Quick and easy creamed spinach, laced with onion and garlic, is one of the yummiest comfort side dishes ever. Make it as decadent or light as you like.
At its core, creamed spinach is a simple bechamel or white sauce mixed with spinach and seasonings. That’s it. The whole dish takes about 15 minutes. Either frozen or fresh spinach can be used.
Facts About Spinach
- Nutrition: Spinach is a super healthy food, packed with iron, calcium and vitamin K.
- Which is better – frozen or fresh spinach? Actually, frozen spinach is healthier as it retains nutrients better than fresh spinach. And frozen spinach will last months in the freezer.
- Measurements: A 10 ounce package of frozen spinach is equivalent to 1 1/2 cups cooked/drained spinach and makes about 4 servings. The equivalent of fresh spinach would be about 15 cups fresh spinach or 1 1/2 pounds.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Make this dish as light – low calorie – as you want by using mostly skim 0% milk. Or, rich and decadent with heavy cream. I use a combination.
- Vary the flavors with onion, garlic and Parmesan or by adding nutmeg. The nutmeg, perhaps an acquired taste, really gives it a unique taste and aroma.
- Use fresh or frozen spinach. Instructions for both are in the recipe.
Make Ahead Easy Creamed Spinach
- Keep the creamed spinach in the fridge for a couple of days and rewarm it on the stove or in the microwave when needed. You may need to add additional milk to thin it to the consistency you like.
How to Use It as a Filling in Puff Pastry
- You can use the recipe as a filling in puff pastry, similar to our recipe for Super Easy Knishes. Just substitute the potatoes with creamed spinach and make the bechamel sauce a bit thicker (using less milk). Scrumptious!
Easy Creamed Spinach
- 1 10 oz package chopped frozen spinach (or 15 cups fresh baby spinach, about 1 1/2 lbs or 16 oz,, roughly chopped)
- 3 tbsp butter and oil, any combination (eg. 2 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp oil)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions or onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
- 1 tsp minced garlic - about 1 clove (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk or cream, any combination (I use 1 cup 0-2% and 1/2 cup half&half 10% cream)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or more, to taste (optional)
- COOK SPINACH: Cook frozen spinach in microwave as per package instructions. I add a teaspoon of water and microwave covered 3.5 minutes on High. Drain in strainer, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. It's ok if a little bit remains. Note 1 for using fresh spinach.
- MAKE CREAM SAUCE: Heat butter and/or oil on medium in a medium saucepan. Add onions and saute gently for a few minutes. Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Mix in flour to make a roux. Stir for a couple of minutes until it turns pale brown. Add any combination of milk and cream that you like to equal 1.5 cups. I use mostly skim milk and about 1/4 cup cream. Stir until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg (if using) to your taste.
- COMBINE: Stir in cooked well-squeezed spinach. Add Parmesan cheese if using. If mixture is too thick, add more milk until desired consistency is reached. Adjust seasonings. Serve immediately. Note 2 to make ahead.
- To cook fresh spinach: Boil in water for 1-2 minute, drain and squeeze out water. You can use the same pot to make the cream sauce.
- Make Ahead: The creamed spinach can be kept in fridge for a couple of days and rewarmed on the stove or in the microwave when needed. You may need to add additional milk to thin it to the consistency you like.
Other healthy vegetarian side dishes you might enjoy: