Spinach Salad (Spinach Goma-ae)

The name of this recipe literally means “spinach dressed with sesame seeds.” If you think that sounds easy, well, it is! As with most Japanese dishes, it’s just a few simple ingredients that make for a complex flavour punch.

Serves 4


  • 1 pound (450 g) fresh spinach, washed well, stems kept on
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) granulated sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) sake
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (22.5 mL) soy sauce


  1. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Boil the spinach for about 30 seconds, or until it just wilts and is still a vibrant green colour. Using a slotted spoon or spider immediately plunge into the bowl of ice water. Allow spinach to cool completely.
  2. Drain the spinach, and squeeze it to remove excess water. Chop the spinach into 2- to 2 1/2-inch (5–6 cm) lengths, and set aside.
  3. Place the sesame seeds in a blender or food processor and grind until powdery. Add the sugar, if using, and blend. Add the soy sauce and sake, and then process until combined.
  4. In a bowl, coat the boiled spinach with the sesame-seed dressing. Serve drizzled with the dressing and garnished with whole sesame seeds.



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