Spinach Tomato Salad
March 20, 2021  Print
As a mom with two young kids, I try my best to get them to like vegetables. It is so easy for kids to prefer meat over vegetables these days with numerous fast foot chains and abundant meat supplies. So it has become a race for me to get them like vegetables before it’s too late.
Thanks to the pandemic, my kids have been eating at home 100% of the time. So I get to control what they eat. As a result, I cook plenty veggies these days. Despite the faint bitter taste in some leafy vegetables, my kids have grown used to it. My oldest one particularly enjoys them, especially now that he is beginning to understand that eating more vegetables makes him healthier.
Today’s Spinach Tomato Salad recipe is one of my go-to vegetable recipes. Both of my kids like it very much, much to my surprise. The tomato’s natural sweetness and acidity goes really well with the spinach. My 1.5 year old can finish a small bowl all by himself (and that’s even without adding any salt).
Don’t be scared by the sheer volume of the uncooked spinach. The spinach will shrink significantly after blanching. Also, blanching then shocking the spinach removes the raw taste of spinach and preserves the color extremely well.
I sometimes add protein (pork, chicken , or tofu) to this salad. The recipe I’m sharing below includes pork. Adding a protein is completely optional, so if you are pressed for time or have dietary or religious restriction, by all means skip it. The salad tastes great with or without any protein.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 – 6 people1
- 1 lb (~450g) spinach2
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce4
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Optional protein:3 1/3 lb (~150g) pork + 1/2 teaspoon starch + 1/2 egg white + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- If you are not adding any protein, go to step 2. If adding pork, cut the pork first into thin slices. Then cut the slices into 1/4 inch (~0.6cm) thick and 2 inch (~5cm) long matchstick-shaped pieces (see pictures). Add the 1/2 teaspoon starch and 1/2 egg white to the pork, mixing to combine. Let the meat marinate while preparing the other ingredients. See notes for other protein selections.
- Heat a large pot of water. While waiting for the water to boil, wash the spinach thoroughly, making sure no hidden sand or dirt remains on the stem. Cut the spinach into long segments (if using baby spinach, skip this cutting step). When the water boils, add the spinach and a few drops of vegetable oil. Wait for 1/2 minute for regular spinach and 20 seconds for baby spinach before taking the spinach out of the hot water. Immediately rinse or immerse the spinach in cold water. Drain thoroughly (no need to squeeze) and put the spinach in a mixing bowl.
- Prepare the tomatoes by first removing the skin. Follow the instructions in step 2 from my previous recipe Tomato Fish Fillet Tofu Stew. Then remove the seeds as well. Cut the rest of the tomatoes into small chunks and add to the mixing bowl with the spinach.
- If using pork, heat a nonstick pan or well-seasoned skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil. When oil is getting warm, add the marinated pork, tossing and stirring frequently until the pork changes color from pink to white (about 3 minutes). Transfer the pork to the mixing bowl.
- Add the 1/2 teaspoon of table salt, 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to the mixing bowl containing spinach, tomatoes, and pork. Gently mix everything until evenly combined. Transfer to a large plate for family style or divide into smaller plates for individuals portions. Enjoy!
- I realize the portions for this recipe are quite large. So if you only cook for 2 people, cut everything in half.
- The spinach I used here is Taiwanese spinach, which usually has the stems attached. But you can use any type of spinach, including baby spinach.
- You can use other proteins such as chicken or baked marinated tofu (豆腐干) instead of pork. If using chicken, cut the chicken into the same 1/4-inch by 2-inch matchsticks and add a pinch of salt to marinate. For baked tofu, you can either bake it yourself or get it from either Asian or western supermarkets. If you never had baked marinated tofu (豆腐干), try it first. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I usually get the ones from Trader Joe’s, which are quite flavorful. Cut the baked tofu into thin strips as well.
- If gluten sensitive, use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari.