.S.

Restaurant Seaweed Salad

It’s a little bit spicy but overall quite sweet and crunchy.

However, this particular seaweed salad does NOT actually exist in Japan.  I had asked my friends in Japan to verify just in case because it’s been a while since I’ve moved to the US…

Out of curiosity, I looked up what this salad is made of.  Besides a mixture of seaweed, seaweed stem (kuki wakame) and seaweed sprout (mekabu), there were some ingredients that I had not expected. Artificial dyed agar agar (a type of seaweed-based gelatin) and high fructose corn syrup.

I was hoping that grocery stores would sell the ingredients here in the US but places I visited around my house only sell pre-made seaweed salad.  I asked the workers where they got the ingredients to make this from scratch, and to my surprise they all said they actually purchase the seaweed salad pre-made.

Seaweed Salad with Miso Dressing | Easy Japanese Recieps at JustOneCookbook.com

So to make the story short, I couldn’t make a copycat version.  But instead, I want to share the traditional style seaweed salad that we eat in Japan.  It’s a lot healthier and even more delicious than the seaweed salad from restaurants.

There are many kinds of dressing that would go with seaweed salad such as this homemade Sesame Dressing.  Today I made our favorite Miso Dressing and it’s delicious!  Hope you will try this dressing with the seaweed salad or even regular salad.  Enjoy!

Seaweed Salad with Miso Dressing | Easy Japanese Recieps at JustOneCookbook.com

* I understand some of you may have a hard time finding this dried seaweed salad mix.  Most Japanese or Asian grocery stores should carry some.  In case you can’t find them, wakame seaweed (the kind you see in miso soup) can be substituted and is more widely available.  Soak wakame till tender and drain completely, toss it with cucumber (so it’s not just wakame).    

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Seaweed Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
Miso Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp. awase miso (or ½ Tbsp. white miso + ½ Tbsp. red miso)
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. mirin
  • 1 tsp. white roasted sesame seeds (and more for sprinkle)
Instructions
  1. Soak the dry seaweed salad mix in cold water for 5-8 minutes. Drain the seaweed and squeeze out the excess water. Serve the seaweed in individual bowls or large serving bowl. Chill the salad before serving.
  2. For the dressing, use a motor and pestle to grind the sesame seeds. This will add nice aroma and texture to the dressing.
  3. Combine Miso Dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Put the dressing in a small bowl or dressing bottle. Mix or shake the dressing before pouring to the salad.
Notes
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

 

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  1. Nami, I have eaten seaweed salad in restaurants and I am sure that they were quite different from the wonderful fresh seaweed salad that you are featuring here. Miso dressing is indeed a delicious choice for this refreshing salad. I did buy fresh seweed in the Netherlands a few times and brought it home with me and added it to my regular salad, that was delicious too but nothing like your wonderful salad, for sure not.
    Another fantastic recipe, Nami, that I would love to recreate!

    4
  2. It’s amazing how culinary traditions are so different one another! Some food “normal” to me are “strange” for another one, and so on.
    Well, seaweed are “strange” also for me, but I love them. I never had them in salad, though!
    It would be interesting to try them :)

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  3. Nami, your salad was of interest to me because many folks underestimate the nutritional value of seaweed. Although I can’t get any locally (yet), when I worked in the food industry many years ago, certain types of seaweed were proven to provide FOS (fructooligosaccharides) which promote good bacteria growth in the intestines. Your salad looks like a delicious way to consume seaweed!

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  4. Well, I have to say I do love American restaurant seaweed salad, especially in combination with spicy salmon sushi, but I think this one sounds even better! I love the idea of adding ground sesame seeds to the dressing.

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  5. Looks like a great contender for our salad night! I’m thinking my kids will favor the sesame dressing. :) And thank you for clarifying the differences in the salads – I never would have known that the salads at the restaurants are pre-made and store bought!

