This spinach salad recipe features pumpkin seed oil 🎃 an ultra-nutty finishing oil that adds deep flavor and smooth texture to any meal.
This spinach salad recipe is a variation of the Japanese side dish called Horenso Gomaae. I had it for the first time at a Japanese restaurant and was blown away. Like so blown I vowed to eat my spinach like this for as long as I live.
Fresh spinach is blanched then tossed in a dressing made of sesame oil, soy sauce, and sake. So simple, but so stinkin’ good. That’s why I wanted to recreate it…but with an Autumnal twist. My recipe has everything you want in a Fall-themed salad:
Maple syrup, check ✅
Apple cider vinegar, check ✅
Pumpkin seeds, check ✅
And the piece de resistance, pumpkin seed oil, big-mama CHECK ✅
You can’t skip this silky oil because that’s what really brings the dish together. The first smell is a blast of Fall, like toasted pumpkin seeds or roasted nuts. It adds a depth and richness that tickles me orange (hehe, get it? Cuz it’s Fall?).
This salad is not only easy peasy to make, but it also bursts with flavor, feeds a crowd, and fills you with tons of feel-good nutrients. It’s a great make-ahead recipe as the flavor develops the longer it sits.
If fresh seasonal spinach is not available, use frozen and thawed spinach. You could even substitute spinach with kale or collard greens. Serve it with any protein you like from chicken to fish, and tofu to beans.
Whatever adventure you pick, you can’t go wrong.
Where to Buy Pumpkin Seed Oil
Culinary pumpkin seed oil is widely available online. You can also find it at natural or specialty food stores. Buy it now on Amazon!
How to Use Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil is intense and rich, which is why it’s used as a finished oil rather than cooking oil. Just drizzle over roasted veggies, pasta, or soup—nothing else needed—and the dish is transformed. It’s also outstanding poured on soup, especially if it’s made from pumpkin or winter squash. Try some drizzled on avocado toast or a cream cheese bagel.
Learn more about cooking with Pumpkin Seed Oil, here.
More Pumpkin Seed Oil Recipes
Pumpkin Seed Cream Cheese Spread (via Food & Wine)
Pappardelle with Pumpkin Seed Oil and Herbs (via Café Liz)
Pumpkin Seed Oil Cake (via La Tourangelle)
Spinach Salad with Pumpkin Seed Oil
SERVES: 2⎪ DIFFICULTY: Easy⎪ FUNK: Casual
Mise en Place
- 1 bunch (8-ounce pack) fresh, or frozen and thawed spinach
- 3 tablespoons roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds, finely chopped (plus extra for garnish)
- 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce or miso paste
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin seed oil
COOKS NOTE Fresh bunches of spinach are heartier and will need to cook a few seconds longer. Baby spinach that’s bagged or pre-packaged won’t take as long to blanch. Adjust your blanching time, accordingly.
1. BLANCH THE SPINACH
Place a strainer in the sink and have a bowl of ice water nearby. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 30 – 40 seconds. Drain in the strainer and run under cold water. If using frozen spinach, simply thaw the spinach until cold water, then proceed to the next step.
2. CHOP THE SPINACH
Gently squeeze out the water from the spinach with your hands, but not so much that the spinach gets dry. Place on a cutting board and coarsely chop.
3. MAKE THE DRESSING
In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin seeds, soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, and pumpkin seed oil.
4. TOSS TOGETHER
Add the spinach to the bowl with the dressing and toss together.
5. SERVE AND STORE
Serve chilled or at room temperature and garnish with chopped pumpkin seeds. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Spicy Variation: Replace soy sauce with doubanjiang.
Did you make Spinach Salad with Pumpkin Seed Oil? Let me know how it turned out and leave a comment below!