Spinach with Sesame and Garlic

Side DishGluten-FreeVegetarianSpinach

Asian spinach recipe with sesame and garlic. A simple Korean method for cooking spinach.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I never get tired of eating spinach. Good thing it’s so good for you!

This is a fun take on spinach, a Korean version, with the spinach wilted in sesame oil with garlic, and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

I found the recipe years ago in Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World. In typical Bittman style, the spinach is quick, easy, and good.

Updated, from the recipe archive. First posted November, 2005

Spinach with Sesame and Garlic Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-4

If you are using bagged baby spinach, the presoaking is not necessary, as that spinach is pretty clean. Also baby spinach does not need to be chopped. The spinach you get in bunches from the farmers market can have a lot of dirt at the root ball that needs to be washed out before you use the spinach.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb fresh spinach (if using mature spinach, soak in water to clean, drain, squeeze out excess water, remove and discard large stems, roughly chop leaves)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Method

1 Toast the sesame seeds: If you haven't already toasted the sesame seeds, do that first. Heat a stick-free skillet on medium high. Add raw sesame seeds and use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir.

The seeds may make a popping noise and jump up, almost like popcorn. They will toast very quickly, so stir constantly until they begin to brown and smell like they are toasted.

Remove from pan into a separate bowl as soon as they are done.

2 Cook garlic and spinach in sesame oil: Heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is completely wilted. Turn the heat to low.

3 Add sugar and soy sauce: Stir in the sugar and soy sauce. Remove from the heat. Add salt to taste.

Serve hot, warm, room temperature, or cold, drizzled with the remaining sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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Adapted from The Best Recipes in the World.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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22 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Juan El Ingles

    I combined step 1 with step 2, adding sesame seeds and garlic at same time, turned out great! Especially with spicy sesame oil.

  2. Aaron

    Used 2 six oz. bags of fresh spinach, which shrunk a surprising amount (even for spinach haha) and was about enough for 4 small portions. Also omitted the sugar, and the recipe turned out great!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Megan

    Hi, could this be made with frozen spinach? I don’t have fresh on hand. I have a 500g bag, will that be enough?

  4. Holly

    My husband and I loved this recipe! I substituted the sugar for a couple drops of organic stevia and it was fantastic!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Brooke

    This recipe was great! I had spinach, cabbage and rainbow carrots that I needed to use from last week’s CSA, and this recipe sounded perfect. I added sliced green onions and crushed red pepper to the garlic, and cooked the shredded cabbage and julienned carrots until softened before adding the spinach. The combination of slightly sweet, salty and spicy is wonderful, and the texture of the veggies was perfect. I love your site Elise! I come here frequently for inspiration.

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