best natural foods

Wakame salad and more

Miso soup and a cucumber wakame salad are the two most common ways of using wakame seaweed.

I will talk more about miso and provide some miso soup recipes another time. Enough to note here that a few small pieces of wakame seaweed goes well with miso soups as well as clear broths using kombu dashi.

Note, however, that wakame should be added at the end, not at the start of cooking the soup. If cooked too long, it becomes soft and slimy. Also be careful not to add too much as dried wakame expands greatly.

Before we look at ways to use wakame seaweed, note that it is sold in various forms:

Cucumber wakame salad

This wakame salad is not as simple as it looks and you need to pay attention to details - and use good quality ingredients, especially the vinegar - to produce good results.



  1. Slice cucumber thinly. Mix well with sea salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Rinse well and squeeze the cucumbers dry.
  2. Soak wakame in water to re-constitute, about 5 minutes. Rinse and squeeze dry.
  3. Place the wakame seaweed and cucumber in a bowl. Add vinegar, sugar and a pinch of sea salt. Toss well and allow the salad to marinate for 20 minutes or longer before serving.

NOTES: A good quality natural vinegar will have a mild, not sharp, sour taste. Never use artificial or white vinegar. Avoid also "seasoned" vinegar which probably contains MSG. A moderately priced Japanese rice vinegar or brown rice vinegar - beige or brown in color - will do, no need for specialty vinegars, some of which cost more than good wine.

If you can find organic hato mugi vinegar - made from hato mugi, also known as Chinese barley or Job's tears - this has a mild, pleasant flavour. It might be found in health stores that sell macrobiotic foods.

Alternatively, this this wakame salad with lemon juice, or a mix of lemon and fresh orange juice.

Apple cucumber wakame salad



  1. Soak wakame for 5 minutes in just enough water to cover.
  2. Slice cucumber thinly. Mix well with sea salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Rinse well and squeeze the cucumbers dry.
  3. Cut apple into small pieces. Once cut, soak immediately in lightly salted water to prevent oxidation.
  4. Place wakame, cucumber and apple in a bowl. Thoroughly mix the miso, lemon juice and water and pour over the salad mixture. Allow to sit for one hour. Drain off excess liquid and serve.

Sour wakame salad

This wakame salad was shared by macrobiotic cook Aiko Tanaka, when she conducted cooking classes in Singapore in 1993, in conjunction with a macrobiotic seminar by Michio Kushi. As is her style, she does not give the amounts for ingredients



  1. Soak wakame for 5 minutes to re-constitute. Drain and press dry.
  2. Blanch the glass noodles in boiling water for 12 minute. Drain and pour cold water over it to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other. Cut into shorter strands.
  3. Rub the whole cucumber and whote carrot with sea salt. This will retain their bright colors. Slice cucmber into thin rounds and carrot into matchsticks.
  4. Toss the salad ingredients with a sour onion dressing made by mixing:

Slow-cooked onion with wakame and tahini

Besides the usual miso soup and wakame salad, here is an unusual - and very rich - dish using wakame seaweed. This is a nishime, a form of "slow steaming" similar to being in a sauna or steam bath, where vegetables are cooked slowly and made to "sweat". The slow cooking renders the onion very soft and sweet.



  1. Soak wakame seaweed in water for 5 minutes. Remove and drain.
  2. Mix wakame with tahini and shoyu.
  3. Cut onion into halves. Place them in a heavy pot or clay pot.
  4. Add water to cover 1 or 2 mm of the bottom of the pot, just to prevent the onions from burning.
  5. Place a large dab of the wakame / tahini / shoyu mixture over each piece of onion.
  6. Cook, covered, over a very small fire for 30 to 40 minutes until the onions turn very soft. Add water to prevent burning if necessary, otherwise it is okay too if the onions burn and caramalize slightly.

VARIATION: At barbeques, wrap an onion with the wakame, tahini and shoyu mixture in aluminium foil. Throw into the barbeque and leave to cook for at least 20 minutes.

More recipes

Click here for more wakame salad recipes, substituting wakame for dulse.

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