Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spinach with Tofu & Sesame Seeds

After a weekend full of heavy meals, I am in the mood for something lighter.

I had a big bag of spinach in the fridge, along with some tofu, and decided to throw together a spinach and tofu goma-ae.


Basically, it means sesame dressing.

I made a sesame dressing on Japanese Style Cucumbers with Sesame Seeds, which is very similar, but this one is simpler.

Serve it cold for a nice, light spinach side dish or salad.

I like to have it for lunch.


1 lb. spinach 
1/2 block tofu
1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tablespoon mirin
scant 1 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

 I bought this tofu from Nijiya Market.

I prefer the regular tofu, as opposed to silken or firm.

I got this tofu press from Goretti, who has the blog Vegan Tickles.

Thanks, Goretti! It works really well!

It presses the water out of the tofu.

I used to drain the tofu on paper towels with a plate on top.

That works, too.

I used half a big bag of spinach from Costco, and half a block of tofu.

Cook the spinach with a little bit of water in a large pot.

You want to cook it just until it wilts, then remove and let cool.

Squeeze as much water out of the spinach as you can.

You could also use the tofu press, but I squeezed it by hand, then give the spinach a rough chop.

There's the ingredients--I'm thinking I should have cooked the whole bag of spinach, it shrinks down a lot!

They sell smaller bottles of mirin, you don't need to get the gigantic one!

Mash the tofu with a fork in a large bowl.

Small bits is what you're looking for.

Grind 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds.

I like to use this suribachi, but you can use a blender or coffee grinder.

I use a scant 1 tablespoon agave nectar or 1 tablespoon sugar.

Add 1 tablespoon each shoyu and mirin and mix well.

Add the dressing to the tofu.

Then stir until the ingredients are evenly combined.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve cold.

Or warm, it's good that way, too.

I like a little bit of pickled ginger on the side.

Or maybe a bit of kimchi.



Yesterday, The Girls and I went to the Santa Monica Farmer's Market.

I've heard that it's the premier Farmer's Market in the country.

There's so much beautiful produce!

I haven't tried these purple artichokes yet.

You peel off a few of the outer leaves and eat the whole rest of the artichoke, since the "choke" part on the inside hasn't developed yet.

And these big artichokes don't have spines on the ends of the leaves, something I've been seeing a lot of lately--so you don't have to spend the time to cut the tips of the leaves off!

My friend Susan says the big, fat, asparagus has the most flavor.

I remember all the stories she told me about when she lived in Seattle and had her own pea patch in the community garden.

She's good at growing things, but she may have forgotten.

I've never had this purple asparagus!

When my fridge isn't so packed, I'm going to come back and try these things!

Don't these berries look delicious?!

The radishes were beautiful, and lots of different varieties!

The radishes I grew in my front yard were small and hard--not enough water, I think, since they were SPICY, too!

There's also lots of fresh cut flowers there.

These were BEAUTIFUL!

And the dahlias!

I can't wait for mine to flower--but that won't be until August.

I thought these potatoes were interesting.

Even more so when I read the sign.

I used to be a Laker fan--a LONG time ago!

Too long ago to say who my favorite player was...

If you only buy one thing at the market, get these strawberries.

The grower is Harry's Berries.

The Gaviota strawberries are unbelievably sweet!

They also have a variety called Seascapes--they have the strongest strawberry taste!

They're best when you eat them the same day.

They're more delicate than the variety Super Sweet.

I loved seeing vendors at the market that I've seen at the Pasadena Farmer's Market for years.

I also loved seeing Jaime Farms, the family that bought the Taguchi's operation. They were in the same spot, right next to the AMC Theaters, that Joe Taguchi had when I was one of his helpers.

That was years and years ago.

After we cruised the Farmer's Market, we stopped for lunch, then we strolled around the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Main Place.

Thanks, Ladies, for such a terrific day!



1 lb. spinach 
1/2 block tofu
1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tablespoon mirin
scant 1 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Cook spinach until the leaves are barely wilted, remove from pan and let cool. Squeeze excess water out of the spinach and roughly chop.

Drain 1/2 block of tofu on paper towels for 1/2 hour to remove excess water or put into a tofu press. Smash tofu and put into a large bowl.

Grind 2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds and add 1 tablespoon each shoyu and mirin. Add a scant tablespoon of agave nectar or sugar. Add to tofu and add spinach. Mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill or serve warm.


  1. Great pics! I've never been to the SM farmers market but I'm dying to check it out now! The one here in Sherman oaks is sad sad sad.

  2. Fun, fun, fun! What a great way to vegan calcium, protein, and greens! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Looks like you had a fun day at the market...I wish we had a big one near our home, but we don't. Sniff.

  3. I LOVE this dish (never tried using agave, but am inspired to now). Beautiful pics, making me long to visit the Santa Monica Farmers Market! Most importantly...can I ask where you got the adorable dog spoon? :) :) Thank you!!

  4. @eee12614-8e57-11e0-80ac-000f20980440Thank you for the nice comment! I got the dog spoon at Marukai market in West Covina, CA. They occasionally have cute ceramic spoons like this. The last ones I got were with a little rabbit on them--I bought a bunch for baby shower favors--since my new little nephew was born in the year of the rabbit. :)

  5. Made this recipe and it was delicious!! Thank you so much for giving me a wonderful new side dish. :)