This Chrysanthemum Greens Salad is a super easy and healthy vegan-friendly recipe to make all year round. Here, beautiful Chrysanthemum greens (shungiku) are lightly blanched and seasoned with roasted sesame oil and salt. The simple dressing brings out the greens’ unique herbaceous flavor.
When you get chrysanthemum greens from Asian grocery stores, they always come in a huge bundle. I would buy them for making a hot pot dinner and later found the leftover greens have wilted to a sad state somewhere in the back of the fridge.
After having to toss away enough wilted leaves, I decided to find new purposes to make the best of chrysanthemum greens. This Chrysanthemum Greens Salad (春菊のナムル; ssukgat namul in Korean) with a sesame dressing cannot be any more perfect!
It’s so easy and quick to make and super healthy! Mr. JOC can gobble the whole plate up happily. I hope you would enjoy it too.
Table of Contents
What Are Chrysanthemum Greens?
You might have heard of chrysanthemum flowers, but did you know the greens are edible too? Known as shungiku (春菊) in Japanese, chrysanthemum greens or leaves are a beloved vegetable used in East Asian cooking. They go by tong hao (茼蒿) in Mandarin or ssukgat in Korean.
They have a slight grassy taste and a lovely crunch to them. The serrated greens might remind you of large parsley leaves. Personally, I really love that they are highly nutritious as they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
For Japanese cooking, we almost always include shungiku in our hot pots, soups, and salads. These days, I would buy the greens just to enjoy this salad and use the leftover for a hot pot recipe.
How to Make Chrysanthemum Greens Salad
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Chrysanthemum greens
- Kosher salt
- Toasted sesame oil
- La-yu (Japanese chili oil) – for a spicy kick (optional)
- Toasted white sesame seeds
- Optional: crushed garlic, soy sauce
Overview: Cooking Steps
- Rinse the chrysanthemum greens under cold water.
- Cut the greens into 2-inch (5 cm) wide pieces.
- Blanch the greens in boiling water and drain. Squeeze water out.
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the greens and toss to combine with the sesame dressing.
Tips on Making Chrysanthemum Greens Salad
- Do not overcook chrysanthemum greens. This is the most important part of the recipe. Do not walk away while blanching the greens.
- Blanch the stem part of the chrysanthemum greens first, then add the leafy part. Stems are tough and take a bit more time to cook while the leaves are tender and cook very fast. Therefore, it’s important to stagger the cooking time.
- Don’t use too much sesame oil. We don’t want a greasy salad, so minimize the amount of oil you use.
What to Serve with Chrysanthemum Greens Salad
This light and refreshing salad can be served as a side dish to complement many main meals. Here are some ideas:
- Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Beef)
- Miso Salmon
- Nikujaga (Japanese Meat and Potato Stew)
- Kinpira Renkon (Stir-Fried Lotus Root)
- Beef Udon
Easy Chrysanthemum Greens Salad
- 6 cups water (for blanching)
For the Dressing
For the Greens
- 1 tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt) (for blanching)
- ½ lb shungiku (chrysanthemum greens)
For the Garnish
For the Optional
- Gather all the ingredients. Place the water in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- In a medium bowl, combine the sesame oil and kosher salt. If you enjoy a bit of heat, add a few drops of la-yu (Japanese chili oil). If you want it even spicier, you can also add shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice), chili flakes, or chopped dried red chili. Set the dressing aside.
- Cut the chrysanthemum greens into pieces 2 inches (5 cm) long. Separate the thick stem pieces from the leafy parts. When the water is boiling, add the salt (for blanching).
- Add the thick stem pieces first and cook for 2 minutes (the cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the stems). When they are almost cooked through, add the leafy parts and cook for 30 seconds.
- Do not overcook the greens or they will get mushy. Drain the greens into a colander. Run them under cold water and then squeeze out the water. Transfer to the bowl with the dressing.
- Toss the greens well in the salad dressing. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve at room temperature or chilled.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for a month.