By Vida Gustafson

Contributing Writer

I love spinach, I’m just not crazy about eating it. Until this recipe came along! Tamari spinach is a delicious banchan (side dish) that you often find served with Korean barbeque. The variety of colorful and tasty banchan is my favorite thing about cuisine. This dish looks and tastes impressive, but with just a few handy tips, is really easy to pull together. The spinach retains its vibrant green color and the combined seasoning of sweetened soy sauce with sesame are an excellent flavor compliment to spinach’s naturally bitter taste.  Serve this with grilled meat and rice to make yummy lettuce cups.


  • 16 oz (1 lb) spinach
  • 1 tbsp salt (for the blanching pot)
  • 1-2 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds


In a large stock pot, bring 64-80 oz of salted water to a rolling boil. While you wait, mix together the finely chopped garlic with the sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper and sesame seeds. 

Once the water is boiling, add all your spinach at once. Pushing it down under the water. Cover and let cook for 30 seconds to one minute. Depending on how well done you like your spinach. Place a strainer in your sink while you wait. When cooked, pour the whole lot into the strainer and rinse with cold water for a minute. This will stop the spinach from cooking further and will retain the vibrant green color. Squeeze out the liquid, I do this by hand, you can also use a sheet of cheese cloth. Don’t skip this step, we are replacing the water in the spinach with flavor. If too much liquid remains, the result will be watery and under seasoned. Once the spinach is dry, mix it thoroughly with the liquid seasoning. Taste to see if it needs any adjustment. Serve at room temperature.