Sauteed Sesame Spinach

I often make sauteed spinach as a side dish. It's so easy, can be done last minute and good for you too! Usually I just saute a little chopped shallot or garlic in olive oil, add some salt and pepper and cook up (or should I say down?) the spinach and while it's tasty, it can get a little ho-hum. So certain members of the recipe critics living in my house, were delighted when I sprung this decidedly Asian influenced sauteed sesame spinach on them last week. In fact, my husband, who made it late to the dinner table, didn't get more than a mouthful!

What makes this dish a real standout is the double use of sesame, as you use toasted sesame oil in the pan to saute the spinach and toasted sesame seeds to garnish the whole dish at the end. If you've never toasted sesame seeds before, it is easy to do. You just put the seeds into a non-stick pan and cook them until they begin to pop and jump--in a popcornish sort of way and turn golden brown.

Once they're done, you simply saute some garlic in the toasted sesame oil, add the spinach, let it wilt, stir in a bit of sugar and soy sauce're all done! Super easy and super delicious. We all loved this so much that next time I might just make some rice, quadruple the recipe and serve it as a meatless main course!! Here's to all you Popeyes out there!

Sauteed Sesame Spinach

Makes 2-4 small servings (I would seriously double this if it's your only side dish)
Prep Time:  5-10 minutes Cook Time: About 5 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fresh spinach (I used bagged baby spinach--you can use regular spinach too, just wash to get rid of dirt and grit and chop if leaves seem too large
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds

The Recipe

1.  Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add sesame seeds. Stir with a wooden spoon. Give pan a shake as seeds start to pop and jump. They will cook quickly and you don't want them to burn. As soon as seeds start to turn brown, remove them from the heat. Set aside.

2.  In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the sesame oil and saute the garlic, stirring about 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook until completely wilted, stirring every now and then. This takes only a couple of minutes. Turn the heat low and stir in the sugar and soy sauce. Remove from the heat. Transfer to a bowl. Top with sesame seeds and serve immediately.


Note:  Recipe adapted from

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