Several of you noticed in my Toast of the Town blog the other day the mention of an Asian -inspired warm spinach salad and inquired about the recipe. It’s great as a summer side dish, but also makes the base of a fabulous entree salad, topped with grilled salmon or stir-fried shrimp, chicken, or beef.

Always, happy to oblige, I include it forthwith; it’s up to you not to burn the sesame seeds.

Oh, and you’ll note the carb count for a serving (about 1 1/2 cups of the spinach plus a share of all the rest) comes in at a hair over 8 grams. Much of that comes from the add ins (red onion, ginger, shallot) which you can cut back a little bit and not lose much in the way of flavor, if you choose, to make a little more room in an intervention carb budget for something else. In maintenance, it’s plenty low enough.

Warm Sesame and Ginger Spinach Salad

Serves 4

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
6 slices pancetta, diced coarsely
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 small shallot, diced fine
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 packet Splenda or Stevia (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½” squeeze prepared wasabi paste
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 packet pickled ginger, drained, rinsed, and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

1. Toast the sesame seeds over a low flame until just turning golden; set aside.
2. In a skillet, fry the pancetta in the sesame oil over medium high heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Leave oil in skillet, but turn heat off or to the lowest simmer, depending on how long it will be until you plan to eat the salad.
3. In a small heat-proof bowl, combine the shallots, vinegar, sweetener, wasabi paste, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Add the red onion slices and allow them to marinate in the vinegar mixture for at least 10 minutes to remove some of their bite. Remove onions from the vinegar with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
4. When ready to assemble (and eat) the salad, place the fresh spinach, pancetta, pickled ginger, and onion in a large salad bowl and have ready.
5. Return the skillet to medium high heat to get the oil hot, but not smoking. Turn off the heat and drizzle the hot oil into the vinegar mixture, whisking all the while.
6. Immediately pour the hot dressing over the spinach salad and toss quickly to coat evenly and slightly wilt the leaves. Sprinkle on the toasted sesame seeds and give another quick toss to distribute them throughout.
7. Enjoy immediately.

Protein per serving: 11.4 grams
Effective Carb per serving: 8.3 grams


  1. Just out of curiosity, how did people request the recipe without leaving comments? Want to figure it out in case I ever want to do the same, hehe. thanks!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Through the ‘Contact’ tab at the top of the homepage.

  2. Hi, MD.

    Thanks for this great recipe. Any plans for a new cookbook?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Thank you; I’m glad you like this one. No plans at present for another cookbook, but who knows what the future holds. While we sold through (i.e., sold more copies than it took to justify the book publisher’s advance against royalties) with The Low Carb Comfort Food Cookbook, at this point, we’re still working on selling through the companion volume to our PBS show, The Low Carb CookwoRx Cookbook, because the publishing climate for low carb books took something of a nose dive with the crash of the low carb specialty foods marketing tsunami. And until that happens, the sell-through that is, the future looks less rosey for another cookbook.

  3. why are there so many carbs in this recipe per serving?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: I can’t say that it makes sense to me either. It could be a typo, but I will have to go back to look at the nutritional calculation. It could be that’s per salad and not per serving, so there would be 1/4 as many as it shows, which just my eyeballing it would say should be about right. If it’s incorrect, I apologize and I will check it and get back to you.

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