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.
Course Appetizer, Salad, Sides
Cuisine Japanese
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Vegetable
Diet Dairy-Free, Low-Fat, Pescatarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes
Servings 4 side


  • 30 grams toasted sesame seeds (~1/3 cup)
  • 450 grams spinach
  • 1 tablespoon dashi
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  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.
  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.
  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.
  7. Dump the ground sesame seeds in with the spinach and mix to evenly distribute.