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Spinach Gomaae (Spinach with Sesame Sauce) ほうれん草の胡麻和え

Spinach Gomaae (Spinach with Sesame Sauce) Recipe | JustOneCookbook.com

Spinach or green beans are often dressed in sesame sauce in Japanese cuisine.  Goma means sesame seed in Japanese and Goma-ae are dishes prepared with sesame sauce.  The delicate texture of freshly ground sesame seeds pairs very well with flavorful vegetables.

Spinach Gomaae | Spinach with Sesame Sauce @ JustOneCookbook.com

This is one of the most common Japanese side dishes, or we call it Osouzai (お惣菜) in Japanese, and you often find them included in the bento box or teishoku (lunch set).  Enjoy!

Spinach Gomaae | Spinach with Sesame Sauce @ JustOneCookbook.com

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Spinach Gomaae (Spinach with Sesame Sauce)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 bunch (1/2 lb, 220 g) spinach
  • A pinch of salt
Sesame Sauce
  1. For the sesame sauce, put sesame seeds in a frying pan and toast them on low heat. When 2-3 sesame seeds start to pop from the pan, remove from the heat.
  2. Grind the toasted sesame seeds with a motor and pestle until smooth.
  3. In a bowl, combine the ground sesame seeds with soy sauce, sugar, sake and mirin, and mix all together.
  4. Rinse the spinach thoroughly and bring lightly salted water to a boil in a large pot.
  5. Add the spinach to boiling water from stem side and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Drain and soak the spinach in cold water until cool.
  7. Collect the spinach and squeeze water out.
  8. Cut the spinach into 2” (5 cm) lengths.
  9. Toss spinach and sesame sauce together and serve at room temperature or chilled.
American spinach is very soft and we can eat it raw unlike Japanese spinach; therefore, cooking for 1 minute is more than enough.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: Pictures updated in August 2012.

Posted in: 30 Minutes Or Less, Appetizers, Healthy Recipes, Quick & Easy, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Tofu & Eggs, Vegetarian

Leave a Comment

+ 3 = seven

  • kat March 30, 2011, 12:34 am

    ooh I just made this yesterday, I think I like the sound of your sauce better, mine was a little too salty.

    • Nami March 30, 2011, 1:19 am

      Morning Kat! Mmm mine can be more sweeter side because that’s my prerence… =P Let me know what you think – hopefully not too sweet for you.

      • kat March 30, 2011, 2:07 am

        will let you know :)

  • Joe Chang March 30, 2011, 12:37 am

    Hi Nami,

    I went to Norikonoko in Berkeley and their Gomae is black color and sweet. Is there a different way they make it compare to yours?

    Please help!


    • Nami March 30, 2011, 1:22 am

      Hi Joe! I’m really happy you found my site. :-) It’s been a while since I met you last time! So, I am thinking… Norikonoko probably uses black sesame seeds instead of white sesame seeds. Taste should be same/similar (at least I don’t notice the difference) and my sauce is also sweet, not salty. Thanks again!

  • Firefly March 30, 2011, 12:40 am

    That looks so yummy and I love sesame seeds :) This would be my perfect side dish! I need to try your sauce, I make something similar with sesame seeds and soy sauce, and I’ve used it on green beans and on broccoli it was so yummy :) but I need to try the extra ingredients you put in!

    • Nami March 30, 2011, 1:24 am

      Hi Suzana! I actually have another recipes waiting… Green Bean Goma-ae, yes same as what you made! I also have ones with tofu in it too… I kind of hesitant to post just side dishes since it sounds so boring…but maybe I should post once in a while. Hope you find Mirin and sake… these make the sauce more mild. Mirin is an important condiment for Japanese cooking.

      • Firefly March 31, 2011, 10:54 am

        I need to visit a Japanese store near me and stock up on yummy things I see in your recipes :) Side dishes are fun, I mostly struggle with them LOL It takes me time to think what to make as a side, and what all of us will eat so I don’t have to make 2 or 3 different things :)

        • Nami March 31, 2011, 1:46 pm

          Not sure where you live, but I hope the Japanese store has lots of good stuff! Same here, side dishes are sometimes difficult to plan after you spend so much time for main dish, you know. I just saw your blogroll. Thank you for adding mine. I need to start building a blogroll page… Hm another work to do!

