Thursday, February 17, 2011

Horenso no Ohitashi (Japanese Spinach Salad) - (Vegetarian)

Typically served as an appetizer dish in Japan, horenso no ohitashi (ほうれん草のお浸し) is simply a salad in which spinach is blanched and served with a dashi and soy sauce broth and topped with katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). You can also use sesame seeds as a garnish in place of the katsuobushi if desired. 

I personally love to make this recipe as a quick healthy snack or side dish, especially when I have bags of baby spinach that need to be used up. Best of all, it takes only about 5 minutes to prepare! The key to this recipe is using fresh spinach, not frozen. 

Horenso no Ohitashi (Spinach Salad)

1 lb fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup dashi
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
Pinch of salt
2-4 Tbsp katsuobushi or sesame seeds

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Add the spinach and blanche for about 1 minute or until just tender. Drain and soak in cold water for about 5 minutes to stop the cooking process and retain the spinach's color. 

Drain the spinach and squeeze out the excess liquid; traditionally this is done by rolling the spinach in a bamboo mat (makisu). 

Lay the drained spinach onto the mat.

Roll up the makisu, squeezing any excess liquid from the spinach while rolling.

Once completely rolled up, give the roll a good final squeeze. 

Carefully unroll the makisu and transfer the spinach to a cutting board.

Cut the rolled spinach into short lengths and place on small plates. Combine the dashi and soy sauce. Pour this dressing over the spinach and then top with katsuobushi or sesame seeds. 

Plain spinach, before adding dressing/sauce and toppings.

I've topped the spinach with both toasted sesame seeds as well as katsuobushi. 


  1. Hi Julia, Wow another beautiful recipe and delicious sounding recipe! I know you cook a wide variety of foods and many of them are probably published on tastespotting and the big recipe sharing sites. But I wanted to invite you to check out my new site, It was created for those following a gluten-free, processed food free diet, but many of your recipes fit the bill! Many of the readers are young adults that have some health reasons to follow such a diet, but have not yet learned how to cook! I know they would enjoy your blog as much as I do. I hope you will consider sharing some of your creations! And this invitation extends to any of your readers. Just check the FAQs for a list of ingredients that can not be accepted. Sincere thanks! Patty

  2. Thank you, Patty!! I've only actually had 3 things published on Tastespotting (and nothing on Foodgawker!); they don't seem to like my "composition" and "lighting".

    I'll definitely check out Chowstalker - I'm not really educated on what exactly the paleo diet involves, but I'd love to submit whatever I can!

  3. I'm shocked that they don't accept more of your photos!I see all of your submissions coming through...thank you so much! Chowstalker is only a week old so we don't have a lot of contributors yet, but I'm working on it. I'm going to spread your contributions out over the next few days to hopefully maximize exposure to your blog.

    The Paleo diet includes real foods like good fats (lard and tallow), all natural meats, eggs, and most vegetables and fruits. It excludes all sugars, grains, legumes, and things like Jello pudding. :-) So if I have to decline any recipes, it will not be because they don't look delicious! All of your do. It will just be because of an ingredient that isn't part of the diet.

    I REALLY appreciate your help getting chowstalker off to a good start, and I hope it pays you back with some new readers!

  4. Only a week old? Well, it looks great so far! And thanks for accepting my posts so far - I will totally understand if something doesn't make the cut due to ingredients (and it won't hurt my feelings one bit!)

    Thanks again, and I will try to spread the word about Chowstalker!

  5. I was born in Japan, raised in the south :) This is my FAVORITE way of eating spinach. Blanching it really takes the bitterness (aku) out of it and mm mm this looks delicious. I have to try your recipe.

  6. Sumika, I was not born in Japan, but I have spent many summers there visiting family. I'll take this spinach recipe over most "Southern" spinach recipes any day!