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  6. They offer this salad at ‘the all you can eat’ restaurants I go to but I never get it (or the edamame) when I can have sashimi, nigiri, gunkan and maki sushi …. I’m making myself hungry just remembering my last meal there on Thursday. I’m going to keep an eye open for the dry seaweed salad mix the next time I go to the Japanese grocery store though cause it sounds like it would be pretty tasty without all that fake stuff.

    By the way, I love your mortar and pestle. I want one in my kitchen … to play with. :) I haven’t used a mortar and pestle since my days in the bio lab making pills for my mice. (Never mind)

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  7. Why am I not surprised that the seaweed salad I’ve always known is not an authentic Japanese seaweed salad?! I’m glad I like yours looks even better and I’ve already tagged this miso dressing to make…no more bottled Japanese salad dressing for me! : )

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  8. Brenda

    I had no idea that there was nasty high fructose corn syrup in the restaurant seaweed salad. From now on I will make mine! Thank you for the recipe and info. By the way I order my seaweed by the pound from a source in Maine- online. They regularly test the seaweed for heavy metals and lead.

    18
    • Hi Brenda! Yeah I didn’t know that too. Although I rarely eat those seaweed salad at a restaurant, it was still a surprise to me. I make this regular seaweed salad at home and it’s very easy to make and very healthy! Hope you enjoy it too! :)

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  9. I have never had seaweed salad and actually, don’t have a lot of seaweed in my diet (despite living near the coast). Does the seaweed in the salad still have that taste and smell that’s it’s come from the sea when soaked and used as a salad? Or does it become more like a regular salad vegetable? xx

    19
    • Hi Charlie! Hmm I don’t think I’d be a good person to answer your question as I’ve been eating seaweed from very young age and I never felt “weirdness” about seaweed. So I may not notice something that you would notice, such as smell or texture. I wouldn’t necessarily think of the smell of seaweed as negative thing while others may not enjoy it. It has unique texture that I cannot compare with anything else. If you have tried wakame (seaweed) in miso soup, that’s pretty much it. Most of seaweed texture is like that. Sorry I’m not much of a good help here! :)

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  10. Al G

    Thank you Nami for your enlightment on “seaweed salad”.

    I have found the American version somewhat distasteful compared to wakame/cucumber version I’ve had at “unAmerican” Japanese restaurants. The tastes just didn’t seem in harmony with the other flavours of the cuisine.

    The other seaweed salad I find absolutely delicious is Hijiki.

    Miso dressing is always a hit.

    As something to consider from a cross-cultural standpoint – Tahini, a Middle Eastern condiment of ground sesame seeds, may be an interesting substitute to grinding sesame seeds with a surabachi (if you don’t have one). A few drops of sesame oil will compensate for the mildness coming from lack of depth that roasted ground sesame seeds have.

    (PS. Use a little sesame oil in your hummus – yowsa!)

    20
    • Hi Al! Thank you so much for your comment! I love hijiki too! I wonder how many of my readers would know hijiki… I have been a little bit reluctant to share hijiki recipes as I assume most people don’t know much about it (or at least Google tells me not many research on that subject!). Thank you for the tahini and sesame oil tips as well! :)

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  11. This looks wonderful Nami!I love seaweed salad.. I used eat them all the time in Korea. It’s so hard to get the right kind of seaweed where I live – so I am just drooling over your pictures right now! :)

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  12. Aubree

    Nami, love this recipe! I’ll try it soon. I had a question: do you know if they have a wakame salad in Japan or similar dish using mainly seaweed? You made me really curious about it since I love eating authentic Japanese food. I have seen recipes for wakame salad in bento websites and the cookbook Just Bento.

    By the way I tried your recipe for steamed green tea cakes. They were yummy!

    xo

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    • Hi Aubree!

      In Japan, when we say Kaisou (Seaweed) Salad, it means today’s recipe. It has bunch of different kinds of seaweed in it. Dressing can be different and we actually eat with different kinds (but people prefer to eat sesame oil as base, instead of vegetable oil like other dressing for seaweed salad).

