Delicious and Nutritious Okinawan Spinach Salad Recipe

Welcome to my Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad recipe! This salad is a perfect combination of flavors and textures that will take your taste buds on a journey to Okinawa. Okinawan spinach, also known as spinach handama or gynura bicolor, is a unique ingredient that you won’t find in your regular grocery store. But trust me, it’s worth seeking out.

Okinawan spinach is not your regular spinach. It has a slightly bitter taste and a crunchy texture that makes it perfect for salads. It’s also packed with nutrients that are good for your health. This leafy green is known for its cholesterol-lowering properties and is also called longevity spinach because of its association with the Okinawan diet, which is known for its health benefits.

In this recipe, we will be using Okinawan spinach along with iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and red onion to create a delicious and healthy salad. The salad is topped with toasted sesame seeds and herbed croutons, which add a nice crunch and flavor to the dish.

This salad is perfect for anyone who wants to try something new and healthy. It’s also a great option for vegans and vegetarians. So, let’s get started and make this delicious Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad
Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad

Are you a salad lover looking for a unique and delicious recipe? Look no further than this Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad Recipe!

Not only is this salad bursting with flavor, but it also includes some incredible health benefits. Okinawan spinach, also known as handama or gynura bicolor, is a type of spinach known for its cholesterol-lowering properties and longevity benefits. The purple spinach leaves add a beautiful pop of color to the dish, making it both visually appealing and nutritious.

But the benefits don’t stop there. This recipe also includes other fresh ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, red onion, and iceberg lettuce, all of which add a variety of textures and flavors to the dish. Toasted sesame seeds and herbed croutons provide a satisfying crunch, while the tangy dressing ties everything together.

Not only is this salad delicious and healthy, but it’s also incredibly easy to make. With just a few simple steps, you can have a beautiful and nutritious salad ready to serve.

So why not try something new and exciting for your next salad? This Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad Recipe is sure to impress your taste buds and nourish your body.

Ingredient List

Before making this Okinawan Spinach Salad, make sure to gather all the necessary ingredients. Here is what you will need:


  • 2 leaves of Okinawan spinach (handama) or spinach gynura hung tsoi suizenjigusa
  • 2 leaves of iceberg lettuce
  • 4 leaves of Okinawa spinach or spinach handama
  • 1 packed cup of spinach (suizenjina type)
  • 1 tablespoon of diced red onion
  • 2 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
  • herbed croutons (optional)

These ingredients are easy to find in most grocery stores and can be substituted for other types of spinach or lettuce if needed.

The Recipe How-To

Now, let’s get to the most important part of this article, the recipe itself. The Okinawan Spinach Salad or Handama Salad is a simple yet refreshing dish that will surely satisfy your taste buds. Here’s how to make it:


  • 2 leaves of Okinawan Spinach or Handama
  • 2 leaves of Iceberg Lettuce
  • 4 leaves of Red Leaf Lettuce
  • 1 packed cup of Spinach Leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of Diced Red Onion
  • 2 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Herbed Croutons


  1. Rinse all the spinach leaves and lettuce under cold water. Dry them with paper towels or a salad spinner.
  2. Cut the Okinawan Spinach or Handama and the Red Leaf Lettuce into bite-size pieces. Place them in a large bowl.
  3. Tear the Iceberg Lettuce and the Spinach Leaves into smaller pieces. Add them to the bowl.
  4. Add the Diced Red Onion and the Quartered Cherry Tomatoes to the bowl.
  5. Toss all the ingredients together until they are evenly mixed.
  6. Sprinkle Toasted Sesame Seeds and Herbed Croutons over the top of the salad.
  7. Serve immediately.

That’s it! This recipe is so easy to make, yet it brings out the fresh and crisp flavors of the ingredients. You can also add other vegetables or protein to this salad to make it more filling. Don’t forget to enjoy it with your favorite dressing.

