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Vegetarian Recipes

Creamed Spinach

There are tons of reasons to love this easy creamed spinach recipe: it’s fresh and delicious, and it comes together in under 15 minutes, too!
When Jack was growing up, his mom made creamed spinach for Thanksgiving every year. He still raves about her famous recipe, so this year, I used it as inspiration to make a bright, fresh creamed spinach for our holiday feast.

Many creamed spinach recipes use frozen spinach, butter, and cream cheese. I wanted my recipe to put the spinach front and center, so in lieu of frozen spinach, I use a full pound of fresh greens. To let their taste and texture shine, I make a light, tangy cream sauce that gives the fresh spinach the perfect amount of brightness and richness.

Below, you’ll find two variations: a version with coconut milk and one with heavy cream. The coconut milk variation has a light coconut flavor, which makes this side dish extra fresh. If you’re seeking a more traditional creamed spinach, the heavy cream version is just as good, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese really takes it over the top. Jack fully approves of both, so you can’t lose here!

Creamed spinach recipe ingredients

How to Make Creamed Spinach

This easy creamed spinach recipe takes under 15 minutes from start to finish. Here’s how to make it:

  1. First, cook the spinach. This recipe calls for a full pound of spinach, so you’ll likely need to work in batches. Sauté the leaves just until they wilt – they should keep their bright color and plenty of texture.
  2. Next, squeeze out the excess water. Allow the sautéed spinach to cool slightly, and then squeeze out any excess water from the leaves. Don’t skip this step, or your creamed spinach will be watery!
  3. Then, make the cream sauce. First, sauté shallot and garlic. Then, add the spinach back into the pan and stir in coconut milk or heavy cream to make the sauce’s rich base, cornstarch to thicken it, and Dijon mustard for pop. Of course, I finish mine with a good squeeze of lemon!
  4. Serve! Taste and adjust the seasonings, and you’re ready to eat.

This recipe is an excellent holiday side dish, but it’s also a good one to have in your back pocket for dinner any night of the week. Serve it with your favorite protein, or pair it with farro or quinoa and roasted chickpeas to make a quick, easy meal.


Creamed Spinach Recipe Tips

  • Work in batches. What I love about this creamed spinach recipe is how the spinach retains its vibrant color and a slight crunch. To avoid overcooking the greens, sauté the spinach in batches, transferring each batch to a plate just after the leaves wilt. I usually sauté 3-4 batches of greens in a large skillet for this recipe.
  • Give your sautéed spinach a good squeeze! When you get to this step, don’t be shy. If you don’t squeeze out the excess water from the cooked greens, your creamed spinach will be watery. Once your spinach is cool to the touch, press out as much water as you can, and then press out some more. 🙂
  • Make it right before you eat. This simple recipe takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, so it’s easy to put together right before you sit down to dinner. Though we always devour any leftovers, this recipe is best hot off the stove, as the spinach has the best color and texture.

More Favorite Vegetarian Side Dishes

If you love this creamed spinach recipe, try one of these veggie side dishes next:

Creamed Spinach

Author: Jeanine Donofrio

Recipe type: Side dish

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound spinach
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup full-fat coconut milk or ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 2T warm water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat ½ teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach, toss until just wilted, adding more oil if needed if the pan gets too dry. Transfer to a strainer and squeeze out the excess water.
  2. Wipe out the pan and heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and salt and cook until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sautéed spinach, then add the coconut milk, mustard, and cornstarch mixture, and stir until combined. Stir in the lemon juice, season to taste with more salt and pepper, and serve.
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Vegetarian Recipes


“I want you to come watch the movie with us ON the couch, not be in the kitchen!”

I’ve been filling out this one-question-a-day journals for moms that I received for Christmas. It records a little thought or memory over the last year, and then starts again, so you can see how your answers change over a few years. One of the recent ones, prompted me to jot notes about what I am learning as a mom, and I found the question so general I was basically annoyed. I am a romantic, and also wildly pragmatic. In the span of a day I can tear up over the depths of love I feel for my kids, and also wish for them to have a mute button. We all have worlds within us; mothering pushing me into the corners of myself I am sometimes proud of or other corners ashamed of, but am I learning? Yes, every single day. Sometimes in the moment and other times after a particular season. But in 2021, my answer in the bullet journal was that I see my kids are wanting me to play with them. They aren’t registering all the service and shuttling and laundry and what it takes to pull off a week, they just want to play WITH me. It’s natural for me to move within lists and tasks and responsibilities and hustling, but playing is something I have to pay attention to. For them and for me. We usually do a family movie on Friday nights and my son (6.5), see quote above, pointed out that I don’t actually watch the movie, I tinker in the kitchen and he wants me in the couch cuddle. Flattered, and found out that I’d rather make granola than watch The Croods 🙂 So from annoyed, to passing on the question to fellow parents, what are you learning? Try not to be annoyed. Maybe circle back to it.

I published this recipe over on SKCC a few weeks ago and wanted it to live here. We’re trying to find more family-friendly vegetarian recipes (it’s easy for me to fill up on roasted veggies and big salads, not so much for the kids). This batch lasts us two meals – once with noodles, maybe half zoodles, and the second round on toast or english muffins with cheese melted on top, like a pizza sort of thing? It freezes well and is great to deliver to new parents.


Serves 6


2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion – roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 12 oz. riced)
1/2 cup of raw walnuts pieces
1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds – crushed
2 Tbsp. of tomato paste
2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of red wine (or broth of any sort, and double the vinegar to mimic the wine’s acidity)
28 oz. of canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of red lentils
red pepper flake to taste

For serving

12 oz. of pasta or choice, zoodles, etc.
fresh, torn basil


In a large Dutch-oven or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic into smaller bits. Add them to the pot with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté to soften, about 3 minutes.

Pulse up the cauliflower florets to get a rice-like texture. Add the riced-cauliflower to the pot and sauté to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pulse the walnuts in the processor and add those to the pot along with the Italian seasoning, fennel seed, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Sauté until fragrant.

Add the red wine, cook about 3 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, ½ cup water, lentils, pinch of pepper flakes and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, put the cover ajar and let it simmer gently for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Cook your pasta or zoodles according to instructions. Top with cauli Bolognese, grated cheese, fresh basil and enjoy!

The Bolognese will keep in the fridge for a week and can be frozen for a few months.

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