      When we say Wakame (again, English translation is seaweed?) Salad, then it contains just wakame, BUT we usually serve on top of ice burg lettuce or some other leafy veggies and tomatoes.

      Again for wakame salad, dressing can be any dressing you buy or make at home. There is no specific dressing for it. We sometimes put yuzu in it or ponzu in it, or like today’s recipe I added miso… so it’s up to you.

      Did I answer to your questions? Let me know if I misunderstood your questions. :)

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  13. Seaweed salads can be terrific! I’ve only eaten them a few times, but I was surprised at their great flavor. I’ve never made one, though, and I really should try it. Great recipe! Thanks so much.

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  14. I think it’s the last bit of the word that gets most Americans. We don’t eat weeds. Weeds are considered “bad.” We kill weeds.

    I think if they changed the name to something like ocean spinach we’d all like it. :)

    This salad and dressing sound delicious.

    25
  15. Valerie

    Hi Nami, I have a question for you: I had a seaweed salad similar to that at a restaurant, but I think they used a yuzu vinegrette instead. I love the dressing so much, but have no idea how to make it. If you have a recipe for that I would greatly appreciate it!

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  16. I’m on the salad spree these days, for some healthier kick..and this recipe comes just at the right time, Nami! Have always loved my seaweed crackers, but its so difficult to find real seaweeds here..your salad reminds me of beautiful, beautiful spring:-)

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  17. I love seaweed salad, Nami, and your version sounds so much healthier and tastier than what I can find in restaurants. I’ve been wanting to add more seaweed to our diet, especially since it’s so easy to get fresh, local seaweed here (there’s even weekend outings to harvest your own). I need to start making my own salad! Thanks for sharing.

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  18. Eha

    Thank you for this bowl of delightful health! Love the salad, but just hope I can lay my hands on the dried seaweed !!!!

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  19. Someday you have to take a class on Japanese cuisine and you have to let me in! or I have a better plan, you cook and I eat :)
    Lovely photos Nami xoxo

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  20. I’d love to try this seaweed salad with miso dressing. I’m actually more curious what the miso dressing taste like. I also recognise the second salad from your picture. I always thought it was one of Korean side dish. :) I wonder what the Japanese version would taste like.

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  21. 店より家で作るものは美味しいですね。サラダと味噌ドレシングのレシピどうもありがとう。

    因みに、こないだノバトに住んでいる姉のところへ伺いました。素敵な銀門橋を横切りました。自伝者で横切ると本当に素晴らしいでしょう。

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  22. Jayne

    OOohhh… I always knew there was a boatload of artificial colouring in those green strands. They almost always look neon. I very much rather have yours. For the Chinese, we have seaweed soup as well. But if we come down to eat, the Chinese tend to eat more fungus than seaweed. Both of which I love deeply.

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  23. Orchidea

    Hi,
    This salad looks amazing and I would like to make it. I totally underst you when you talk about seaweed salad that does not exist in Japan but it is very popular in U.S. The same I find with Italian food outside Italy. Thanks for a nice recipe… I will definitely try it!
    Ciao.

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  24. I love both of these salads but it’s interesting that the second one isn’t one that you find in Japan. Thanks for this recipe Nami! It looks perfect. We tend to get that one at proper restaurants while the other one is more at takeaway sushi places 😀

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  25. It’s so funny that what we grow up with and think everyone in the world eats, is often strange to so many. I’ve had the same experience with German-inspired foods that I grew up with in Wisconsin. I’ve never had seaweed but you have made me want to try it, I trust you Nami! :)

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  26. Ilonka

    Thanks so much for posting this–I keep telling people that you can’t get the seaweed salad in the picture above in Japan and they’re so surprised… Love the wakame version!

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    • Hi Ilonka! Thank you for your confirmation! Growing up in Japan, I had never had this American (?) version of Seaweed Salad at home or even in restaurants. But since I haven’t been “living” in Japan anymore I wasn’t sure at first (could be a new imported Japanese food like California rolls haha). Glad you also clarify that for me too! I like the real Japanese version better – maybe because that’s what I have been eating… :) Thank you so much for your comment!

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  27. I have this salad mix at home! I found it while I’m cleaning my pantry the other day. It’s dried so still useable, right? I’m so excited try your dressing recipe. I really love sesame flavor.

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  28. Great salad Nami, I always but the ready made seaweed salad (very embarrassed to disclose) and I love miso dressing…thanks for the recipe, I sure will try to make at home.
    Have a lovely week :)

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  29. Yes we love the second salad and that’s the salad that we know and love. I will definitely try your miso sauce. It looks so good. I might need a cup (yes I love to have a large volume of sauce in anything that i eat.. be it salad or meat hehe)

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  30. What a nice idea! Where did you find the seaweed salad mix? Nijiya? So it doesn’t include msg or flavoring? I never knew it existed, as I have always purchased ready made seaweed salad as well. In Hawaii we call it ocean salad. I think I’d like to try this version!

    60
    • Hi Sheri! Yes Nijiya should carry it. I forgot which store I get my Seaweed Salad mix, but either at this Chinese supermarket called Marina (has a huge Japanese selection – Japanese staff is working on this isle) or Nijiya for sure. You will find it! The package has just dried seaweed in it.

      You know while researching for this post, I read that this American (?) version of seaweed salad came from Hawaii (and I do remember reading about “Ocean Salad”). I tried to find out where this American version seaweed salad came from but couldn’t confirm. I thought it may come from Hawaii too. Chinese and Korean has similar seaweed salad too, so the origin of this salad is all so confusing! So at the end, I could only tell for sure that we don’t have this American version seaweed salad in Japan although it’s very popular dish at Japanese restaurants here in the US (even Costco sells it!). :)

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  31. Thank you for sharing this traditional recipe. I hated to learn that high fructose corn syrup is often in the seaweed salads we see at most restaurants here. Too bad! Yours looks so flavorful…and seaweed is so very good for you. Thank you for sharing, sweet friend!

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  32. Balvinder

    I only know of Nori which is used in Sushi. This is first time I am hearing that there is seaweed for salads. It sounds wonderful with crushed sesame seeds.

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  33. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen

    I love the ‘meaty’ flavour of seaweeds but tend to eat them only in the West of Ireland. This is a gorgeous colourful salad, Nami and bursting with flavour.

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  34. So the deli that sells seaweed salad buys it already made? Now that’s just wrong. :) I’ve only had seaweed salad once and it was at our Sushi place. I thought it was o.k. but Bobby didn’t like. However, it didn’t look anything like this. The one we had was one type of seaweed and it was soggy with dressing. Yours looks very light and of course, making your own dressing, you can add whatever you want. I do love that miso dressing! I’d put that on a lot of different greens and vegetables. I’ll have to check the Asian market for seaweed mix next time I go.

    65
  35. carol | a cup of mascarpone

    I have to admit, Nami, I have never enjoyed seaweed salad, and I never would have imagined it could look this beautiful! Your photos are wonderful, as always! Another must try from your incredible recipes!

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  36. It’s true that many ingredients in local kitchens are completely unknown or considered to be avant-garde in others. I love your salad and I would be very happy to enjoy it!

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  37. I first tried seaweed salad in a wonderful Japanese restaurant close to the Pantheon in Rome.
    It’s a brilliant dish, fresh and healthy.
    Thank you Nami for sharing this recipe!

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  38. Wooow I love far east cooking, just found you through frombraziltoyou :). I believe that cooking is one of the best ways to share your culture. I wanted so much to try sea weed now I know a yummy recipe for it.

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  39. I too was surprised to read the ingredients on the containers of seaweed salad that is served in restaurants. Yours sounds so much better – love the miso dressing!

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  40. High fructose corn syrup? Ugh! I do love seaweed salad, though – and so I’m pretty excited to try out your version next time a craving for it hits. Yum!

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  41. I love the neon-green seaweed that’s sweet/salty and crunchy! It’s quite common here I think. I have to look for this dried seaweed salad mix though. Your salad sounds so good, and I’ve yet to try your miso dressing!

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  42. They also sell here a seaweed salad in self-service sushi bars. It has a big success among female clients and I like it very much too, but I think it’s made only with one type of seaweed… Your salad looks of course hundred times better and the colour is gorgeous. It’s a funny coincidence because I have prepared this week a miso dressing (and even took a photo) found in a cookery book. I will soon post it! It’s a bit different from yours, but I loved the creaminess the miso adds to salads.

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  43. Luckily you made your own version! So fresh and so “real” :) Now I know what makes up the “seaweed salad” sold in the stores here, I would not want to eat them again.

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  44. I”ll to be honest nami, my first seaweed was about 10yrs back when i moved to US… I wont say it was a love at first sight but I did fell in love with it…
    This looks fabulous, such perfect and summery salad… Love it!

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  45. Speaking of ‘strange foods’ by the US standard, Mark & I were just trying to convince his mom to try nori the other day. She wasn’t very excited to try. Well, we will have to try again. We have gotten her to drink green tea regularly, so that’s a good start. This is such an addicting salad! Love serving it with various plates of small appetizers before the main course. So good…

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  46. I know what you mean. I grew up eating seaweed on a regular basis. I found out later in life, many people have never had it apart from what’s in sushi. Of course, that’s is changing, thanks in part to yummy dishes like this. :-) Beautiful salad Nami! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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  47. I love seaweeds in all forms of dishes. Salad is a great way to obtain abundant nutrition from seaweed. The sesame dressing sounds like a perfect match to the salad. Your photos are stunning, Nami!

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  48. Linda | The Urban Mrs

    How interesting. I ‘ve never tried seaweed salad with miso – this is definitely a must try. I normally try fresh seaweed salad with light seasoning, which I’m not sure how to make it, either. :)

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  49. I remember when I first tried seaweed salad in Tucson Arizona, and immediately loved it! I don’t think I have enjoyed it in a long time, but need to change that for sure:-) Your recipe looks gorgeous, and sounds delicious!! Hugs, Terra

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  50. This looks so delicious. I’ve been wondering about seaweed recipes for ages but since I’ve found JOC I know where to head when I want to add some to our dinner table. Thanks Nami for the wonderful salad.

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  51. Hanna

    Hello Nami,
    I’m glad to read your post on the store bought seaweed salad. I always buy it everytime I go to H-Mart. Your version looks so good which I will be sure to make it at home since I love seaweed salad a lot. Do you have a picture for the package of the dried seaweed salad mix?
    Thank you :)

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  52. Janice

    Made this tonight as a side dish for dinner and we loved it! MUCH better than the peculiar, neon green version often served at restaurants. Thanks for sharing, Nami.

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  53. kiapua

    I really like the seaweed salad they sell at costco and if anyone has the salad dressing recipe, PLEASE share :) ….much thanks!

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    • Kiapua, I looked and looked around for the recipe, but I couldn’t find it. When check the ingredients on the package, I don’t know most of the ingredients and can’t even pronounce them. It has a lot of…. things that are probably not healthy (chemicals) even though it’s “seaweed salad” (supposed to be healthy)! :) Let’s see if someone can make it with more natural ingredients. :)

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  54. Lara

    Njam njam! I put in cucumber and carrot spaghetti thin sliced (I’ve got a wonderful peeler with that possibility), so it looks like green and orange soba noodles, to make the salad even more substantial. The dressing sounds delicious, will try it soon!

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  55. Tania Ho

    Hello Nami,
    I’ve always loved your recipes and want to try out your salad dressing.

    One question: how long can I keep the salad dressing in the fridge if it’s not consumed right away?

    Thank you so much!!

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  56. siriveena

    The other day I cooked your recipe of stuffed cabbage rolls, it was so good, the meat was soft and tasty. I really enjoyed the taste so much. Thank you for your wonderful recipe. Warm regards,

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