Substitutions and Variations

One of the best things about cooking is that you can always experiment with different ingredients and create a unique twist on a classic recipe. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try with this Okinawan Spinach Salad recipe:

– Spinach: If you can’t find Okinawan spinach, you can use regular spinach or any other leafy greens such as kale or arugula. You can also mix different types of greens for added texture and flavor.

– Vegetables: Cherry tomatoes and red onions add a nice crunch and sweetness to this salad, but you can also use other veggies such as bell peppers, cucumbers, or carrots. Just make sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces.

– Herbed croutons: If you don’t have herbed croutons, you can make your own by toasting cubes of bread with some olive oil, garlic, and herbs such as thyme or oregano. You can also use plain croutons or skip them altogether.

– Toasted sesame seeds: Toasted sesame seeds add a nutty flavor and crunch to this salad, but you can also use other seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds. You can also skip them if you don’t have any on hand.

– Dressing: This salad is dressed with a simple vinaigrette made of olive oil, vinegar, and honey. You can use any type of vinegar you like such as balsamic or apple cider vinegar, and adjust the amount of honey to your taste. You can also add other ingredients to the dressing such as Dijon mustard, lemon juice, or soy sauce.

– Protein: If you want to add some protein to this salad, you can top it with grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu. You can also add some nuts such as almonds or walnuts for extra crunch.

Remember, cooking is all about having fun and trying new things. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and make this recipe your own!

Serving and Pairing

This Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad is a delightful dish that is perfect as a starter or side dish. The vibrant green color of the spinach leaves combined with the bright red of the cherry tomatoes and the red onion creates a visually stunning dish that is sure to impress your guests.

When it comes to pairing this salad, the possibilities are endless. The crisp and refreshing taste of the iceberg lettuce pairs perfectly with the slightly bitter taste of the Okinawan spinach. The addition of the herbed croutons adds a nice crunch to the dish, making it a great pairing for a light soup or a grilled chicken breast.

If you’re looking for a main course pairing, this salad would go great with a white fish like cod or halibut. The mild taste of the fish complements the flavors of the salad without overpowering it. Alternatively, you could pair it with a grilled flank steak or chicken skewers for a heartier meal.

When it comes to serving this dish, I like to serve it in a large bowl or platter, garnished with some toasted sesame seeds. This adds a nice nutty flavor to the dish and gives it a nice finishing touch. You could also sprinkle some feta cheese or goat cheese over the top for an extra layer of flavor.

Overall, this Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad is a versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of different foods. Whether you’re looking for a light starter or a hearty main course, this salad is sure to impress your guests and leave them wanting more.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

This Okinawan spinach salad is a perfect dish for meal prep and making ahead of time. You can assemble the salad and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before serving. It’s a great time-saver for busy weeknights or for hosting a dinner party.

To store the salad, make sure to keep the dressing separate and store it in an airtight container. This will prevent the salad from getting soggy and wilted. When you’re ready to serve, simply pour the dressing over the salad and toss everything together.

If you have leftovers, you can also store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. The spinach may wilt slightly, but it will still taste delicious. When reheating, it’s best to do so in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. Be sure to not overheat the salad as it may become mushy and unappetizing.

One tip for enhancing the flavor of the salad when reheating is to sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top. This will add a nice nutty flavor and texture to the dish. Additionally, you can also add some fresh herbed croutons to the salad for some extra crunch.

Overall, this Okinawan spinach salad is a versatile dish that can be made ahead of time and stored for later. With the right storage and reheating methods, you can enjoy this delicious and nutritious salad without compromising its quality.

Tips for Perfect Results

Before you start making the Okinawan Spinach Salad, here are a few tips to ensure that your dish comes out perfect.

