Hourensou no Goma-ae (Spinach salad with sesame sauce)

Impress your guests with this easy to make Japanese classic.

Impress your guests with this easy to make Japanese classic.

Whether served as a side dish to a meal or eaten as a snack on its own, this Japanese salad is delicious and filling. It’s filled with umami flavour, vegetarian, gluten free and packed with vitamins and minerals. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes to prepare from start to finish! Though many local joints typically shortcut this recipe and use peanut butter (no-no!), goma-ae quite literally translates to goma (sesame) ae (sauce). Tahini is an acceptable substitute in this dressing if you need it in a pinch, but toasting your own seeds, as in the recipe below, contributes the best flavour to the dish. Itadakimasu!


450 g Spinach (approximate equivalent to 1 frozen bag)

1 ½ tbsp Soy Sauce

1 tsp Mirin

1/3 cup White Sesame Seeds

½ tsp Sugar

Salt to taste


1. On low heat, toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan until they’re light golden brown. Be careful not to burn them!

2. Meanwhile, rinse the spinach thoroughly (if fresh) and blanch in salted boiling water.

3. Transfer to an ice bath after two minutes to stop the cooking process.

4. Once cooled, remove the spinach from the ice bath and squeeze out the excess water, then chop.

5. With a mortar and pestle, grind the seeds to release their flavour.

6. Stir in the wet ingredients, and once combined into a paste-like dressing, mix in with the spinach.

7. Sprinkle whole toasted sesame seeds over top if you wish (optional).

8. Serve warm or cold, and enjoy!