Spinach Ohitashi (Japanese Spinach Salad) ほうれん草のお浸し

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  • This Japanese Spinach Salad applies a simple method called the Ohitashi to infuse vegetables with umami and subtle flavor. It’s one of the common techniques Japanese use to prepare vegetable dishes.

    Spinach ohitashi in white ceramic plates.

    Do you know what type of recipes Just One Cookbook readers request most? They are side dishes and vegan recipes! I’ve been sharing popular Japanese recipes and main dishes for many years, however, it’s time to add more sides!

    Today’s recipe, Spinach Ohitashi (ほうれん草のお浸し) is a Japanese Spinach Salad with Savory Broth, and I included a vegan-friendly version!

    Watch How to Make Spinach Ohitashi (Japanese Spinach Salad)

    This Japanese Spinach Salad applies a simple method called the Ohitashi to infuse vegetables with umami and subtle flavor. It’s one of the common techniques Japanese use to prepare vegetable dishes.

    What is Ohitashi?

    Ohitashi (お浸し) refers to a dish in which vegetables are steeped in a dashi based sauce. It’s a common Japanese cooking technique we use for preparing vegetable dishes. This method infuses the ingredients with dashi’s umami and subtle flavor but still retaining its natural taste.

    To make ohitashi, you first blanch the vegetable, then halt the cooking in the ice bath. Afterward, allow the vegetable to absorb the dashi based sauce.

    We typically serve Ohitashi with a sprinkle of Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) on top. For today’s recipe, I included a vegan-friendly version in mind.

    Vegan-friendly version:  Use vegan-friendly Kombu Dashi for steeping and garnish with toasted sesame seeds instead of katsuobushi.

    Regular version: If you prefer a more prominent dashi flavor, use Awase Dashi, a combination of both kombu and katsuobushi.

    Serve Spinach Ohitashi with Your Japanese Meal

    Typical Japanese meal consists of steamed rice, miso soup, main dish, and side dishes. This set meal is called Ichiju Sansai (一汁三菜) and we have a detailed post on this topic here.

    Japanese set meal encourages you to eat a balanced diet. You’ll find each dish presented in individual serving wares, and side dishes are usually in kobachi (小鉢, literally meaning “small bowl”). As a result of this attentive arrangement, we can easily control the portion of the food.

    Here are a few suggestions that I would serve with Spinach Ohitashi (Japanese Spinach Salad):


    Miso Soup

    Spinach ohitashi in white ceramic plates.

    Main Dish

    Side Dishes

    Spinach ohitashi in a glass container.

    Ohitashi is Great for Meal Prep!

    Since ohitashi requires making ahead of time, it makes a perfect side dish for meal prepping.

    In general, you can steep the vegetables in the dashi soy broth for 3 days. If you have 20-30 minutes to spare, prepare your vegetables and let them absorb all the flavor as you store in the refrigerator. Use a clean utensil and container and put it in the refrigerator as soon as the food is cool. This allows the food to last longer.

    If you’re interested in meal prep recipes, click here for more inspiration!

    Spinach ohitashi in white ceramic plates.

    Don’t like Spinach?

    You can apply the Ohitashi method to almost any kind of vegetables! If you are not a fan of spinach, try other vegetables like okra, eggplant, boy choy, and other leafy greens.

    Okra Ohitashi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Okra Ohitashi

    Eggplant Agebitashi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Eggplant Agebitashi (variation of Ohitashi)

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

    Sign up for the free Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on FacebookPinterestYouTube, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

    4.91 from 10 votes
    Spinach ohitashi in white ceramic plates.
    Spinach Ohitashi (Japanese Spinach Salad with Savory Broth)
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Cook Time
    5 mins
    Total Time
    1 hr 20 mins
    This method infuses ingredients with umami and subtle flavor but retains the food's natural taste. It's one of common methods we use to prepare vegetable dishes. 
    Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: ohitashi, salad, spinach
    Servings: 4
    Author: Nami
    • 1 bunch spinach
    • Pinch salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
    Kombu Dashi (You can also use Awase Dashi (a combination of kombu + katsuobushi)
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Spinach Ohitashi Ingredients
    To Make Kombu Dashi
    1. In a saucepan, put water and kombu.

      Spinach Ohitashi 1
    2. Slowly bring it to a boil. Once boiling, remove the kombu from the liquid (You can make Kombu Tsukudani with the used kombu). If you are not vegan/vegetarian, you can add a small amount of katsuobushi to make Awase Dashi for more flavors. Please see the instruction here. If you're using dashi powder, please read here.

      Spinach Ohitashi 2
    To Make Savory Broth
    1. In Kombu Dashi, add mirin and usukuchi soy sauce.

      Spinach Ohitashi 3
    2. Mix together and once it boils, turn off the heat.

      Spinach Ohitashi 4
    To Prepare Spinach
    1. Rinse the spinach and boil a large pot of water.

      Spinach Ohitashi 5
    2. When the water is boiling, add the salt and put the spinach in the pot from the stem side first because it takes longer to cook. After 15 seconds, you can push down the leafy part into the water and cook for 1 minute. (US spinach is tender than Japanese spinach, so it’ll cook faster).

      Spinach Ohitashi 6
    3. Once the spinach is cooked through, pick it up quickly, roughly less than 1 minute.

      Spinach Ohitashi 7
    4. Transfer to iced water and let it cool (but don’t leave the spinach too long as you will lose the nutrients).

      Spinach Ohitashi 8
    5. As soon as it’s cooled, collect spinach and squeeze water out. If you like to serve as I do, collect the stem and put together. I like to serve both stem and leafy parts separately instead of mixing it up together.

      Spinach Ohitashi 9
    6. Cut the spinach into 1 ½ inch lengths and squeeze the water out one more time.

      Spinach Ohitashi 10
    7. Put the spinach in the airtight container and pour the sauce over.

      Spinach Ohitashi 11
    8. Make sure the spinach is evenly distributed in the container and soak in the sauce. Put the lid on and let it soak in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (3-4 hours ideally).

      Spinach Ohitashi 12
    To Serve
    1. Serve the spinach in a bowl and pour the sauce over. I like to make sure each bowl gets both spinach stem and leafy part. Love the dark and light color contrast to each other.

      Spinach Ohitashi 13
    2. Sprinkle sesame seeds for vegan/vegetarian version, and bonito flakes for non-vegan/vegetarian version.

      Spinach Ohitashi 14
    To Store
    1. You can keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

    Recipe Notes

    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 and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 26, 2012. It’s been updated with a new video on September 2019.  

    Make It Into A Meal

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