Delicate Tangy Flavours with A Meaty Bite, Marinated Japanese Mushroom Salad Over Fresh Spinach Makes A Delicious Side Dish to Zest Up Any Meal.
Where Can I Find Japanese Mushrooms?
I got super excited when I saw a new variety of Japanese mushrooms at my local Asian grocery store. I nearly squealed. The brilliant colour and wispy strands of the golden enoki brought smiles to my face. It was like being a child in a candy store. Seriously.
These new varieties inspired me to make this Japanese mushroom recipe.
Quite a number of large supermarkets as well as local fruit and vegetable grocers now stock the popular fresh Japanese mushrooms like enoki and shiitake as they are grown locally. The best option will be your local Japanese, Korean or mixed Asian grocery store for a larger range of Japanese mushrooms including the ones we have used in this recipe – enoki, golden enoki, shimeji and baby king oyster mushrooms plus other popular ones like shiitake and oyster mushrooms.
Can We Eat Enoki Mushrooms Raw?
Enoki mushrooms are a very popular Japanese mushroom often seen cooked lightly in ramen noodles, rolled in wagyu beef steak and grilled or simply sauteed with garlic. Dainty, thin enoki mushrooms only take 1-2 minutes to cook and have a very mild taste which is perfect to absorb all the delicious flavours of its surrounding ingredients.
On the other hand, raw enoki mushrooms have quite a different texture – a more crunchy snap. Be sure to wash and trim the mushrooms well before eating it raw. I love it in a fresh salad or include it in a Vietnamese rice paper roll for something different.
What Are the Health Benefits of Japanese Mushrooms?
Japanese cuisine is one of my absolute favs. I adore the intricate range of dishes. Some are light yet so complex in flavours, whilst others can be wonderfully hearty and satisfying in one pot. And the stunning presentation of Japanese cuisine, just no words can explain.
I’ve always associated traditional Japanese cooking with good health and longevity – small dishes, low in fat, high in good protein. Common Japanese ingredients like seaweed, tofu and matcha are well known for their health properties but mushrooms also bring many nutritional benefits to our overall well-being.
Packed with antioxidants, B vitamins and other nutrients, Japanese mushrooms are highly regarded in their everyday cooking. Antioxidants help neutralise free radicals which is a chemical that can damage cell membranes and other structures and is linked to a variety of diseases including heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Whilst B vitamins aids the body get energy from food and also helps with the production of red blood cells. And being low in fat and a good source of protein, Japanese mushrooms really delivers in the health stakes. We love taking advantage of these health benefits when we’re creating our mushroom salad recipes.
Why I Love Marinated Japanese Mushroom Salad with Sesame Spinach
Because I love Japanese mushrooms.
Because I love earthy notes and savoury bites.
Because I love to balance it with nutty and tangy sesame dressing
Because I love to make super easy salads
Because I love to eat it with rice, noodles, meat or fish
Too many reasons. Actually. You just need to try and tell me.
How to Make Marinated Japanese Mushroom Salad with Sesame Spinach
How to Make Marinade Japanese Mushrooms
In this mushroom salad recipe, I have selected 4 different types of Japanese mushrooms that give various textures and tastes – Shimeji, Enoki, Golden Enoki and Baby King Oyster Mushrooms. However, you don’t have to stick with these ones. You are welcome to try others including shiitake, king oyster, oyster mushrooms or whatever you can find.
Cut the bases of the shimeji, enoki and golden enoki mushrooms. Separate the mushrooms into smaller pieces and place in colander to rinse under water. Make sure there is no dirt left on the mushrooms. Drain and put aside to dry.
Cut the large baby king oyster mushrooms into half lengthways and leave any small ones whole. Give them a good rinse under water and ensure there is no dirt left on them as well. Drain and set aside to dry.
Heat up a pan over high heat with a little olive oil and stir fry mushrooms evenly for a couple of minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan without any liquid to a large bowl. Add the marinade which consists of rice vinegar, mirin, tamari and little sugar for taste. If you prefer more zest, add a little more vinegar or salt if you prefer less.
Stir well to combine the marinade and mushrooms before placing in refrigerator to cool down until serving.
