Japanese Peanut and Sesame Spinach

Traditionally called “gomae,” this appetizer is fresh, clean, and absolutely packed with flavor. The best part is that all the components can be made in advance, and plated up elegantly at the last second. Prepare to meet your new addiction!


  • 1 lb clean spinach
  • 2 tbs peanut butter
  • 2 tbs seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 tbs warm water
  • Bonito flakes (or toasted sesame seeds) for topping


Cram all the spinach into a large lidded pot with a steamer and a half an inch of water in the bottom of it, and bring it to a boil over high heat. Steam the spinach until it is thoroughly wilted and collapsed--a minute or two. Leave it to cool while you make the dressing.

Combine the peanut butter, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sweetener in a food processor and process until it's blended and creamy, then drizzle in the water with the motor running. Now look at it and taste it: it should be thin enough to pour (add more water if it's not) and it should be a perfect balance of sweet and salty, with just enough vinegar to keep it from being cloying. Scrape the dressing into a jar you can pour it from easily.

Gather up the spinach and squeeze it over the sink. Really squeeze it--you're going to end up with something around the size of a baseball, which is kind of demoralizing but totally fine! Once the spinach is squeezed of all its liquid, chop it roughly into bite sized pieces with a sharp knife.

Squeeze the spinach back into a ball or dome shape and drizzle the dressing around it. Sprinkle the bonito flakes on top, and serve.

About the Chef

Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.