Firstly, make sure to wash the spinach leaves thoroughly before using them in the salad. The Okinawa spinach, also known as Handama, has a unique flavor profile that blends well with other ingredients. The leaves should be crisp and fresh, without any signs of wilting or yellowing. Use cold water to wash the leaves, and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Secondly, it is important to use the right dressing for this salad. A simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt works well with the natural flavor of the spinach leaves. You can also add a bit of honey or maple syrup to balance out the acidity of the lemon juice. Avoid using heavy cream-based dressings as they can overpower the delicate flavor of the spinach.

Thirdly, adding toasted sesame seeds and herbed croutons can add a delicious crunch to the salad. Simply toast the sesame seeds in a pan until they turn golden brown and sprinkle them over the salad. You can also make your own herbed croutons by tossing small cubes of bread with olive oil, garlic, and dried herbs, and baking them in the oven until they turn crispy.

Lastly, try experimenting with different variations of the salad by adding other ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, red onion, or iceberg lettuce. These ingredients can add color and texture to the dish, and complement the natural flavor of the spinach leaves.

With these tips, you can make a delicious and healthy Okinawan Spinach Salad that is sure to impress your guests.


Before we wrap up this Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad Recipe article, let’s address some common questions that may come up when making this dish. Here are frequently asked questions (FAQ) that may help you achieve the best results possible.

Can Okinawa spinach be eaten raw?

When it comes to edibles, there is a certain vegetable that stands out for its high nutritional value and versatility. This vegetable can be consumed either raw or cooked, and its tender leaves and shoot tips make for great additions to various recipes such as stir fry, tempura, soups, and stews. However, it is important to be mindful of cooking time as overcooking can cause the vegetable to become slimy. The leaves boast a crunchy texture and a distinct yet subtle pine-like taste.

Is Okinawa spinach the same as longevity spinach?

Longevity Spinach, also known as Leaves of the Gods or Gynura procumbens, is a leafy green vegetable that is similar to Okinawa spinach but with a stronger flavor and texture. This plant is believed to have various health benefits, including lowering blood sugar levels, reducing inflammation, and improving cholesterol levels.

Is Okinawa spinach good for you?

Okinawa spinach offers a variety of health benefits, including its ability to lower cholesterol levels, earning it the nickname “cholesterol spinach.” This leafy green is packed with essential nutrients such as protein, iron, potassium, calcium, and vitamin A. Additionally, it has been utilized in traditional medicine for a multitude of purposes.

What zone is Okinawa spinach?

The plants known as Longevity and Okinawa Spinach can thrive as perennials in areas designated as zones 9-11. However, even in cooler northern climates, they can still be grown as annuals and harvested throughout the summer season. To ensure optimal growth, these plants prefer soil that is well-draining, nutrient-rich, and receives adequate watering.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad Recipe is a great way to incorporate nutrient-dense and flavorful ingredients into your diet. With its unique taste and health benefits, this salad is sure to become a staple in your meal rotation. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy lunch or a nutritious side dish for dinner, this recipe has got you covered.

Remember, you can always experiment with different substitutions and variations to tailor the recipe to your personal preferences. Don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own twist to this classic dish. And with the helpful tips and recommendations provided, you’re sure to achieve perfect results every time.

So why not give this Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad Recipe a try? Not only will you be treating your taste buds to a delicious and nutritious meal, but you’ll also be doing your body a favor by fueling it with wholesome ingredients. Trust me, once you take that first bite, you’ll be hooked.

Okinawan Spinach (Handama) Salad Recipe

A simple side-salad making use of a local green known by the nickname of "Okinawan Spinach" – more commonly known as handama on island…

  • 2 leaves iceberg lettuce
  • 4 leaves okinawan spinach (handama)
  • 1 tablespoon diced red onion
  • 2 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 teaspoon herbed croutons
  • 1 tablespoon salad dressing, of choice (I used a creamy French-style cheese dressing)
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (cracked)
  1. Rinse, strain, and tear lettuce and spinach greens into large bite-size chunks.
  2. Toss with onion, tomatoes, and croutons.
  3. Drizzle on dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Side Dish
< 15 Mins, Easy, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Low Protein

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