An earthy, refreshing dish loaded with nutrients, this spinach salad is seasoned with a simple yet flavourful Chinese ginger dressing.
When it comes to vegetable, what I miss most in England (or previously in Switzerland) is all kinds of Chinese leafy green vegetables which are not easily accessible in Europe. Luckily I can always bring a nice bunch of spinach home whenever I crave something green on the table. I adore its lovely earthy taste and its versatility. Recently, in our Red House, spinach salad with ginger dressing has been a regular favourite.
What is savoy spinach
The type of spinach used in Chinese dishes is usually savoy spinach, a variety which has dark green, wrinkled leaves (unlike baby spinach for example which has flat and smooth leaves). I prefer savoy spinach for its stronger “spinach” taste: earthy, nutty and slightly bitter.
If you are familiar with savoy spinach, you might have also noticed that the stem has a hint of sweetness which I like very much. Speaking of stem, I’d like to share one of the fun memories from my childhood. My parents often cooked spinach and egg soup and I had great fun sipping the soup with the stem of the spinach. Because it’s hollow in the middle so it worked well as a straw!
Blanch the spinach
Let’s go back to the salad. Yes, I use savoy spinach for my spinach and soybean salad. Different from baby spinach, it need to be blanched in boiling water. It’s not recommended to eat raw savoy spinach (unpleasant flavour and texture), but the quick blanching process will bring out the best flavour. After cooling the blanched spinach under running water, don’t forget to squeeze out as much water as possible before adding it to the salad bowl. Otherwise the excess water will dilute the dressing thus making the flavour less intense.
I like adding fresh green soybeans (aka edamame) to this healthy, refreshing salad. They give the dish another taste, another texture and yet another shade of green. You need to blanch soybeans too. It takes only a couple of minutes to cook.
Make a ginger dressing
The aroma of fresh ginger works very well for this dish. It’s better to mix the dressing (minced ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and honey) before preparing the vegetables. This will allow enough time for the different flavours to combine. For a nice presentation as well as a richer taste, you can garnish the dish with toasted sesame seed and fresh chilli before serving.
Spinach salad with ginger dressing (姜汁菠菜)
- 300 g savoy spinach, 10oz
- 70 g fresh green soybeans, 0.5 cup
For the dressing
For the garnish
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tsp fresh chilli, chopped
- Make the dressing first. Combine minced ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and honey in a small bowl. Mix well then set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place savoy spinach in (whole, the end cut off) then cook for about 1 minutes (the stem should still be a bit crunchy). Rinse under running water to cook then drain. Squeeze out the remaining water with your hands. Roughly chop it into bite size.
- Put fresh green soybeans into the same pot with boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes or so. Rinse under running water then drain well.
- Mix spinach, soybeans and the dressing in a salad bowl. Before serving, sprinkle with sesame seeds and fresh chilli.
Thank you very much for reading my post. If you are interested, have a look at other salad dishes on the blog.
- Chinese Cucumber Salad, Three Ways
- Mung Bean Jelly Salad
- XinJiang Tiger Salad
- Aubergine Salad with Garlic Dressing
- Chinese Style Spaghetti Salad