15 Easy Japanese Salad Recipes

  • Recipes Roundup: Here’s a scrumptious selection of Japanese salad recipes you can make and enjoy year-round.

    Delicious Japanese salad recipes, featuring Japanese potato salad, carrot ginger dressing, spinach salad and more

    Regardless of the season, most Japanese meals are served with a salad to keep things in balance. A well-compose salad refreshes your palate, provides a pop of color, and its crisp flavors enhance everything else on the table.

    So here are some popular Japanese salad recipes to complement your main dishes. I also included a few Western-style salads that are well-loved in Japan. Best of all, most of these recipes can be prepared in a short time.

    With these 15 tasty, vibrant, healthy, easy-to-follow salad recipes, I hope you enjoy your vegetables all year around!

    15 Easy Japanese Salad Recipes


    Spinach Gomaae in the small dish.

    1. Spinach Gomaae (Japanese Spinach Salad) ほうれん草の胡麻和え

    One of the most popular side dishes in Japan (known as Osozai お惣菜), Spinach Gomaae is dressed in a nutty aromatic sauce where freshly toasted & ground sesame seeds combined with soy sauce, sugar, sake and mirin for mighty flavor. This easy salad not only compliments all Japanese foods, it also makes a healthy addition to your bento lunches as well!

    Wafu Dressing over salad in the white bowl.

    2. Salad with Wafu Dressing 和風ドレッシング

    Wafu dressing simply refers to “Japanese-style salad dressing”, where the mixture consists of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and vegetable oil. There are plenty of variations of wafu dressing, but my recipe includes grated onion for extra zing and flavor. This popular Japanese dressing is so versatile that you can enjoy it with any combinations of salad.

    Carrot Ginger Dressing over salads in the glass bowl.

    3. Japanese Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing キャロットドレッシング

    If you dine out regularly at Japanese restaurants in the US, you’re probably familiar with salads that are served with Carrot Ginger Dressing. Made with fresh carrot purée, ginger, and miso, the sweet-tangy dressing is bright, refreshing and healthy. Takes only 10 minutes to prepare, this salad dressing recipe is a sure keeper!

    Broccolini Gomaae in small dishes on the wooden table.

    4. Broccolini Gomaae ブロッコリーニの胡麻和え

    Another variation of gomaae – this time with broccolini. A cross between broccoli & Chinese broccoli, Broccolini not only have a great texture but it is also highly nutritious. When dressed in the sesame sauce, Broccolini Gomaae literally goes well with everything.  No broccolini? Try it with regular broccoli.

    Crab Salad with Ponzu-Mayonnaise Dressing in the Japanese bowl on the wooden table.

    5. Japanese Crab Salad 蟹カマサラダ

    Tossed in a bowl of crunchy lettuce, refreshing cucumber, sweet corn and crab meat, this Japanese Crab Salad with Ponzu-Mayonnaise Dressing is delightful regardless how you serve it.

    Spicy Bean Sprout Salad in a small dish on the wooden table.

    6. Spicy Bean Sprout Salad ホットもやし

    Love a crunchy ramen topping with a kick? You will have to give this Spicy Bean Sprout Salad a try. The peppery, spicy sesame taste from the sauce is going to wake up your palate. You can also serve this salad as an appetizer when you need a light touch of spice to complement your main meal.

    Sesame Dressing over salads in wooden bowl.

    7. Japanese Salad with Sesame Dressing 胡麻ドレッシング

    Sesame dressing is a classic Japanese dressing used in many salad recipes. Sesame seeds are gently toasted in a frying pan until fragrant and then whisked well with creamy mayo, rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil. The dressing can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week, so go ahead and make a bigger batch and enjoy with a simple salad anytime!

    Spring Mix Salad with Sweet Miso Dressing on the glass plate.

    8. Spring Mix Salad with Sweet Miso Dressing 味噌ドレッシング

    A fundamental ingredient in Japanese cooking, miso adds a wonderful depth to salad dressing. Here, I added avocado slices, fresh mint with the spring salad mix and draped it with Sweet Miso Dressing for a delicious pairing.

    Pressure Cooker Japanese Potato Salad in the small bowl on the wooden tray.

    9. Japanese Potato Salad ポテトサラダ

    Japanese potato salad is a home-cooking staple dish in Japan. Slightly different from the US versions, the potatoes are roughly mashed and combined with all sorts of colorful ingredients, and then seasoned with Japanese mayonnaise and sometimes rice vinegar. If you have an Instant Pot, you can also prepare the potato salad following this recipe to save time.

    Shrimp Salad in the white small bowl.

    10. Shrimp Salad ブロッコリーと海老サラダ

    You can find this popular salad at most of the deli in department stores in Japan. It’s very easy to make at home too! Crisp cucumber, soft boiled eggs, avocado, broccoli, and succulent pieces of shrimp all tossed together in a creamy dressing, this Japanese Shrimp Salad is all about texture and bite.

    Spiralized Cucumber Salad in the small bowl.

    11. Spiralized Cucumber Salad きゅうりのごま酢和え

    In Japan, this type of side dish/salad is called Sunomono (酢の物), which refers to “vinegar food”. The crunch of a crisp cucumber matches really well with the soft wakame seaweed in a delicious tangy vinegar dressing.  Impress your friends and family by slicing vegetables into cool shapes with the spiralizer.

    Octopus Salad in small bowls.

    12. Octopus Salad (Tako Su) たこ酢

    Do you know octopus tops the trendy food list in 2017? If you are able to find sashimi/ sushi-grade octopus in a Japanese grocery store, I highly recommend giving this Octopus Salad a try. Mixed with cucumber, wakame & roasted sesame seeds, this salad is lightly flavored for perfection.

    Honey Sesame Shirataki Noodles with dressing on the plate.

    13. Honey Sesame Shirataki Noodles Salad ハニーセサミしらたきヌードルサラダ

    Cold and refreshing Shirataki Noodles with Honey Sesame Dressing, which can be a main dish or salad! Top the noodles with shredded egg crepe, chicken, and cucumber.  It’s a perfect guilt-free summer noodle that is low in calories.

    Japanese Pickled Cucumber in small dishes.

    14. Japanese Pickled Cucumbers きゅうりの浅漬け

    Considered a type of Hashi Yasume (which means ‘chopsticks break’), this refreshing Japanese Pickled Cucumber is commonly served along with steamed white rice. The pickled side dish refreshes the palate and boosts appetite with its contrasting flavor, texture, and temperature to the main dishes and rice.

    Apple Walnut Salad in the small bowl on a wooden table.

    15. Apple Walnut Salad アップルサラダ

    This tart & tasty Apple Walnut Salad in a creamy Greek yogurt salad will get a big yes from kids! If you have Kewpie brand Japanese mayonnaise at home, you can also try my Japanese style Apple Salad here.


    Easy Japanese Salad Recipes

    I hope you enjoy making these Japanese salad recipes!  For more satisfying salads, check out this link and browse more recipes!

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    Editor’s Note: The original post was published on December 13, 2014.  The content has been updated in August 2017.

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