These gorgeous Japanese salads are bursting with aromatic flavor and piquant tastes.
You might think Japan’s cuisine is all rice and soups, but salads are surprisingly popular in the island nation.
They’re served as a refreshing side with most mains- adding balance to the more hearty meals.
There’s a lot of variety in this list of over 15 scrumptious salads.
From the more traditional seaweed and noodle salads to Western-style leafy greens or potato salad.
They do have one thing in common, though. Each one is full of exotic tastes and textures!
1. Japanese Spinach Salad
Dark leafy spinach is a nutritional powerhouse. Packed with folate, vitamin C, and iron, it’s a great base for salads like this one.
Spinach is blanched until tender and then dressed with a nutty sesame sauce. It’s topped with roasted sesame seeds for extra crunch.
Serve this bright bowl of greens with meats or seafood for a light, veggie side.
2. Japanese Mushroom Salad
If you’ve never marinated mushrooms, you’re missing out.
This recipe soaks mushrooms in a tangy blend of rice vinegar, mirin, tamari, and sugar.
Hanging out in this saucy mix deepens their earthy flavor and subtle sweetness.
Just be sure to use antioxidant-rich Japanese mushrooms. These include noki, golden enoki, and shimeji.
If you can’t find any of those, you may have more luck tracking down the more popular shiitake or oyster mushrooms.
3. Japanese Seaweed Salad
Chewy, silky, and salty, seaweed salad has a very distinct and delicious taste.
This restaurant-style recipe shows you how to make this takeout favorite at home, and it’s really easy!
Just toss together soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper, and pre-soaked seaweed.
Serve this salad cold, with a garnish of sesame seeds. It’s a delicious appetizer on warm summer nights.
4. Japanese Cucumber Salad
This peppery salad is full of crispy, crunchy cucumbers and guaranteed to please.
It’s light, refreshing, and very healthy. So if you’re craving a tangy treat that won’t weigh you down, this is the salad for you.
Don’t let this dish hang around. Prep right before serving to avoid the dreaded Soggy Cucumber Syndrome. No one likes slurping up wilted cukes.
5. Daikon Salad
This is an easy, refreshing salad with plenty of crunch.
Daikon is a mild Japanese white radish. It’s a common addition to many meals, prized for its firm texture and subtle taste.
Here, daikon is shredded with mustard greens and drizzled with a tangy plum dressing.
This sweet and crunchy side would be the perfect addition to BBQs or summer potlucks.
6. Kani Salad
Kani is the Japanese version of crab salad.
It’s made with shredded crab and cucumber, tossed in a creamy, spicy mayo, and topped with toasted breadcrumbs.
With just three ingredients, this is a no-fuss dish that’s surprisingly flavorful.
7. Spicy Bean Sprout Salad
Crisp bean sprouts give this spicy salad plenty of bite.
They’re tossed in a spicy sesame oil-based sauce for rich, nutty goodness.
Pile this salad on top of ramen noodles for a truly authentic Japanese feast.
8. Ramen Noodle Salad
You may be familiar with ramen noodles as part of a hot main meal, served in a broth with meats, chicken, or fish.
But you can enjoy these tasty wheat noodles cold as part of a hearty salad. Here, ramen forms the base of a chopped salad-style mix.
It’s bursting with colorful veggies, including carrots, red cabbage, and green onion.
This is a vibrant bowl that’s a gorgeous addition to any dinner table.
9. Japanese Potato Salad
Potato salad isn’t normally associated with Japan but it’s been a feature of the country’s cuisine for over 100 years.
This traditional treat is made with the classic ingredients – potato, mustard, and bacon – but with a few surprises.
The Japanese version ups the nutrition and taste with carrots, corn, hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, and ham.
This satisfying side could easily do double duty as a main meal.
10. Soba Noodle Salad
Soba noodles are thin buckwheat noodles with a subtle nutty taste.
They form the base of this light and tangy salad. The dressing is made from fresh ginger root, zesty lime, and maple syrup.
It’s sharp, sticky, and just the right amount of sweet.
Want more protein? Add tofu chunks or chicken pieces. Want more nutty goodness?
Swirl in some creamy peanut butter. This versatile salad can handle anything you throw at it.
11. Japanese Glass Noodle Salad
Also known as harusame, this traditional salad is a firm favorite in Japan.
Made with chewy glass noodles, crunchy vegetables, and tender chunks of ham, it’s a great light lunch or a simple side.
A savory sesame soy vinaigrette adds lots of flavor to this adaptable appetizer.
While the classic version features carrots, cucumbers, and ham, you can easily mix it up.
Tasty additions could include seaweed, shredded egg, tomatoes, or bean sprouts.
12. Edamame Salad
There will be no more running to the deli when edamame cravings strike.
Make your own restaurant-style salad with this easy DIY recipe.
It’s packed with healthy vegetables, including edamame, cucumbers, red bell pepper, and cilantro, all swirled in a sesame vinaigrette.
13. Japanese Okra Salad
Okra is a cornerstone of many Japanese salads, and this simple side makes the most of the underrated vegetable.
Okra is boiled, sliced, and dressed with a smoky-sweet soy sauce.
You’ll be surprised that such an easy dish can contain so much mouth-watering flavor.
14. Green Bean Gomaae
Busy cooks will love this four-ingredient salad.
It’s made by blanching fresh green beans and tossing them in a sweet and savory sesame dressing.
This dish takes just 20 minutes to prepare and will disappear in minutes.
15. Avocado Salad with Ponzu Dressing
Healthy, vegan, and very delicious, this summer salad is a must-try.
It’s loaded with creamy avocado slices (seriously, you’ll need lots of avocados for this dish) with a handful of leafy micro-greens or sprouts.
You’ll go crazy for the tangy ponzu dressing, too. This sauce is so good, you’ll want to make extra to add punchy flavor to any dish.
16. Tomato Myoga Salad
Tomato fans will fall in love with this refreshing salad that’s all about the red fruit.
Make this one in summer when tomatoes are at their plump, juicy best.
Chopped tomatoes are dressed in a simple vinaigrette made of sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and toasted sesame seeds.
And that’s it! No hassle, minimal prep, and plenty of yummy goodness.
17. Tofu Seaweed Salad
Tender chunks of tofu and chewy seaweed strands are tossed in a homemade ginger dressing for this irresistible side.
Serve over greens for a light dinner, or pile into a bowl for a quick but healthy snack.
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