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CSA Box #2 and an Easy Korean Spinach Salad "Banchan" Recipe

by Jeanette on June 17, 2011 · 23 Comments
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This Easy Korean Spinach Salad “Banchan” is perfect for a summer side dish.
Korean Spinach Salad Banchan
Last week, I picked up my first CSA box (Community Supported Agriculture), which contained baby arugula, lots of salad greens, spinach, scallions and fresh picked strawberries.

The strawberries were so sweet and fresh that the boys just ate these out of hand. I made a few arugula salads, including Arugula Salad and Tomato Salad, and Arugula and Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, both served with a Lemon Olive Oil Dressing. I also made lots of simple salads with all the leafy salad greens as well as an easy Korean Spinach Salad Banchan

This week, CSA Box #2 held assorted baby salad greens, spinach, bok choy, garlic scapes, radishes and strawberries. Along with the box came a note which talked about how the “cool, wet, rainy days interspersed with raging heat waves, punctuated by severed thunderstorms” have resulted in “markedly slow growth, and very low crop yields. In some cases, we’ve lost entire seedings to either the extreme heat or cold and wet conditions.” Fortunately, the farm is increasing their plantings for the summer and fall to help make up for the sparser early summer crops.

Bok Choy, Radishes, Garlic Scapes, Assorted Salad Greens, Spinach, Strawberries (top left clockwise)

So, what do I plan on making with all this beautiful produce? As with the last time, the strawberries were eaten lickety-split. I will certainly be eating a lot of salads with the two bags of fresh salad greens, and the radishes will go nicely with a new hummus dip I’ve been making (recipe forthcoming). The garlic scapes will find its way into some Swiss Chard Garlic Scape Pesto as that was a huge hit with my family last week (supplemented with Swiss chard from the farmer’s market).  As for the bok choy, I plan on making one of my favorite easy vegetable side dishes, Stir-Fry Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms. And the spinach – I can think of no better way to enjoy this than in this easy Korean Spinach Salad Banchan.

With the hot weather we’ve been experiencing lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Korean “banchan,” the little side dishes that are integral to a traditional Korean meal. I’ve written about banchan before, including a slightly different Spinach Banchan recipe

Korean banchan are easy side dishes to make, and require little time to prepare individually; it is common for Korean dinners to include 4-6 small plates of banchan side dishes. Most banchan are comprised of just one vegetable, and are simply sauteed, require minimal time cooking, or are prepared raw.

This past week, I asked a Korean woman I met about banchan, and she told me how she prepared Korean Spinach Salad Banchan.

Easy Korean Spinach Salad “Banchan”

This Korean Spinach Salad Makes An Easy Summer Side Dish.

Printable Recipe


  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • toasted sesame seeds

Dressing for Spinach Salad:

  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce


  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, minced



  1. Blanch spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain, rinse well with cold water and squeeze dry. Cut into bite-size pieces.
  2. To make Dressing for Spinach Salad, mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and scallion.
  3. Toss well with blanched spinach.
  4. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

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  1. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says:

    What a gorgeous CSA harvest! I love spinach salads with strawberries, so if the berries lasted for even a few minutes in my house, I'd probably try to combine those two, with a bit of balsamic. Oh, yum.

  2. Pretend Chef says:

    The more I am reading about your posts about the CSA I am more tempted to purchase my share. I can only imagine how nice it is to receive fresh as can be produce to your doorstep or a pickup location. For my "Stir The Pot" challenge I'd love to try this recipe. Yummy!

  3. What a great salad!

  4. Ginny Lee says:

    I want a CSA box!! I love Korean food, living in Seoul for 2 years was a dream come true. I learned how to make this banchan at a Korean cooking class. So simple but so masshisoyo (delicious)

  5. Looks good with lots of interesting flavors!

  6. Jeanette says:

    Lydia – I love the combination of strawberries and spinach in a salad; unfortunately (or fortunately) the strawberries we've been getting in the CSA box are so ripe and delicious, they are gone before you know it!

    Rochelle – You might consider splitting a CSA share for a smaller family. We have 6 in our family and a whole box is plenty. It is lots of fun and has made me think more creatively about how to enjoy all the super fresh produce.

    Ginny – You are so lucky to have live in Korea and enjoyed their food as well as taken Korean cooking classes – I love Korean flavors and am drawn to the rich, deep, spicy flavors that cuisine has to offer.

    This recipe and method works with just about any vegetable. I like keeping a variety of different banchan in my refrigerator – it makes a quick and easy meal along with some rice or noodles.

  7. Ami's Vegetarian Delicacies says:

    Looks so healthy, I've never blanched spinach leaves before, I'm gonna try it out. Tnx for sharing this idea.

  8. Grace @ HapaMama says:

    I just joined a CSA,too! It is so much fun to open the box and see what's inside. I adore this Korean spinach banchan, and I've been meaning to make kimbap this week, so I'm going to use your recipe and wrap it up!

  9. Jeanette says:

    Ami – blanching spinach takes less than a minute, and it gets rid of some of the oxalic acid that can interfere with the absorption of calcium. It also gets rid of the chalk taste that raw spinach sometimes has.

    Grace – I love opening my CSA box each week, so much fun! Kimbap is a great idea for the summer, a terrific way to include a variety of vegetables in one bite.

  10. how do u make such simple foods look soo BEAUTIFUL? you have some magical gift that makes everything amazing. i've never seen banchan look so schmancy. :) thanks for the recipe!!

  11. Mmm this looks so delicious! I wish I had known about this before I used my mizuna in another dish…it would have been perfect!

  12. Jeanette says:

    Thanks Junia! Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally beautiful, so they make it easier to photograph!

    Joanne – I bet mizuna would be really good prepared this way, as would any Asian greens.

  13. Carolyn says:

    Ooo, I love this recipe! Saving for future use.

  14. madhyatmika says:

    How did you get the loaf shape in the last picture? It's a beautiful presentation!

  15. Simply Life says:

    great recipe! I can make this from the last CSA box as well- oooh, I hope I get strawberries soon! :)

  16. Jeanette says:

    To get the "loaf" shaped spinach salad, I simply blanched the spinach as a whole bunch and carefully removed it from the blanching water with tongs, and then gently squeezed it dry.

    Just made this again tonight with the rest of the spinach from my CSA box, so easy!

  17. Kate@Diethood says:

    I would probably eat this every day. I eat a lot of spinach as it is, but with sesame seeds?! YUMMM!

  18. Amy | She Wears Many Hats says:

    Gorgeous pictures! That color could make even none green eaters wanna try it.

  19. Jeanette, your CSA boxes sound awesome. I bet you are so excited each week to tear into them to see all those goodies. What a great way to make sure you eat loads of veggies. I like this recipe, toasted sesame seeds add so much flavor. Hope you guys had a great weekend!

  20. Jeanette says:

    I am loving the CSA boxes – such a fun way to try different vegetables and come up with different ways to eat them. I've made this spinach salad a few times already and plan on preparing other vegetables I get in my CSA box similarly.

  21. Jen_from_NJ says:

    WOW your spinach salad looks gorgeous! I love the sesame seeds on top.

  22. Just made this tonight- was super delicious! Thank you!!!

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