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Japanese Spinach Salad with Shiitake

Japanese Spinach Salad with Shiitake

When you think of a salad what comes to your mind? Lettuce, spinach, tomato? Well, with today's recipe we are going to change that concept. We have for you a Japanese Spinach Salad recipe that's super simple to make but incredibly flavourful. 

We love this recipe for many reasons but on top of the list is definitely its simplicity. Japan's minimalist way of living inspired us to make this Japanese Spinach Salad. They embrace simplicity in different areas of their culture, and their cuisine is definitely one of them. 

We often see vegetables served alongside a portion of rice. That's how simple Japanese food can be. The word 'boring' might be making its way to your head! Don't be deceived! This Japanese Spinach Salad is packed the complete opposite. 

Japanese Spinach Salad with Shiitake ingredients

The rather minimalistic approach of Japanese cuisine is possible because it focuses on enhancing the flavours of the few ingredients it uses. They use fewer herbs and spices than what we are used to. But it's all about technique, how you cook your food and the ingredients you use. 

This Japanese spinach salad has different elements to it. First of all we have an absolute staple of Japanese cuisine, a fluffy side of brow rice. You can boil it but if you have a steamer you can use, please do. Steaming your rice will give it that extra fluff that makes it a true Japanese side dish. 

We also have shiitake mushrooms and blanched spinach. The idea of blanching veggies might seem a bit complicated, but it really isn't. You need to boil water, throw your veggies in for a minute and then switch them to ice cold water to stop the cooking process. It is easier if you have a freezer where you can keep the water until you need to use it. 

shiitake and roasted sesame seeds

Blanching veggies is a great cooking technique when you are trying to make minimalistic meals. It is quick and easy. And you will be able to preserve the colour, flavour, texture and nutritional value of your food. We are taking advantage of all these benefits to make this Japanese spinach salad a super practical recipe. 

The last element of this salads is the dressing. Since we wanted to keep things simple and easy we are making this dressing with 4 ingredients which you just have to mix in together. I love this sauce. The tahini will add a bit of a sesame flavour to our salad and it really enhances the overall taste. 

This lovely Japanese spinach salad takes about 30 minutes to make from start to finish. And we get a lot of nutrients and 26g of protein out of a single portion! Pretty good for a salad that is this good and easy to make. 

I personally like to make this Japanese spinach salad on not so sunny days. This is one of the only ways I can make myself eat a super healthy salad when I don't really crave cold food but I know I still need the extra punch of nutrients. 

Japanese Spinach Salad with Shiitake single whole

Prep time
15 minutes
Total time
Category: Lunch, Dinner
Serves: 2
Allergens: Corn, Mushrooms, Soy


For the spinach

  • 1 lb spinach (washed and cleaned)

For the mushroom

  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

For the dressing

  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsps tahini

For the garnish

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted)

For the rice

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water


  1. Boil the rice in water until soft for about 30 minutes.
  2. Heat up the sesame oil in a skillet and roast the mushrooms for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl mix the starch with the soy sauce for the mushrooms and pour it over the mushrooms.
  4. Stir fry until it thickens a bit and set aside.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the spinach, blanch for 1 minute.
  6. Prepare a bowl with cold water and add the spinach.
  7. Get it out and drain excess liquid and add the spinach together with the dressing and the mushrooms in a bowl.
  8. Mix well and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
  9. Serve the spinach salad along with rice, enjoy!

Did you make this recipe? Please take a photo, share it on Instagram and tag it with #veganio. We love to see your photos.

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