  • Ellena March 30, 2011, 12:48 am

    Em.. this look easy to prepare with all your detail photos and write up :) And now i knw what is that bowl used for too (grinding peanuts).

    • Nami March 30, 2011, 1:27 am

      Hi Ellena! I debated for a long time if step-by-step pictures are necessary (afraid of being heavy to load), but I hear good feedback about it, so I am adding step-by-step pictures. I just need extra time to cook since I have to document each step with camera…but I guess my kids will appreciate it too one day! Your new post made me super hungry. Better go to bed (1:30am now) and look at your pictures tomorrow. =P

  • Gourmantine March 30, 2011, 1:38 am

    Nami, this looks wonderful, so fresh and perfect for spring! I’ve just spend the morning browsing through your lovely blog. My japanese cooking usually does not go beyond making sushi, so looking forward to trying your recipes! Spinach is for tonight and have my mind set on trying Menchi Katsu soon! :)

    • Nami March 30, 2011, 10:00 am

      Hello Gourmantine! Well, I can’t make sushi (besides Chirashi, California roll, and maybe handrolls), so you are awesome! Menchi Katsu… I haven’t cooked that for a while. I should replace my old picture too. :-) Thanks for your visit!

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking March 30, 2011, 9:34 am

    What a fun dish, and delicious looking! I love spinach and sesame seeds, will try this for sure!!!!

    • Nami March 30, 2011, 9:54 am

      Thanks Sandra! I love your energy from the morning – first thing to do is to check your post. Always something delicious there. ;-)

  • Biren @ Roti n Rice March 30, 2011, 10:37 am

    I love the goma sauce but take the easy way out by using the store bought ones that come in a bottle. Homemade is definitely better and more fragrant :)

    • Nami March 30, 2011, 10:54 am

      Hi Biren! And cheeper. =P But if you cook “goma-ae” a lot, store bought ones are not a bad option AT ALL!

  • Kim Chiu March 30, 2011, 10:44 am

    Hi Nami!

    Thanks for the post! Looks delicious! can’t wait to try!

    -Kim Chiu

    • Nami March 30, 2011, 10:55 am

      Hi Kim! No problem. Thanks for the request! I thought I didn’t have spinach goma-ae like you requested (I knew I have “green bean” goma-ae in my draft). I’m glad I found it. ;-)

  • Belinda @zomppa March 30, 2011, 10:57 am

    The roasted sesame adds such great depth to this – simple and delicious.

    • Nami March 30, 2011, 1:42 pm

      Agree. So simple yet I don’t get tired of it eating for 30 + years… LOL.

  • Beth Michelle March 30, 2011, 11:38 am

    I love spinach, this sauce looks amazing. I’m thinking it may be the perfect side dish to seared tuna. Yum

    • Nami March 30, 2011, 1:41 pm

      Hi Beth! Yeah that’s a good main dish choice to go with this spinach. Thanks for visiting.

  • Karen March 31, 2011, 12:36 pm

    I love anything with sesame. Your sauce sounds delicious. Great dish!

    • Nami March 31, 2011, 1:42 pm

      Thanks Karen!

  • Jess @ littlegirlbigappetite March 31, 2011, 3:47 pm

    Yum I didnt know this dish was so simple to make! Going to try this out as soon as I get my hands on some spinach! thank you!

    • Nami March 31, 2011, 5:39 pm

      Thanks Jess!

  • Happy When Not Hungry March 31, 2011, 7:04 pm

    This looks so delicious and healthy! Love anything with sesame seeds too :-)

    • Nami March 31, 2011, 8:43 pm

      Thanks Kara!

  • SANDY March 31, 2011, 9:37 pm

    I have to make this dish. Love spinach and sesame.

    • Nami March 31, 2011, 9:47 pm

      Sandy – Hope you like this taste! :-)

  • Sandy April 7, 2011, 12:41 pm

    I am going to make this today. The only problem is that I don’t have cooking sake, and don’t know where to purchase sake in my state. I will replace it with white wine. Hope it will work well.

