This Japanese-inspired wakame seaweed salad is bold, savory, and umami-tasting! Ready in 15 minutes, this light and refreshing side dish is a crowd-pleaser.
If you ever dine in a Japanese restaurant, chances are you will be familiar with this salad! Wakame seaweed salad is a popular Japanese appetizer that is crunchy, refreshing, and versatile. I love serving mine with vegan yakisoba, a Japanese noodle dish.
The best part is it is effortless to make and only calls for a handful of ingredients! This is also a no-cook recipe, making it perfect for the warmer season.
💚Why you will love this recipe
- Light, refreshing, yet packed with flavors
- Highly versatile and goes well with most Japanese main and side dishes
- A super quick 15-minute recipe that requires minimal prepping
- Healthy, low in calories, and allergen-friendly
🤔What is wakame salad
As its name suggests, wakame seaweed salad is made from wakame, an edible seaweed commonly used in Asian dishes, especially Korean and Japanese cuisines. It is widely sold in dry form and has to be rehydrated before use.
The rehydrated seaweed is flavored with various seasonings like soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. This dish has a slightly crunchy texture and is umami, savory, and tangy with a hint of sweetness.
🧂What you will need
📃Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Wakame - The star ingredient in this recipe. It is found in dry form and has to be rehydrated before use. They can be found in most groceries (usually in the International aisle), in your local Asian market, or online.
- Soy sauce - can be substituted with tamari or shoyu. Use a certified gluten-free brand if needed.
- Rice vinegar - Can be substituted with mirin or sake.
- Sugar - Any granulated sweeteners like cane sugar, brown sugar, or table sugar will work.
🔪How to make
Rehydrating wakame - In a bowl, place in wakame and cover it with water. Let it soak for 10 minutes. Drain and gently squeeze out excess water before using.
Making the dressing - Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar in a bowl. Stir to mix.
Mixing everything - Add dressing to the rehydrated seaweed, and toss to combine. Give it a taste, adding more seasonings if needed. Optionally, top your wakame seaweed salad with chopped green onion and sesame seeds before serving.
- Wakame - If you can't find precut wakame, you can easily cut large ones into smaller strips after rehydrating.
- Drain wakame well - Thoroughly drain wakame and gently squeeze it to remove excess water before using. This is to prevent watery salad with its taste diluted.
- Chilling it - If you have extra time, chill wakame salad for around 30 minutes before serving. The flavor will better develop, and this salad is traditionally eaten cold!
- Storing leftovers - Leftover salad can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. I do not recommend keeping it longer than that, as wakame will turn slimy and mushy.
✨Variations and add-ins
Seaweed - Although I use only wakame here, you can jazz things up by mixing other seaweed! Or, you could use a bag of assorted seaweed.
Spicy - If you love spice, toss some sambal oelek/ chili flakes or simply drizzle on hot sauce or sriracha before serving.
More veggies - You can toss in other vegetables into your wakame salad! Thinly sliced cucumber, shredded cabbage, and carrot are some great additions. You might have to double the ingredients for the sauce.
❔Commonly asked questions
Wakame is salty, umami with a hint of sweetness, and has a slightly crunchy and chewy texture. Hence, it is commonly added to salads and soups to give flavor and texture.
As it comes from the sea, expect some ‘sea’ taste.
Wakame and nori are 2 different types of seaweed. Nori comes in a flat sheet-like form and is used for wrapping sushi and onigiri. It can also be eaten raw.
On the other hand, dried wakame usually comes in small stripes and has to be reconstituted before use. Unlike nori, wakame is used in soups and salads.
Yes, seaweed salad is usually vegan and only contains plant-based ingredients. It usually only consists of wakame and seasonings like soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, sometimes with artificial colorings and flavorings.
I would not recommend freezing this wakame salad. Rehydrated wakame is quite delicate and will fall apart upon freezing and thawing.
🍽More vegan Asian side dishes
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Wakame Seaweed Salad
- Start by rehydrating your wakame in water for 10 minutes. Then, drain well and gently squeeze out excess water from wakame using your hands.1 ¼ cup dried wakame
- Combine all seasonings needed and stir to mix.1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce, ½ tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 teaspoons sugar
- Pour dressing over your rehydrated wakame and toss to coat. Give it a taste and add more seasonings, if needed.
- Optionally, top it with toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions. Your chuka wakame salad is ready to be enjoyed!
- Thoroughly drain the rehydrated wakame and gently squeeze it to remove excess water before using. This is to prevent watery salad with its taste diluted.
- If you have extra time, chill wakame salad for around 30 minutes before serving. The flavor will better develop, and this salad is traditionally eaten cold!
- Leftover salad can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. I do not recommend keeping it longer than that, as wakame will turn slimy and mushy.
Nutrition info calculated is just a rough estimate and is provided as a courtesy. Bear in mind that value will vary based on variables like specific brand or type of product used. To obtain the most accurate representation, it is highly recommended that you calculate it on your own with the actual amount and type of ingredient used.