The Healthy Vibrance of Korean Salads

By Rūta Balžekaitė

It is much easier than you think to fight the summer heat with something refreshing and simple-to-make, especially if you can mix it up at home and not spend every penny in a fancy restaurant. Many people choose salad as an option and for a good reason: vegetables can increase your mood and when you find the best combination, it can become your new favorite healthy snack! Korean cuisine has many perks, paying attention to every detail so that the meal would be not only good for you, but also satisfying, thus creating a variety of unique salads for people to enjoy.

Korean Cucumber Salad (오이무침)

Simple and perfect as a side dish or just a nice tangy snack to munch on when you want something savory. This salad differs from how the usual side dish is made, leaving the seasoning light and the cucumber taste still present and fresh. Just cut the cucumbers into slices, coat them in soy sauce, vinegar, sugar or honey, chili powder or chili pepper paste, season with sesame seeds, some green onions and they’re good to go! Making this will only take about five minutes and leaving it for a day will let the cucumbers soak in and have that wonderful tangy, spicy and sweet taste. You can try it out by following the recipe here.


Cabbage Ramen Salad

Sometimes salad making becomes almost like an experiment, depending on what kind of ingredients you have in your home. If you do not want to go grocery shopping just for a quick breakfast and cannot wait to turn to your kitchen for a food hunt, this salad might be the one you are looking for.

All you need is two packs of ramen noodles to break them and roast in a pan, some chopped cabbage, carrots and green onion to mix. The crunchiness of the ramen can also be accompanied by some nuts of your choice and, of course, let’s not forget about the dressing which makes this meal complete. It might not be that light, but it sure is delicious! You can check out the full recipe here.


Korean Acorn Jelly Salad (도토리묵 무침)

Made from acorn starch and called dotori-muk, this jelly ingredient is perfect for people on a diet - it has no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol. The jelly has a slightly bitter taste, so combining it with fresh vegetables and special dressing gives it a unique experience for your taste buds. Dotori-muk originated in mountainous areas, where many oak trees produced enough acorns to be a viable food source each autumn. You can find the full vegan recipe here.


Bok Choy Persimmon Kimchi Salad (청경채 감 겉절이 샐러드)

A collaboration with the freshness of the crisp bok choy and sweetness of a ripe persimmon, complemented by spicy and tangy dressing is a perfect salad to eat with a bowl of rice. As it is common in most Korean salads and side dishes, the dressing usually contains soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, vinegar, chili pepper flakes, and in this recipe an addition of  corn syrup, lemon and fish sauce is also included. You can give it a try and make this wonderful Korean salad at home, following the recipe here.

In Korean the word “salad” is easily recognizable because it sounds almost the same as the English one (saelleodeu - 샐러드), but there is another word that you can describe a dish made by seasoning and mixing edible grass, vegetables, dried or raw fish, etc. - muchim (무침). Some salads are more fit to be side dishes because of the strong taste of the dressing, so it is best to eat them with either rice or meat, but some are perfect as a light and healthy meal option. If you decide to pack a lunch for school, work or just for a picnic with friends, bring a salad that will provide you with vitamins, and if you make your favorite - give you a mood boost.

Have you found your favorite salad or would like to try one? Let us know and comment below!

Written by Ruta Balzekaite

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