Foodist Approved: Cucumber Wakame Salad with Oranges

by | Nov 13, 2013
Cucumber Wakame Salad

Cucumber Wakame Salad

Unless you’re Japanese, here are some words you’ve probably never heard: “Honey, we’re running low on wakame! Don’t forget to pick up another bag!”

But perhaps they should be. Sea vegetables (wakame is one) are one of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods. Sea vegetables make up 10% of a typical Japanese diet, and guess what people live longer than any other in the world? (Hint: it ain’t Americans.)

The ocean provides us with thousands of varieties of vegetables. Some varieties have a fishier taste than others, but marinating the vegetables in a lemon or vinegar dressing will offset that fishiness. My favorite varieties are wakame, arame, toasted nori and kombu. Because of its mild taste, arame is great for kids and those who’ve never tried seaweed. You can find all these varieties in most health food stores. They come dried in small bags and require soaking in water to rejuvenate, but are otherwise easy to store and can be kept on hand for days for when you need a good nutrition kick.

Below is a recipe for my favorite seaweed salad. You’ve probably had a similar dish at Japanese restaurants. The restaurant version has a lot of added sugar. Instead of sugar I use orange segments for a delicious sweet and salty contrast. This salad is easy to prepare and goes well with an array of main dishes, from baked fish to veggie stir-fries to steak or grilled chicken. Try it as a side with my Miso-marinated Grilled Chicken. I promise you’ll be happy and healthy!

Recipe adapted from the Natural Gourmet Institute

Cucumber Wakame Salad with Oranges

Yield: 5 servings

  • 1 pound cucumbers (small variety preferred)
  • ½ oz wakame (approx. ½ cup)
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • sea salt
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Wash and score cucumbers along length with a fork and slice thinly. Sprinkle with sea salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Drain excess liquid and rinse lightly if cucumbers taste too salty.

Soak wakame for 15 minutes in cold water, drain and chop.

Peel and segment the oranges.

Add wakame to cucumbers. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over vegetables. Toss together with orange segments. Refrigerate until read to serve. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy.

Elyse Kopecky is a social media consultant and whole foods chef based in Portland, OR. After 10 years working for NIKE and EA SPORTS she left her desk job for the chance to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at and @freshabits.

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10 Responses to “Foodist Approved: Cucumber Wakame Salad with Oranges”

  1. yvette says:

    I can’t wait to try.

  2. Tami says:

    Is there a wide range of flavor in rice wine depending on the brand and quality, or are they mostly the same? I love the Wednesday recipes. This one is adventuresome for a family! Excited to try it!

  3. Anna says:

    I have tried this recipe just today. I used nori instead of wakame and red wine vinegar instead of the rice vinegar and it was still delicious. Thank you for this recipe!

  4. Caren says:

    Couldn’t wait to try this. It was simple to make and the oranges were a great addition. I feel healthier eating it. It will become a regular salad for me.

  5. Nicole B. says:

    Wha whaaa, the recipe seems to be broke-d. The ingredients are missing. 🙁

  6. Derek says:

    This has become an absolute favorite recipe for my girlfriend and me. We usually serve it over a bowl of rice with some brocoli or pea sprouts and a poached egg or two.

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