RECIPE: Yuba-maki Spinach Roll

  • 3 min read

RECIPE: Yuba-maki Spinach Roll

This simple yet elegant side dish is a fun way to get your veggies in. Made with traditional Japanese ingredients, Yuba-maki Spinach Roll is as delicious as it is beautiful. 

Yuba, or tofu skin, is made by simmering soy milk and skimming off the top film as it forms. This film is then hung to dry, creating a shelf-stable ingredient that can be packaged and sold. Similar to tofu, yuba has a subtle taste on its own, but will absorb flavor from whatever it is cooked with. Due to its delicate, thin layers, it has a smooth and silky texture. When prepared correctly, it is soft but pliable and stretchy, almost like the outside of a mozzarella ball. In Japanese cooking, yuba is often included in soups and stir-frys, or cut into strips and used in place of noodles. As a vegetarian source of protein, yuba has become a main ingredient in Shōjin Ryōri, or Buddhist monk cuisine. 

In this recipe, we use yuba as an outer wrapper to encase boiled spinach. When making each roll, place half of the spinach facing one way and half of the spinach facing the other in order to create a contrast between the dark green leaves and light green stems. When you slice into each roll and place the pieces cut side-up, you will be able to see the separation of colors. Additionally, this technique provides greater distinction between the crunch of the stems and chew of the leaves. To finish, pour umami-rich dashi soup over the cut pieces. 

Made with Japanese pantry staples, Yuba-maki Spinach Roll is a unique and refined vegetable side dish.


Servings: 6-7 pieces


  • 1 sheet yuba (tofu skin)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Dashi Soup

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  1. Soak the yuba in room temperature water for 3 mins then lay on a flat surface.
  2. In a pan, boil some water with a pinch of salt. Add the spinach and cook for 1-1½  mins. 
  3. Drain the spinach under cold water then squeeze out any remaining water. Coat with 1 tbsp of soy sauce then cut to the length of the yuba. 
  4. Place ¼ of the spinach on the yuba. Place another ¼ on top with the leaves and stems in the opposite direction. 
  5. Tightly roll the yuba around the spinach. 
  6. Cut the rolls into bite sized pieces and place vertically in a bowl.
  7. To make the dashi soup, cook the dashi powder in 150ml of water in a pan on medium heat. Stir and add the soy sauce, mirin and salt. Remove and pour on top of the yuba rolls. Can be enjoyed right away or let it sit to absorb the flavors.


Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman

Britney Budiman

Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.

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