Spinach Goma-ae

Marc Matsumoto

Hi! I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques while giving you the confidence and inspiration to cook without recipes too!

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Spinach Goma-ae

Hourensou no goma-ae (菠薐草の胡麻和え) literally translates to "spinach dressed with sesame seeds". If that sounds simple, that's because it is. With only a handful of other ingredients, it's a quick Japanese salad that's served as a side for breakfast, lunch or dinner. While the nutty sesame and verdant spinach are the dominant flavors, goma-ae is also smoky, subtly sweet and full of umami, thanks to the dashi-based dressing.

Spinach Goma-ae

We all know that spinach is loaded with vitamins A and C, but by pairing it with sesame seeds, this dish is a more complete source of nutrients, replete with protein, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin B-6. Best of all, it will keep refrigerated for a few days, so you can make a big batch during the weekend and enjoy your goma-ae during the week.

Although I use toasted sesame seeds, I prefer toasting them again just before using them. Like spices, the flavor of sesame seeds degrades as they sit on a grocery store shelf, by giving them a quick toast, it resurrects some of that lost nutty goodness.

Spinach Goma-ae

For the dashi, it may be tempting to simply rehydrate the granulated variety, but I wouldn't recommend it. It's like the difference between using bouillon and homemade chicken stock, and since dashi is the main flavor of the dressing, it will make a noticeable difference. Check out my tips for making dashi from scratch and use the leftovers for making miso soup

While spinach is the most common vegetable for making goma-ae, it's also made with green bean, carrots, or almost any leafy green.

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Spinach Goma-aeHourensou no goma-ae (菠薐草の胡麻和え) literally translates to "spinach dressed with sesame seeds". If that sounds simple, that's because it is. With only a handful of other ingredients, it's a quick Japanese salad that's served as a side for breakfast, lunch or dinner. While the nutty sesame and verdant s...

Summary

  • Coursesalad
  • CuisineJapanese
  • Yield4 side
  • Cooking Time4 minutesPT0H4M
  • Preparation Time10 minutesPT0H10M
  • Total Time14 minutesPT0H14M

Ingredients

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30 grams
Toasted sesame seeds (~1/3 cup)
450 grams
Spinach
1 teaspoon
Soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon
Sugar - granulated
1/8 teaspoon
Salt

Steps

  1. Bring a very large pot full of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water.
  2. Cook the spinach in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and spinach, rinse briefly with cool water, and then dump the spinach into the ice water.
    Spinach Goma-ae
  3. Retrieve the spinach by the pink roots, and squeeze out as much water as you can.
  4. Chop the roots off and then cut the spinach into 2-inch (5 cm) long pieces.
    Spinach Goma-ae
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the dashi, soy sauce and sugar together. Add the spinach to the bowl and toss well to distribute the sauce evenly.
  6. In a small food processor or blender, add the cooled toasted sesame seeds and salt and process until the sesame seeds are ground and start to look like wet sand.
    Spinach Goma-ae
  7. Dump the ground sesame seeds in with the spinach and mix to evenly distribute.
    Spinach Goma-ae

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