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Zucchini, Soy Sauce Flake, and Pickled Ginger Salad

Zucchini, Soy Sauce Flake, and Pickled Ginger Salad

Renée Robinson

Now This is a Salad Worthy of Discussion.

Here is a salad that knocked me out.  As you’ve heard me say, salads do not take a back seat in my meals. They’re never an afterthought. In fact, there are many times when I decide on a particular salad and build my meal around it. When I’ve got such bright and complex flavors going on in my salad, simplicity is called for in the rest of the meal. In this case, crispy chicken thighs and white Japanese rice filled the bill.

Whenever I use zucchini in a salad I always scoop out the seeded centers. Those centers get mushy and release liquid into a salad, so they’ve gotta go. It only takes a couple of minutes and it’s very much worth it for the end result.

I don’t know if you’ve ever eaten the pickled ginger commonly served with sushi in any other context, but it’s so delicious I keep a jar on hand most of the time. In this case, it adds the perfect bright hit of flavor to the otherwise deeply flavored toasted sesame oil dressing.

The dressing is simply a mixture of toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, olive oil, and sugar. But it packs a whole lot of flavor and mild zucchini is perfect for soaking up the lovely dressing.

A good friend, who happens to also be an exceptional cook, recently introduced me to a product that I immediately fell in love with. Knowing I’m a huge fan of chili crisp, he was right in thinking I’d flip for this. It’s called Saku Saku Crunchy Soy Sauce Flake by Kikkoman. There is no chile in it, hence no heat. Instead you get a heavy hit of crunchy soy, sesame, garlic, onion, etc. It’s fantastic and was perfect on this salad. It’s also great on plain white rice and many other things. As of right now, I can’t locate a local outlet that carries it. It’s only available online. I’m hoping that changes. But you could definitely use chili crisp instead. 

As I was mixing the salad I decided sesame seeds were needed and added toasted white sesame seeds, as well as black sesame seeds. Nothing else was needed. This salad really does have it all.

Zucchini, Soy Sauce Flake, and Pickled Ginger Salad

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Cubes of fresh zucchini are combined with sliced red onions, black and white sesame seeds, and a toasted sesame oil dressing. But that's not all. Crunchy soy sauce flake and pickled ginger turn this into an off the charts bowl of surprising flavors and textures. Nothing at all average about this salad.

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  • 3 large zucchini, approximately 1.5 pounds, scrubbed

  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  • 1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds

  • 1/4 cup pickled ginger

  • Saku Saku Crunchy Soy Sauce Flake or chili crisp

  • Sesame Dressing
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar


  • Slice the zucchini in half, lengthwise, and using a small spoon, scoop out the centers that contain all the seeds. Discard the centers.
  • Slice the zucchini into 1/2 inch cubes. Put in a large bowl with the sliced onion.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the Sesame Dressing ingredients. Toss the zucchini, onions, and both sesame seeds with the dressing.
  • Garnish with the pickled ginger and as much Saku Saku Flake or chili crisp as you’d like. Enjoy!

5 Responses

  1. I tried to order the Saku Saku but it is $7.50 per package, minimum purchase two packages plus $40 delivery to Canada. All prices in US dollars which makes this extraordinarily expensive as the exchange rate is close to 40%.
    Is it really essential to add this to the recipe? It sounds amazing but….

    1. OMG, Lynne. That’s outrageous. Yeah, forget it. Use chili crisp instead and add a little extra soy sauce. You’ll be good. I wouldn’t use a chili crispy that’s super hot. But a normal chili crisp will work fine here.

    2. Lynne, I’m in Canada too…whereabouts are you? I’m in BC, and can’t believe that there’s no where else to get it!

  2. We are in Italy and just had a wonderful salad with thinly sliced zucchini and soy. I thought I need more of this in my life!

    1. How wonderful!!! I can only imagine all the spectacular food you must be enjoying. Yeah, zucchini and soy make for a great pairing. Simple, but delicious. ☺️

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