Korean Spinach Salad (Sigeumchi Namul)
Updated: Mar 30
This easy, super nutritious, sesame seasoned spinach dish is so delicious and a must have staple in my house whenever we have any Asian style meals. Nutty sesame seed oil and a little sea salt bring out the delicate sweetness in the spinach. It is one of my favorite dishes from childhood, and I love that my own children pile this healthy, gluten free dish on their plates! I honestly have to double the recipe for our meal because they love it so much! It is also fantastic to add to fried rice or japchae!
Blanching the spinach will ensure that it slightly cooks without becoming too soft leaving tender leaves and crisp stems to complement your dinner. For best results, use the full size spinach in your produce section by all the lettuces instead of baby spinach. I love to serve this Paleo and Whole 30 friendly Korean spinach dish with Korean BBQ Short Ribs (Kalbi), Dak Bulgogi or Bacon Fried Rice!
Why Spinach is So Good for You!
Spinach is one of my favorite superfoods due to its nutrient density and its versatility in preparation methods! Let's take a deeper look into why spinach is so good for you and the benefits from adding this gorgeous green to your eating lifestyle!
Spinach contains vitamins such as vitamin A, C, K and B9 (folate). Vitamins A and D are fat soluble vitamins so it is a good idea to pair your spinach with some good fats, such as ghee, sesame seed oil (like this recipe,) EVOO, or nuts and seeds to promote the absorption of these essential vitamins.
There is also a rich source of minerals found in spinach such as potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Iron is an essential mineral that your body needs and in plants we have non-heme iron. Nature has a way of helping us out since non-heme iron is more difficult for our bodies to absorb , pairing it with vitamin C, also found in spinach, increases the absorption of the non-heme iron in our diets.
Spinach contains a nutrient that many of us overlook, chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the component in green plants that give them their vibrant colors and is what absorbs energy (light) from the sun. Chlorophyll is fat soluble and once absorbed has antioxidant properties .
So grab some beautiful green spinach and let's get cooking!
Korean Spinach Salad (Sigeumchi Namul) Ingredients
3 bunches Fresh Spinach, not baby spinach
1 Tbsp Pure Sesame Oil
1 tsp Fine Sea Salt
1 tsp Sesame Seeds (opt)
How to Make Korean Spinach Salad (Sigeumchi Namul)
1. Thoroughly wash your spinach in a large bowl of water and trim the ends if needed, but leave the stems. Spinach can contain a lot of sand and dirt so you may need to drain and refill your bowl a few times to remove it all. Drain and set the spinach aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
I use my pasta pot since I am usually doubling the recipe. I find that this is easiest to wilt the spinach, quickly remove it from the boiling water, then transfer to a colander and run under cold water or to an ice bath and move on to the next batch.
3. Slowly add the spinach using a wooden spoon to completely submerge all the spinach.
You may do this in batches so you do not overcook the spinach.
4. Gently fold the spinach in the boiling water and blanch it for about 15-20 seconds until all the spinach has wilted.
5. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process, flipping the spinach under the water to make sure you cool all of it. You may also move the spinach directly to an ice bath to stop the cooking process by using a mesh strainer or slotted spoon.
6. If you used an ice bath, drain the spinach into a colander. Taking a handful of spinach at a time, squeeze as much water from it as you can (do not use a tea towel or twist the spinach.) Set the spinach onto a cutting board.
7. Cut the spinach 2-4 times making a crosshatch and add to a medium bowl.
8. Add the sesame seed oil, salt, and sesame seeds tossing with your fingers to separate the spinach and evenly coat.
9. Taste and add a pinch more salt if necessary.
Serve with your favorite Korean and Asian meals!
Q: Why is my spinach so soft and mushy?
A: You may have overcooked it. You just want to quickly blanch the spinach and then remove it from the heat and rinse with cool water.
Q: Can I use boxed baby spinach for this?
A: No, baby spinach does not hold up to the blanching as well as mature spinach.
Q: Should I cut the spinach before boiling?
A: I find that it's a lot easier to blanch, drain, and squeeze the spinach whole.
If you like this recipe, check these out!
Quick Korean Cucumber Kimchi: When you gotta have something fresh, crunchy, and a bit spicy this is the side for you! A staple dish from my childhood that is simple and delicious!
Paleo Korean BBQ Short-Ribs (Kalbi): Tender marinate short ribs that are grilled to a smoky perfection! This gluten free short rib will be a hit at your next BBQ!
Paleo Honey Chicken: Tender, sweet umami forward chicken thighs that are simple enough for a weeknight meal! Your family will love you for this one, I promise!
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. - Amy