Kale Goma-ae

When’s the last time you got recipe inspiration from airport food? “NEVER!” you say? Well, until last week I would have agreed with you. Usually it’s a struggle finding anything edible at all!

mother_daughterAs I was returning home from our 2nd annual mother/daughter weekend, I stopped at the Boar’s Head deli in the terminal at the Newark airport. I picked up a container of something I had never heard of but looked interesting. It was called Kale Goma-ao. Man, was it tasty! So of course I had to try it on my own. Goma-ae is a popular Japanese dish that features lightly steamed spinach with a toasted sesame seed dressing. The Boar’s Head version substituted the steamed spinach with steamed kale. I decided to make mine with raw kale.

I chopped the kale very small to help it soften in the dressing and resemble the steamed texture more. I toasted the sesame seeds in a dry pan just until fragrant and starting to brown a bit. These were cooled and then ground in my Nutri-Bullet. The photo above was taken after a short marinade. I served it later in the day when it had a chance to wilt more. This helped the texture be more like the steamed version I had.

I’ve never actually had the traditional spinach Goma-ae but Nana Kwaku has many times during his San Francisco days. He loved it. He said it is usually served piled up like a hay stack in the center of individual serving plates.

choppedKale               toastedSesameSeeds

There is plenty room for experimentation with this recipe. The seeds will taste different with longer toasting time. You can grind them longer to create a paste like texture, or leave them more coarsely ground. How about using green beans or broccoli instead of the kale? Like heat? Add some crushed red pepper. I can’t wait to try different variations. Please let me know what you try.

Kale Goma-ae
Prep time
Cook/Dehydrate time
Total time
A flavorful twist on the usual kale salad
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1 bunch kale
  • ⅓ cup whole sesame seeds
  • 1-2 TBL soy sauce or organic shoyu
  • 2 TBL mirin
  • 2 TBL dulse flakes
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
  • 4 TBL tahini
  1. Wash and de-stem Kale. Chop into small pieces.
  2. Place sesame seeds in a dry skillet and toast, stirring frequently until they are fragrant and just starting to change color. Set aside to cool
  3. Mix the soy sauce, mirin, sugar and tahini in a small bowl until well combined.
  4. Combine kale, dulse flakes and sauce mixture in a large bowl and toss to coat. You may find that using your hands to mix it allows for better distribution of sauce over all of the kale.
  5. Grind the sesame seeds using a mortar and pestle, food processor or blender.
  6. Add ground seeds to your salad and toss to mix.
  7. Let salad marinade for 30-60 minutes or longer to allow the kale to soften.


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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Helping my coaching clients go from vegan wanna-be to Unshakably Vegan! From meal-time boredom to loving what they eat. From self-sabotage to taking control. From tempted by all the wrong choices in their non-vegan world to making the right decisions. And from sick and tired to vibrant and healthy. Discover your personal recipe for success and abundant health! BE UNSHAKABLE!

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