How To Blanch Spinach Leaves
Sounds simple, hey? But there are some little tricks to make sure the spinach is cooked well but not totally soggy in the process. Spinach is high in water content therefore releases a lot of water after cooking. We want to make sure it doesn’t make the salad too wet.
Trim the roots of the spinach and place the leaves into a large bowl of water to rinse and let sand and dirt settle to the bottom of the bowl. Be sure to check and clean the stems and near the roots of the spinach. That’s where a lot of the sand and dirt can be hiding. Repeat process until all the sand is gone. Last thing you want is a gritty salad!
Before you boil the spinach leaves, get a large bowl of cold water ready on the side of the stove. Then in a large pot, bring water to boil and add spinach leaves (stalk first) to blanch. It really only takes about 30 seconds or until you can push down and the stems are not stiff. Do not overcook the spinach leaves.
Quickly remove spinach leaves from boiling water and add to the cold water so it can cool down and stop cooking. This will keep its bright green colour. Once cooled (again should only take 30-60 seconds), gather all the leaves by its stalk and give it a good squeeze to remove excess water. I then normally cut the bunch in half. If you have baby spinach leaves, you may want to leave whole.
Set aside to cool before assembly.
How to Assemble the Mushroom Salad
In a small serving bowl, layer the spinach leaves neatly in a pile. I like to keep in a square shape where the leaves are neatly lined up. Yes, may sound a little pedantic but it’s Japanese! I am generally not concerned about how you pile veggies but for this recipe, I do try. Then add marinated Japanese mushrooms on top.
For the sesame dressing, I have decided to use Kewpie Roasted Sesame Dressing. Not only is it delicious and gives a great nutty tangy taste, it makes it quicker to make this salad. It is readily available in large supermarket chains or in your local Asian grocery store.
Drizzle roasted sesame dressing around the spinach leaves near the base of the salad. Then sprinkle sesame seeds on top to serve.
That’s it. Quick and easy.
And this salad can be made in advance including the blanching of spinach leaves so you can assemble whenever you want to serve. Marinated Japanese mushrooms can also keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of days longer.
For a hearty and delicious meal, serve this Japanese mushrooms recipe with a bowl of steamed rice, grilled fish and miso soup or lighten up by adding to a cold soba noodle dish. Whatever it may be, the delicate earthy flavours and zesty notes of this salad will definitely keep you coming back for more.
More Vegetarian Salad Recipes:
Marinated Japanese Mushroom Salad with Sesame Spinach
- Trim shimeji, enoki and golden enoki mushrooms from the base. Then separate into individual/smaller pieces. Rinse well under water and set aside to dry.
- Cut larger baby king oyster mushrooms in half, lengthways and leave smaller mushrooms whole. Rinse well under water and set aside to dry.
- Over high heat in a large fry pan or wok, add olive oil and mushrooms. Stir-fry mushrooms for a couple of minutes and then remove from pan without any liquid.
- Add to mushrooms, rice vinegar, tamari, mirin and sugar. Stir to combine.
- Leave in refrigerator until serving.
- Trim spinach leaves at the roots.
- In a large bowl of cold water, wash the spinach.
- In a large saucepan bring water to the boil and then add spinach leaves to blanch for 30 seconds or until the leaves are no longer stiff.
- Quickly remove from heat, drain and place spinach leaves in a bowl of cold water to stop it from cooking. Gather the spinach by its roots and squeeze any excess water. Then cut the bunch into half. Set aside.
- In small serving bowl, layer the spinach at the bottom in a neat pile and then add marinated Japanese mushrooms on top.
- Drizzle Kewpie Roasted Sesame dressing around the base of the salad.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds to serve.
- Side dish that matches well with steamed rice, cold ramen noodles or adds balance to meaty dishes like chicken or steak.
- If you can’t find the Japanese mushrooms in the recipe try others including shiitake, king oyster, oyster mushrooms.
- Marinated Japanese mushrooms can keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of days.
- When you're washing the spinach, let the sand and dirt settle to the bottom of the bowl. Be sure to check all the stems. Repeat again until spinach is clear of sand and dirt.