Smoked Salmon & Avocado Salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing

Smoked Salmon Salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing by

Whip up a tart, tangy, savory, salty, sweet, homemade ponzu sauce for your summer dishes!

Ponzu sauce pairs so well with the flavor of smoked salmon. It’s a combination I’ve been using often during these steamy July days when I still want to make a satisfying, healthy meal at home without having to stand over the heat of the stove.

A favorite is this Smoked Salmon & Avocado Salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing.

Homemade ponzu sauce dressing recipe with Japanese Chili Flakes by

Ponzu is a Japanese citrus-based sauce that adds a dynamic punch of flavor to salads, marinades, and dipping sauces. You can buy a pre-made ponzu sauce, but for a healthier, tastier version, try making it at home. 

The ingredients in ponzu can vary, but start with a good base and then make it your own. Here are a few tips:

  • If available, add in the juice from yuzu or sudachi (popular Japanese citrus fruits). I usually keep it simple and just use lemon & lime as a quick alternative.
  • Add in rice vinegar, an essential ingredient. 
  • For sweetness, add in mirin (Japanese sweetened rice wine). As an alternative, you can use sake – or white wine or dry sherry – along with a bit of sugar.
  • Traditional ponzu will usually include a fish and/or seaweed flavoring. You can omit the flavor for a lighter, more versatile sauce. If you want that stronger umami taste, add in some dashi stock, or a little fish sauce.
  • Ponzu can be made with or without soy sauce. I make both versions based on the dish I will be using it for. Try leaving it out for a simple salad dressing, and adding it in for a marinade or dipping sauce.
When you have your base ponzu sauce, add in a few more favorites – try olive oil, toasted sesame oil, honey, and Japanese chili flakes (Ichimi Togarashi).

Smoked Salmon Salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing recipe by

Make the homemade ponzu dressing in a big batch and store it in the fridge for flavoring all sorts of summer dishes, like this Smoked Salmon & Avocado Salad.

The salad is a quick mix of arugula, avocado, cucumber, and smoked salmon. Then tossed well with the ponzu dressing, and topped with our Japanese Sesame Seasoning (Gomashio).

It’s a delicious salad that fits well in all settings, whether you’re enjoying it at a relaxing picnic, or at an elaborate summer dinner.

Smoked Salmon Salad with Japanese Ponzu Sauce by

Smoked Salmon & Avocado Salad with Japanese Ponzu Dressing 
by Season with Spice
Serves 4-6

8oz smoked salmon – thinly sliced
Large handful of wild arugula
2 avocados – diced
1 English cucumber – cut in rounds and halved
2 tbsp of Season with Spice’s Japanese Sesame Seasoning (Gomashio)

Homemade Ponzu Dressing: 
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp lemon juice or lime juice (or a combination)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp honey
1- 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
1/2 tsp of Season with Spice’s Japanese Chili Flakes (Ichimi Togarashi)

1. In a large salad bowl, combine the ingredients for the ponzu dressing, and whisk well.
2. Add in the arugula, avocado, and cucumbers. Give it a good toss. Add in the smoked salmon and lightly toss again. Taste and adjust any seasonings if needed. Sprinkle in our Japanese Sesame Seasoning. Enjoy immediately!