Enjoy fresh mizuna lettuce in this easy salad recipe with sliced crisp apples, raisins, sunflower seeds and a honey lemon dijon dressing.
If you’re a regular reader and thinking “jeez, another salad?!”, sorry.
Well, not really actually. This is what happens every year. You should be used to it by now.
And so, this gorgeous bunch of mizuna lettuce from the farmer’s market last weekend inspired a salad that fits the bill.
I love breaking up “normal” salads with fun leafy greens like the tatsoi salad I recently posted and these mizuna greens.
Sometimes I mix them together for an eclectic green base and other times, like this one, I just let the fancy greens shine on their own.
This mizuna deserved that.
INGREDIENTS FOR MIZUNA SALAD
The mizuna recipe is simple letting the lettuce play the main role.
The dressing is really where the flavor kicks in and it’s such an easy and delicious combination I bet you’ll end up making it on repeat for many other homemade salads to come.
MIZUNA SALAD INGREDIENTS
- 1 large bunch mizuna, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 1/2 a large tart sweet apple such as Honeycrisp cut into matchsticks
- sunflower seeds
MIZUNA SALAD DRESSING
- extra virgin olive oil
- freshly squeezed lemon juice
- dijon mustard
- apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper
MAKING THE MIZUNA SALAD
Grab a large salad bowl and add the chopped mizuna lettuce, apple slices, raisins and sunflower seeds.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a separate small bowl or jar and pour on top of the salad before serving.
Toss until each piece of mizuna is well coated in the dressing.
It’s best to dress the salad right before serving.
Both the salad and dressing can easily be prepped in advance and kept separately.
WHAT IS MIZUNA LETTUCE?
Mizuna, also known as brassica rapa is a leafy green that belongs to the mustard family. It’s sometimes also called Japanese mustard greens or spider mustard.
With the genus “brassica” you’re probably familiar with the fact that it means mizuna is a relative to other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
It just happens to be on the leafier side of the classification like kale greens.
It’s a fast growing, medium sized tender green that grows in bunches (I actually grew it last year in my garden with very little effort at all).
The most distinguishing feature of mizuna lettuce is probably its deeply serrated leaf edges. It almost looks like a twin of dandelion greens except with even more pronounced serrated edging.
WHERE TO FIND MIZUNA GREENS
Many grocery stores, especially those that lean to the natural food side of things will carry mizuna lettuce in their produce department.
You’ll often find it near escarole or other chicory in the grocery store but it’s much more mild than escarole and other bitter greens.
I’ve always seen it in stock at Whole Foods and even sometimes at more national stores like my local Shoprite.
That said, farmer markets are my favorite place to source mizuna as it tends to be both locally grown and organic.
As mentioned, it’s a very easy green to grow yourself and worth adding to your leafy green collection if you have a garden.
It has a long growing season, can do well in colder climates and doesn’t attract many pests.
In fact, I had no issues with any pests whatsoever on the mizuna lettuce in my garden last year. It was one of the few plants I could say that about!
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF MIZUNA
Mizuna greens may not have the famous reputation of something like kale but as a leafy green in the cruciferous family, they’re an obvious healthy choice.
It’s low in calories but high in vitamins A and K and minerals such as folate and iron.
Like most vegetables, it’s also a great source of antioxidants such as quercetin, beta carotene and kaempferol, a lesser known antioxidant associated with anticancer effects.
WHAT DOES MIZUNA TASTE LIKE?
This lettuce is a unique one.
From a taste perspective it falls right in the middle where milder typical lettuce greens (think romaine, red leaf, etc.) and spinach are on one side and pungent dandelions, mustard greens and sharp arugula are on the other.
Its position on this leafy green spectrum is part of the reason I love mizuna lettuce so much.
It has enough personality to stand out on its own in a salad like this but not too much that the bitterness becomes off-putting and you need a bunch of extra ingredients to distract from it (which is sort of how I feel about endive or radicchio).
Its perfectly balanced flavor shines in this salad recipe where crunchy tart sweet apple slices and sweet raisins accompany it creating a simple but elegant mizuna recipe.
The honey lemon dijon dressing ties everything together in a perfectly sweet and tangy way that will have you searching again and again for mizuna lettuce next shopping trip.
While the apples in this mizuna salad recipe may evoke more of a fall feel, I personally think Honeycrisp are a year round fruit.
I don’t say that about all apples but I do feel that way about this type in particular with its perfectly juicy tart sweetness.
That said, feel free to swap out apples for a more seasonally appropriate fruit of choice.
I think any stone fruit like plums, nectarines, cherries or peaches would work wonderfully in combination with the mizuna greens and honey lemon dijon dressing.
MORE SIMPLE SALAD RECIPES LIKE THIS:
Mizuna Lettuce Salad
- 1 large bunch fresh mizuna lettuce, washed, dried and chopped
- 1/2 tart sweet apple, thinly sliced into matchsticks
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey, or maple syrup for vegan option
- pinch Kosher salt
- pinch black pepper
- Combine the mizuna, apples, raisins and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.
- Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Pour over the salad and toss until well combined.
- Serve and enjoy once dressed.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.