Monday, May 19, 2008

Wilted Spinach Salad with Edamame, Red Onion, and Black Sesame Seeds

Spinach SaladIt's nice that spinach is one of the most nutritious foods, because there are so many interesting ways to eat it. I'd probably like just about any salad that had spinach, but this one has edamame and black sesame seeds, two ingredients I'm really loving lately. If you haven't tried black sesame seeds, go to the nearest Asian market and get a big package of them, then have fun sprinkling them on everything. (I store them in the freezer, which is also a good idea for regular sesame seeds.)

This recipe was inspired by a spinach salad I saw in A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, another great book by Jack Bishop. I loved his combination of spinach, browned onions, black sesame seeds, and sesame oil, but I changed the dressing a bit and added edamame when I made my own version. Even if you don't have all the exotic ingredients, you could still make a very a tasty salad with spinach and this dressing.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Edamame, Red Onion, and Black Sesame Seeds
(Makes 2 generous servings, recipe adapted from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop.)

5-6 oz fresh spinach leaves, washed (about 4-5 cups, packed)
1 red onion or sweet white onion, sliced in half-moon slices
2 T peanut oil (or use any neutral-flavored oil)
2 T white balsamic vinegar (or use rice vinegar - not seasoned)
1 T Agave nectar or honey (use Agave nectar for South Beach Diet.)
2 tsp. Asian sesame oil (also called sesame seed oil)
1/2 tsp. salt, or less (I used Vege-Sal)
1/2 cup shelled edamame
2 tsp. black sesame seeds (or use white sesame seeds)

Wash spinach if needed, spin dry or dry with paper towels. Place spinach in large plastic bowl and have serving plates ready. Cut ends off onion, and peel. Cut onion in half top-to-bottom, then cut each piece into half-moon slices about 1/4 inch thick.

Whisk together vinegar, Agave nectar or honey, sesame oil and salt. (This mixture will be combined with the oil that's used to fry the onions. You can add a bit more oil if it seems too strong when you taste the heated dressing.)

Heat 2 T of oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until onions are well-browned on both sides. (The time will depend on the temperature and your pan, but it took about 8 minutes for my onions to be as browned as I wanted.)

When onions are nearly done, add edamame and heat through, about 1 minute. Add dressing mixture and heat about 30 seconds. (Taste for seasoning and add a bit more oil if the dressing tastes too strong to you.)

Pour hot dressing-onion-edamame mixture over spinach and toss to coat. Arrange spinach mixture on salad plates. Toast sesame seeds about 30 seconds over high heat in a dry frying pan. (Jack Bishop says the black sesame seeds should be toasted for a much shorter time than white ones. Toasting the sesame seeds isn't essential, but it does make them more flavorful.) Use a spoon to sprinkle sesame seeds over each salad and serve immediately.

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South Beach Suggestions:
The use of agave nectar makes this suitable for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet.  (You could probably make the dressing with Splenda or Stevia if you wanted to eat it for Phase One, but I haven't tried that. It could be a great side salad for something like Grilled Fusion Chicken or Grilled Ginger Soy Pork Chops.

More Spinach Salads from Kalyn's Kitchen:
Spinach Salad Recipe with Warm Ginger Vinaigrette
Spinach and Sorrel Salad with Pecans and Goat Cheese
Spinach Salad with Bacon and Feta
Balsamic Spinach Salad with Mushrooms, Onions, and Feta
Balsamic Spinach Salad with Mushrooms, Onions, and Feta

Spinach Salads from other Blogs:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Feta Dressing from Nick at Serious Eats
Warm Spinach Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing from Culinary in the Country
Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Avocado from What's For Lunch Honey
Wilted Spinach Salad from For the Love of Cooking
Spinach Salad with Strawberries from More Than Burnt Toast

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  1. yum. I love edamame. We have been getting malabar spinach at the market and this combo might hold up nice to them.

  2. yum! edamame in salad is a great idea! this looks gorgeous, I am going crazy for spinach at the moment too...

  3. This salad looks really yummy! I actually just got that book from a friend. I am "babysitting" it for the next year or so while she is out of the country. I hope to get some good use out of it!

  4. What a delicious and light dish, Kalyn! I love spinach!

  5. This sounds smashingly good--and just my kind of thing! I've been on a greens kick lately, and can easily see this as lunch or a side to dinner--yum!

  6. Mmmm, spinach. Mmmmm, edamame. Everything about this salad appeals! And don't you just adore black sesame seeds?

  7. I love that book! This salad looks great. What a great way to jazz up a salad!

  8. This is a dish of greeny goodness! Nice recipe idea.

  9. Ooh that looks so good and healthy too :)

  10. Wow that looks good. SOO good! My kind of salad. YUM!

  11. Another edamame fan here too... I just used some in a stew last night! I used to have a hard time finding the black sesame seeds, but finally bought a good amount to store in the freeze - good stuff!

  12. What keeps this from being a phase 1 salad?

  13. I seem to have salad on my mind these days. This one is beautiful. And I just got a huge container of spinach from Sam's!

  14. Thank you everyone for all the nice comments about the salad. It was really good.

    Melissa, it's the Agave nectar that makes this phase two. Since it has fructose (the same type of natural sweetener that's in fruit) I think it's a phase two item. However, there's a very small amount of Agave, so it probably wouldn't be too serious if you ate it on phase one, I was just being on the safe side calling it phase two.

  15. Thanks Kalyn! I look forward to trying it.

  16. I like the sound of this salad; healthy and good!

  17. I've got a garden full of spinach and fava beans. What do you think, Kalyn, could the favas be substituted for the edamame? I love this recipe and will try it this weekend.

  18. Yes, I think fresh fava beans would be wonderful to replace the edamame. Lucky you to have those in the garden, and spinach too! (My spinach is barely starting to pop up and will probably go to seed from the heat before I eat any.)

  19. I love wilted spinach salads, but I especially like your addition of edamame and black sesame seeds. I can taste the flavors and textures already!

  20. I love spinach. In fact I'd take it over brocolli any day. Love it specially in crab fried rice...makes it healthier for some reason. Your edamame salad looks fantastic!

  21. Apart form this sald bursting with health, I would gladly dig into it simply for it's beauty! A lovely salad, Kalyn!

  22. I'm with you about spinach. I had some in my garden last year and it was wonderful!
    I've been seeing a lot of black sesame seeds lately... Unfortunately only on blogs, not in real life...
    Maybe Penzey's will ship.... Hmmmmm

  23. The spinach in my garden is just about gone, so I've been looking for ways to use large quantities.

    I just wanted you to know that I looked at tons of blogs for a wilted spinach salad recipe, and yours looks the best, hands down!

    Kalyn to the rescue, once again!

  24. Wow, thanks for that. Endless variations on wilted spinach salad, but this is a good one!

  25. I must say that every time I stop by your blog I am so impressed. Your food is always healthy and delicious! I love spinach and am always looking for new ways to eat it. Thanks so much.


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