Shabu Shabu Salad is a perfect dish to cool down the summer heat. The freshest veggies and delicious protein, dressed in a refreshing ginger soy vinaigrette. You get a great salad as an entire meal!
With the warmer weather upon us, my family has been eating this Shabu Shabu Salad (豚しゃぶサラダ) on rotation, if not every day.
Yes, the salad emulates the concept from the Japanese hot pot – Shabu Shabu. There are plenty of veggies and sliced meat, but the simmering broth has been switched over to a refreshing dressing. From a winter meal, it’s now transformed into a fresh salad!
I love that it requires minimal effort and so satisfying without feeling too full. A delicious salad you can enjoy as a side or as a light lunch or dinner.
Why You’ll Love Shabu Shabu Salad
- So easy to put together; even my kids can make it!
- Light, refreshing, flavorful, and fulfilling.
- Versatile – you can change up the salad component to different lettuce, shredded cabbage, or bean sprouts.
- Easy to volumize and serves a crowd.
- Simple ingredients… read next!
7 Pantry-Friendly Ingredients to Make Delicious Dressing
You should already have all the pantry-friendly ingredients to make the dressing, especially if you make Japanese or Asian food often.
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Rice vinegar
- Sesame seeds
- Freshly ground black pepper
Make It Gluten-Free
In this recipe, I used Kikkoman Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce to make the salad gluten-free so everyone can enjoy the same dish! It is a premium tamari soy sauce with the same rich, savory taste that the regular Kikkoman Soy Sauce offers. It is traditionally brewed from four simple ingredients—water, soybeans, salt, and sugar, and it is Non-GMO Project Verified and is certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG).
I also used Kikkoman Sesame Oil, which is made from 100% pure toasted sesame seeds. It adds an extra burst of nutty flavor to dressings, marinades, stir-fries, and soups.
5 Tips to Make Tender Shabu Shabu Meat
The main component of the salad is the pork slices, and it can be a challenge to cook the meat. To achieve tender-moist perfection (no tough meat), here’s what you can do:
- Use thinly sliced pork loin – Get pre-sliced meat from a Japanese/Korean/Chinese grocery store. Can’t find any? Prepare your own sliced pork loin by following my tutorial How to Thinly Slice Meat. All you need is a sharp knife!
- Add sake – Sake helps to tenderize the meat.
- Add salt – Salt locks in all the umami flavors in the meat.
- Cook the meat in simmering water – Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, where you only see small bubbles (185 ºF or 85 ºC).
- Let cool to room temperature first, then chill in the refrigerator – Never soak the meat in the iced water.
Toss Together or Pile Up
Personally, I like to toss all the ingredients together and serve (see the picture above). However, when you hear Shabu Shabu Salad, it’s typically constructed by piles of greens at the bottom, followed by the meat, and dressing on top.
It’s up to you how you’d like to present it, but I recommend tossing the salad together if you serve at the big party (otherwise there will be no meat left!). For a small group dining at the table or individual plate, you can serve in a traditional serving style.
This Shabu Shabu Salad is the perfect thing to make in bulk and eat throughout the week. Pack the dressing in a separate container and you’re good to go. Enjoy the salad days!
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Shabu Shabu Salad
For Shabu Shabu
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make Shabu Shabu
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add 2 Tbsp sake and ½ tsp salt and reduce the heat to low heat/simmer.
- One slice at a time, cook the pork loin in the simmering water until no longer pink. Do not overcook. As soon as the color changes, take it out.
- Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Continue with the rest of the meat. Try not to put all the meat at once. It will overcook and the meat slices clump together. Let cool at the counter until the meat is at room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill.
To Make Dressing
- Please Note: If you increase the amount of salad or like to pour more dressing, you may want to double the recipe. The dressing ingredients are measured for the exact amount for this recipe. Peel the skin of ginger and grate until you have ½ tsp of grated ginger.
- In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp sesame oil, 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, and ½ tsp sugar.
- And add ½ tsp grated ginger, ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, and 1 tsp white sesame seeds.
- Whisk together until sugar is completely dissolved. You can pour the dressing into a serving container (optional). You can keep this dressing for up to a week, if you want to make a lot ahead.
To Make Salad
- Cut the mizuna into 2-inch pieces and put them into a large bowl.
- Remove the core of the iceberg lettuce and then cut into julienned pieces.
- Cut off the ends of the cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Then thinly slice the halves diagonally.
- Thinly slice the onion against the grain. Then transfer to iced water and soak for 5 minutes to remove the bitterness and make the onion crisp.
- Combine the mizuna, iceberg lettuce, cucumber, and onion in a large bowl and toss together. If you have time, chill for 30 minutes.
- Cut the tomato into wedges.
- Serve the salad on a plate, topped with pork and tomatoes. Drizzle the dressing and enjoy! Optional: You can add pork and dressing in the bowl and toss all together before plating. This is my preferred serving style; however, the classic Shabu Shabu Salad is typically constructed with layers of salad and pork, topped with the dressing.
- You can prepare and store this dish ahead of time. Keep the salad, pork, and dressing separately until you're ready to serve. You can keep it for 24 hours. The dressing can be made ahead and kept in an airtight jar for up to a week.