Blanched Spinach with Tahini

I modified this recipe from Cecilia Chiang’s excellent cookbook, The Seventh Daughter. This dish is addictive; I make twice what we need and eat it cold for breakfast the next day.  I love it, but to be honest, most of my family members do not.  Oh well, too bad for them, and extra good for me (literally, I can eat two or more bags of spinach fixed this way!)  

I’ve made this with raw spinach (and I like it that way too) but blanching the spinach really does make it much more appealing, as it masks that ‘chalky-coat-your-teeth’ feeling that some people experience when it is raw. I use a salad spinner to blanch the spinach as I find it much easier than the usual method of plunging it in boiling water and removing it to an ice bath.  My method also removes extra water in the spinning process, where traditional methods would require squeezing it between towels.

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 ½  tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.  The tahini may be thick and lumpy at first, but more whisking will soon bring the dressing together.

2-3 bags baby spinach
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Boil the water.  Add the salt.  Rinse and clean the spinach using a salad spinner with warm water. Dump out the water used to clean the spinach and carefully pour the boiling water over the spinach. Replace the salad spinner’s lid, placing the spinner in the sink and while holding the lid on tight, spin the spinach and the salted water until the leaves appear wilted.   Use caution when pouring out the hot water and then spin the spinach again to remove any remaining water. 

1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Toss the dressing with the spinach to coat well.  Taste and salt if needed.  Garnish with sesame seeds.

Serve at room temperature.  Refrigerate leftovers.  Feeds 6 as a side.  


  1. I have tried your version of this dish and, like you, I too enjoy it. Coming from a background rich in Middle Eastern food in which spinach and tahini are often used, may I suggest a slight adjustment to the intensity of the dressing formula which will in turn enhance the flavor of the spinach? From this adjustment you may attract a larger audience, which may even include other members of your family. This is of course only my opinion and I have little experience as a cook. I do however have much experience as a taste of food!

    Thanks for your recipes and effort. Your Avgolemmono is superb!

    Singed, AHA


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