Green Salad with Japanese Pickled Onions & Wafu Onion Dressing

Green salad with pickled onions, pine nuts and Japanese wafu onion dressing
Add cooked chicken or grilled shrimp to turn this tasty salad into a cool summer meal!

Nothing tastes better with grilled everything than a crisp green salad bejeweled with tasty pickled onions and a tangy wafu dressing that’ll knock your socks off!


Assorted mixed greens, torn into bite-sized pieces (I like a combo of arugula, frisee and red & green lettuces)

Avocado, cubed

Pine nuts

Sliced green onions

Cilantro leaves

Fresh pickled onions (recipe below)

Wafu Dressing (recipe below)

Ingredients for green salad with pickled onions, pine nuts and Japanese wafu onion dressing
These are the things I like to put in mine, but you can add whatever is fresh and sounds good. Add cooked shrimp or chicken to turn this into a light summer meal with no slaving over a hot stove!

Wafu Dressing

Bottle of Japanese wafu onion dressing

1/4 c. + 4 t. (80ml) soy sauce

1/4 c. + 2 t. (70ml) rice vinegar

4 t. (40ml) water

8 t. (80ml) toasted sesame oil

1/2 c. (120ml) peanut oil or other mild salad oil (not olive oil)

1 t. (4g) sugar

1 t. (4g) salt

1/2 t. (2g) dry mustard

3/4 c. (180g) minced yellow onion

Whisk all ingredients together and store in refrigerator. Will last a month in the fridge (but I guarantee it’ll be long gone before then!)

Fresh Pickled Onions

Jar of homemade pickled red onions

1 purple onion

1 c. (236ml) rice vinegar (unseasoned)

1 c. (236ml) water

3 T. (45g) sugar

1 T. (15g) salt


1 garlic clove

1 t. mixed peppercorns

Slice the onion and put the pieces in a 16-oz (or two 8-oz) jars. Add the garlic and peppercorns (if desired).

You can slice them really really thin if you want a silky sort of pickle, but I like them a little crunchy, so I cut them about 1/8″ (3mm) thick.

Stir together the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the sugar and salt dissolve (about a minute). Let cool and pour over the onions. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then store the onions in the fridge.

Before and after! This is after one night in the fridge

The onions are pickled and ready to eat when they turn pink, like the ones in the photo. Very thinly sliced onions will be pickled and ready to eat after an hour in the fridge; those that are sliced as thickly as the ones in the picture take an overnight stay.

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Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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