Pressed Salad

Cucumbers, radishes, kale, lettuce waiting to be pressed
Cucumbers, radishes, parsley, lettuce waiting to be pressed

Why press a salad? According to macrobiotics, a pressed salad makes the vegetables easier to digest. It is a way of preparing the vegetables without any cooking.

At first I thought I would need to buy a salad presser to press a salad, but then after an email from Klara convincing me to try putting a heavy bowl on top of the salad I came up with this homemade version of pressing:

My method of pressing: plate, vegetables, bowl and heavy jug of water on top
My method of pressing: plate, vegetables, bowl and heavy jug of water on top

How to Press a Salad

Gather up some vegetables. Here are a few suggestions:

  • kale, chopped or torn into pieces
  • cucumber, sliced (my understanding is peel if it is not organic, you can leave peel on if organic)
  • radishes, sliced (they will be less sharp after pressing)
  • lettuce, torn in pieces
  • sweet onion, chopped
  • parsley, basil or another fresh herb

Put your vegetables on a plate. Sprinkle with sea salt (or whatever salt you have). You can put on some apple cider or rice vinegar, too, according to some recipes (I just use salt). Put whatever heavy objects you need on top of the vegetables for an hour or two or three. The vegetables should soften and release some water, too. You can rinse off the salt and drain any excess water.

Lemon juice might be tasty as an addition, too. Enjoy.

The definition of a pressed salad, from Changing Seasons Macrobiotic Cookbook, by Aveline Kushi and Wendy Esko:

“Very thinly sliced or shredded fresh vegetables, combined with a pickling agent such as sea salt, umeboshi, grain vinegar, or shoyu, and placed in a special pickle press. In the pickling process, many of the enzymes and vitamins are retained while the vegetables become easier to digest.”

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19 thoughts on “Pressed Salad

    • Yes! It is going to be the subject of another post, when I find an excuse to post it. I got into a discussion with “Jewish_Side” about homemade plates; she had made one with ceramics. This is one is done in plastic; you send the drawing away to a factory.

      A post for another day.

  • I didn’t know I have to press the salad – I only press the onions /with some salt and vinegar/ with my bare hands – like squish them. Also cabbage and carrots salad. Never tried to press cucumbers – I’ll try next time!

    • You don’t *have* to press salad, but for some it is easier to eat/digest it if it is pressed. It certainly works well with cucumbers.

      Personally, I find the process itself fun. I like the idea of making something and then coming back a few hours later to eat it.

      • I am totally opposite – I have to gobble the thing immediately – that is why my butt is so big 🙂
        About the Biltmore Estate – you are right – not the typical south. The Biltmore Estate is still family owned. The Vanderbilt family made their fortune on steam boats and railroads mainly. George Vanderbilt – who built the thing in 1895 was born in NY and split his life between Manhattan and Paris, France – the home is design to resemble French chateau. Downtown Asheville, NC had European style architecture – the reason is Vanderbilt gave the land to the town for free as long as they follow the style requirements. He loved the scenery in the mountains – and I totally understand that – I love the Appalachia. I enjoyed living in Asheville for 5 years. Many people moved there since then and the they have problems with car traffic overload now. The web-site for more info is

  • I get such nachas from a long distance student :>) OK, a couple comments, we usually put the vegetables into a bowl, then fit another smaller bowl, with heavy cans inside to give it pressure. Yes, there should be liquid and yes, it should definitely be poured off. My mother, z”l, used to make a Hungarian cucumber salad, also as Ellie does, she’d add salt, let it sit and then squish out the liquid. I think the basic idea is the same, makes it more digestible. (but then she added sugar :<( )

    looking forward to plate post, got something to say there too.

    • I made a pressed salad at my in-laws last week. My father-in-law had no idea why I put a large heavy can of olive oil on top of a plate on top of vegetables. He thought I was trying to serve the olive oil and took it off.

      Someone mentioned a family recipe for squishing cucumbers as well.

    • I do find it a little easier. But mostly I find it fun. I’m exploring. I don’t usually care for cucumbers, but if they are pressed like this I like them better.

    • I’m hardly an expert on the why or how it works, but it does get a mention in Total Breast Health by Robin Keuneke, which is included in Google Books.

  • In trying ” pressed ” salad method, I have yet to find out if refrigeration is recommended during the pressing period.

    • I don’t recall anything about refrigeration, but I would suppose if it’s quite warm, at a certain point, it would be a health hazard. Not sure what that point would be! Good question.

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