Healthy and refreshing seaweed salad recipe. Served with cherry tomato over green leaf lettuce and drizzled with miso dressing, this vibrant salad is a delicious change to the usual salads at your dinner table.
Surrounded by the ocean, we eat all kinds of seaweeds in Japan. These sea vegetables are used extensively in Japanese cuisine for its health properties and deep unique flavors. The diversity of seaweeds is just as vast as the ocean. Some of the more familiar varieties include nori that is used for sushi and onigiri rice balls, kombu for dashi broth, and wakame for miso soup and salad.
Little did I know seaweed is considered a “strange food” until I came to the US, so I was surprised to receive many requests for a Seaweed Salad recipe from readers around the globe (You may want to read this post about health benefits of seaweed on my site).
It was wonderful to know that there are more people who enjoy eating seaweed than I had thought. When you asked me for a “Seaweed Salad“, it’s possible you were looking for this type of seaweed salad below, which is commonly served at Japanese sushi restaurants in the U.S.
The salad is a little bit spicy but overall quite sweet and crunchy. However, this particular seaweed salad does NOT actually exist in Japan. Since it’s been a while I live in the US, I had asked my friends in Japan to confirm.
Out of curiosity, I looked up what the 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. They include artificially dyed agar (a type of seaweed-based gelatin), MSG and high fructose corn syrup. I asked the workers at sushi restaurants how they make the salad from scratch, and to my surprise, they all said they actually purchase the seaweed salad pre-made.
Needless to say, I didn’t make the copycat version. But instead, I wanted 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.
For this recipe, I used dried seaweed salad mix purchased at my local Japanese grocery store. A well-stocked Asian grocery store should carry them as well. The seaweed mixture is very easy to use, you just need to soak them in cold water for a few minutes to soften and then drain well before tossing with dressing. There are many kinds of dressing that would go well with the salad such as this homemade Sesame Dressing. Today I made our favorite Miso Dressing which is packed with umami!
In case you can’t find the dried seaweed salad mix, you can use a more widely available wakame seaweed (the kind you see in miso soup) as a substitution. Soak wakame until tender and drain completely, toss it with thinly shredded cucumber and some cherry tomatoes, you will have a vibrant, refreshing seaweed salad to enjoy.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
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- ½ oz dried seaweed salad mix (about 1 handful)
- 1 Tbsp miso (I use koji miso or awase miso; you can use your favorite miso)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- 1 tsp roasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp mirin
- 1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds (and more for sprinkle)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- 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.
- For the dressing, use a mortar and pestle (Japanese suribachi and surikogi) to grind the sesame seeds. This will add a nice aroma and texture to the dressing.
- 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.