G is for Gomashio

Excuse me? Gomashio (goh-MAH-shee-oh) is an incredibly useful Japanese seasoning made of toasted ground sesame seeds and salt. That is it. Simple, handy, flavorful.


toasted sesame seeds photo by kurisuroffo

Gomashio is a wonderful topping for any vegetable, grain, soup, salad, entree or sushi. Really, any savory dish. It adds complex rich flavor and heady aroma, without a big hit of salt. Gomashio is available in Asian markets, or you can easily make your own.

Nutritionally, sesame seeds are a good source of minerals. Especially calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper, magnesium and manganese. And sesame seeds are the second only to flax seeds as the richest source of lignan.

Ratios of seeds to salt in gomashio vary. When you make your own, you can get your favorite combination. I like this combination.


1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 teaspoon sea salt

Toast the seeds if you did not buy them already toasted.

Put seeds into a dry large shallow pan. Turn on the heat and shake the pan while the seeds toast, a minute or two. Or place seeds on a rimmed sheet pan in a preheated 350-degree oven and toast for about 5 minutes.

Either way, do not walk away! Watch them closely. They burn in an instant. Have a cool plate nearby to put the toasted seeds on, so you can get them out of the hot pan quickly.

Allow seeds to cool completely. Put seeds and salt in a coffee grinder and process to a fine dry powder. Stop before you get a wet paste.

shadows on salt flats photo by Alicia Nijdam

Please tell us your favorite way to use gomashio.