    • Nami April 7, 2011, 12:54 pm

      Hi Sandy! Thank you for making this! It’s only 1/2 tsp, so without it is okay. We don’t cook and evaporate alcohol (sake/wine) so it’s better to leave it out than having “alcohol taste.” Depending on kind of wine, it could be little too much. You can maybe add after you mix up without wine, then taste it first before you add wine? It will taste just fine without it. :-)

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) May 11, 2011, 4:43 am

    I made spinach with roasted sesame a while ago, but I haven’t tried sesame sauce yet. Can’t wait to try it out!

    • Nami May 12, 2011, 2:46 pm

      Hi Kath! Well, the texture is very different. You will grind the sesame so it’s more of paste than seeds. The sweet miso and sesame sauce goes well with spinach. :-) Hope you will like it!

  • Medifast Coupons May 16, 2011, 1:11 pm

    Very nice side choice. Popeye would love this spinach!

    • Nami May 17, 2011, 10:41 am

      Thank you!

  • Jenn (Cookies Cupcakes Cardio) May 16, 2011, 6:24 pm

    Goma-ae is my FAVOURITE go to dish at any Japanese restaurant I visit. Your tutorial makes it totally possible to make it at home! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just saw your previous post was Agedashi Tofu…I’m headed there next!

    • Nami May 17, 2011, 10:42 am

      Hello Jenn! Thank you so much for visiting my site and leaving a comment. I’m very happy to know that my recipe will be helpful. :-)

  • Adeline January 14, 2012, 10:23 pm

    Hi! Just wanted to check if I wanted to make this dish for a bento box (and a quick fix in the morning), is it okay to make the sesame paste/sauce the night before, leave it in the fridge and just add it to the blanched vegetables in the morning? Probably would steam/heat up the sauce after its out from the fridge, or is that unnecessary? Many thanks in advance!

    • Nami January 14, 2012, 10:28 pm

      Hi Adeline! Thank you for asking the question. This was one of items that my mom often put in my lunch box. She put leftover from the dinner. She kept it in the fridge and put it in the box next day. In Japan we don’t heat up bento at school, so we ate it at room temperature. I love this food both in cold or at room temperature. This is one of the very common bento items in Japan too and you can make it ahead. Make sure to keep in the fridge overnight. Enjoy!

  • d'shon March 11, 2012, 4:46 pm

    just tried your goma ae recipe…it is WONDERFUL! it tastes exactly like the goma ae that japanese restaurants in chicago make. twelve years after moving away, we finally have this delicious dish back! thank you so much.

    • Nami March 11, 2012, 6:31 pm

      Hi d’shon! You are very welcome! I’m so happy to hear you liked this recipe! I’ve been cooking this for years, and I really like this flavor. :-) Thank you so much for your feedback!

  • Stephanie July 27, 2012, 9:16 pm

    So simple and so tasty! I will have to try to make this as a side dish for dinner one of these days..

  • Brian August 7, 2012, 5:43 pm

    Thank you for posting this..I have been wanting this recipe ever since living in Japan!

  • Reksi September 14, 2012, 10:33 pm

    Hi, thanks for posting this! Yesterday I ate this in a Japanese all you can eat restaurant…It tasted heavenly! But by the way, can I remake this without sake and mirin (what does mirin tastes like)? I can’t remake this with sake because I completely avoid alcohol :)

    • Nami September 15, 2012, 12:50 am

      Hi Reksi! You can avoid both – but you need to add little more sugar because mirin is sweet. Hope you will enjoy this recipe!

  • Megan H November 11, 2012, 3:35 pm

    HI Nami, A friend passed on your blog. I am going to start making your recipes. I went to a Korean Japanese store to stock up my pantry. This is so delicious, I will definitely make this again. I started following you on Instagram, you will see a lot of my pics from your blog. meghui604

    • Nami November 13, 2012, 9:48 am

      Hi Megan! Thank you so much for trying this recipe and I’m glad you stocked up your pantry with ingredients! :) Thanks for following my IG – I look forward to your updates!

  • Evelyn Hsu October 21, 2013, 3:57 am

    Hi! I just found your website and everything looks delicious…. thank you for sharing. This one really good…. when I’m done and taste it, it just not of what I imagine in my mind, really surprise me. I tried couple of your recipie too… (I think my husband love me more…. hahahhaa ^_^)

    • Nami October 21, 2013, 9:52 pm

      Hi Evelyn! I’m so glad you found my site! Thank you so much for trying my recipes and I’m happy you and your husband enjoyed them. Isn’t it great feeling that someone you love enjoy what you cook and become happy? It’s powerful thing! :)

  • Charles December 6, 2013, 6:37 am

    This is one of my favourite Japanese salads, Tasty and simple.
    Very easy to follow and understand Thank you Nami san

    • Nami December 6, 2013, 8:49 am

      Hello Charles! I hope you like this dish. It’s simple and delicious! 気に入ってもらえると嬉しいです。ありがとう!

  • E Sato February 2, 2014, 9:30 pm

    Thank you for this recipe Nami. I made this using toasted black sesame seeds and it came out so delicious! My husband and I love your recipes.

    • Nami February 4, 2014, 9:47 am

      Aww I’m so glad you and your husband liked it! Thank you so much for your feedback. I’m happy to hear you enjoy my recipes. xo :)

  • Allyson February 12, 2014, 7:53 am

    Can you cheat and use store bought ‘suri-goma’ instead? If so, would you use the same amount or less?

    • Nami February 12, 2014, 8:31 pm

      Hi Allyson! I like to roast sesame seeds and grind to get more flavor, but yes, you can use suri-goma (ground sesame seeds). It’s great way to save time! You can use less amount as it’s already ground. Maybe about 2 Tbsp. should be enough. Hope this helps. :)

  • Avis Lo March 5, 2014, 4:28 pm

    i’m in Vancouver Canada and would like to know where I can get ready made gomae sauce

    • Nami March 5, 2014, 6:33 pm

      Hi Avis! I’ve been to Vancouver before but I’m not familiar with grocery stores. I’ve heard there are very good Japanese supermarkets in Vancouver. I think you may be able to find there? Sorry I wish I could help you…

  • Elizabeth March 23, 2014, 4:59 pm

    Hi, I just wanted to say that I tried this recipe out tonight. My boyfriend and I loved it! I was amazed at how complex the flavors seemed even though there were only 2 ingredients in the marinade (and the pepper). Delicious! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Elizabeth March 23, 2014, 5:01 pm

      Whoops, I meant to write this under “honey soy sauce chicken”! I tried this spinach goma ae recipe out too, and it was just as delicious. We had a great meal tonight thanks to your recipes :)

      • Nami March 24, 2014, 8:41 pm

        Hi Elizabeth! No worries, thank you so much for trying both Honey Soy Sauce Chicken and Goma ae recipes! I’m glad to hear you and your BF enjoyed these dishes. Thanks for your kind feedback too. :)

  • Linda September 9, 2014, 12:14 pm

    One of the best things my mom used to make. She also sprinkled in a little bit of shichimi pepper at the end, just for fun! Thanks again, Nami, you cook the way my mother did and now I can do the same!

    • Nami September 11, 2014, 11:24 am

      Hi Linda! Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad to hear you enjoy cooking Japanese dishes. :)

  • Minh February 12, 2015, 9:28 am

    I first tried Gomaae a year ago at a restaurant and my Japanese friend said it wasn’t very good. I liked it and it piqued my interest. Found your recipe and have been making it ever since! My friend even said it’s better than the ones we’ve tried in the restaurants.

  • Marissa Onate March 24, 2015, 9:32 am

    I went to blue gingko in Blackhawk CA. And the goma ae had a sauce, guessing Was made of seamen oil.. I’m.trying to get that recipe but I can’t.. would you help?

    • Nami March 24, 2015, 5:17 pm

      Hi Marissa! According to the menu, it says “creamy sesame dressing”. I haven’t had their spinach Goma Ae, but I was wondering if it’s more like sesame dressing? But your description sounds like Korean style spinach that is tossed in sesame oil (like one on Bibimbap). If it was creamy, was it like this sesame dressing? Hope that helps!


      • christy April 10, 2015, 8:12 am

        Hi. I use your recipe all the time, but because I’m lazy I just use tahini (sesame paste) instead of toasting and grinding the sesames. My sauce is creamy. Thought this could be the reason.
        Thank you by the way. I love your site.

        • Nami April 10, 2015, 3:06 pm

          Thank you so much for trying my recipes, Christy! Yeah tahini sauce is creamy and a bit different from this sesame sauce as we keep the sesame seeds coarse instead of grinding finely. I love the texture of it, so when you have more time next time, give it a try! :) Thank you for using my site!