Sauteed Spinach could not be any simpler to make! With only 3 ingredients, this quick and easy side dish comes together in just a few minutes from start to finish and is as healthy as it gets.
I loooove me some spinach. I can eat it raw (and normally do). But there’s just something that hits different about sauteed spinach. Am I right?! When you combine it with the perfect amount of fresh minced garlic, a good quality olive oil and a couple cracks of salt and pepper, there really isn’t anything more you could possibly need. Not to mention it has a whole boatload of health benefits. It’s low in calories and high in good-for-you nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron and Potassium. It adds a pop of colour to any dish and takes just minutes to prep, cook and serve. How could you not love it?!
A few years ago, the boyfriend and I spent about 2 months (out of our year in South America) in Uruguay. We lived in a small surf town with dirt roads and only a few shops to buy groceries. Every time we had to re-up on groceries, the boyfriend would scooter into town with the backpack he was using to travel (yeah, one of the big ones in true backpacker fashion) and FILL. IT. TO. THE BRIM. with nothing but fruits and veggies. To this day, we’ve never eaten as many fruits and veggies as we did in those two months. (And of course, meat, too. I mean, it is Uruguay right?! But that’s a story for another day).
A bunch of fresh spinach was always on our radar in that small surf town. At first because that was amongst one of the only veggies available. But later because we both grew a profound love for it and sought it out time and time again. Did we make it different every single time? No, we didn’t. In fact, we made it the same way every single time. This way. Sauteed spinach with garlic in olive oil was our go-to way of cooking spinach and I can proudly say it still is.
It’s rare for me to stick to one way of cooking something as I love to change things up pretty much every time I cook. But with something so easy and so delicious, I rarely ever find a need to when it comes to sauteed spinach.
INGREDIENTS FOR SAUTEED SPINACH
Simple and basic is the name of the game with it comes to this easy Sauteed Spinach recipe. Three ingredients, plus the addition of salt and pepper, is all you need to perfect this versatile side dish. Let’s get into them in a little bit more detail down below:
- Spinach: The vibrant and healthy star of the show. Either bunched, long-stem mature spinach or baby spinach work great in this recipe. Either way, fresh spinach (as opposed to frozen) is best. PRO TIP: Baby spinach comes pre-washed and there is no need to cut off the stems. However, if using mature spinach, be sure to trim or tear off any large steam and wash/dry it really well before use.
- Garlic: Adds jussst the right amount of flavour to this Sauteed Spinach recipe. I love using fresh minced garlic for that in-your-face crisp garlic flavour. However, if all you have on hand is garlic powder, feel free to use that instead. You’ll need about 1/2 a teaspoon in place of the 3 fresh cloves.
- Olive Oil: Adds flavour and really brings the dish together. As always, good quality and extra virgin work best in this recipe. Since sauteeing spinach is so quick you don’t have to worry about olive oil not having a high smoke point. However, if you prefer to use a different oil, you do you, boo. Avocado oil works just as well but won’t add as much flavour as the olive oil does.
- Salt and Pepper (not pictured): Adds flavour and umph to the sauteed spinach. Brings this simple dish together.
HOW TO MAKE SAUTEED SPINACH (KEY TIPS)
- Use good quality and fresh ingredients. Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe for sauteed spinach to begin with, freshness matters and will make all the difference in your final result.
- Start with a lot of spinach. If you know anything about sauteeing spinach then you surely know that less is definitely not more! It shrinks to almost nothing as it cooks so while it may seem like you have a ton of spinach to start with, a few handfuls of it windles down to basically nothing. A general rule of thumb to remember when sauteeing spinach is you always need more than you think! EXTRA TIP: No need to wash or trim baby spinach. However, don’t skip this step if using mature spinach that you normally find in bunches in the produce section of the grocery store.
- Use fresh garlic if you can swing it. It really makes a difference in this simple dish since it’s one of the only other ingredients. Garlic powder will work, sure, if that’s all you have on hand. However, it won’t give you that profound, in-your-face garlic flavour that goes so perfectly well with sauteed spinach.
- Keep an eye on the spinach as it cooks in the pan and stir it every now and then to ensure even cooking. Sauteeing spinach is so quick and easy that it’s not a dish you can just walk away from. It’ll be done before you get to where you’re going! Instead, hover over the pan and stir it several times to ensure that nothing burns. EXTRA TIP: Don’t overcook your spinach and remove it from the heat just as it’s beginning to wilt. It’ll finish cooking in the pan and overcooking could leave you with bitter results.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
YES! Sauteed spinach is an extremely healthy way of incorporating more leafy greens into your diet. Not only is it super simple and quick to make but you can use it as a delicious side dish or add it to all of your favourite spinach recipes.
Spinach is naturally low in calories and has tons of valuable nutrients our bodies need. It’s high in fibre, potassium, magnesium and is an excellent source of Vitamins A, K, B2 and B6. Sauteeing spinach (as opposed to eating it raw) is said to increase its nutritional benefits as your body is better able to absorb certain vitamins and minerals.
There are a few things to keep in mind to avoid your sauteed spinach coming out biter. Smaller and lighter looking leaves (often baby spinach) will naturally have a less bitter taste than darker coloured and bigger leaves. The stems also contribute to bitterness in spinach so if you find they are overly long and thick, simply trim or tear them off before adding them to the pan. Finally, overcooking spinach will result in a more bitter dish. Keep a close eye while you’re cooking and as soon as your leaves start to wilt, give it a few extra stirs then remove it from the heat.
The minced garlic, good quality extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper in this recipe for sauteed spinach will mask any lingering bitter taste.
Both ways of eating spinach are healthy and provide valuable vitamins, nutrients and minerals to our bodies. Eating raw spinach is better for Vitamin C absorption while eating cooked spinach is better for the absorption of other vitamins and nutrients. It is said that sauteeing spinach will allow your body to absorb more calcium and iron. That is because spinach is has oxalic acid, which blocks the absorption of iron and calcium but breaks down under high temperatures.
There are so many delicious ways to eat cooked spinach! Enjoy it as a side dish to all your favourite meals. Use it in omelettes, frittatas, quiches or alongside your morning eggs. Add it on top of burgers, baked sweet potatoes, hummus, in tacos or quesadillas, stir it into mashed potatoes or try my Keto Egg Drop Soup recipe.
- 1 pound Fresh Spinach*
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the spinach to the pan, using your hands or a spatula to pack it down if needed. Cook it for a few seconds then use tongs or a spatula to turn the spinach over and coat it in the oil and garlic and cook some more.
- Keep stirring/turning the spinach in the pan until most of the leaves are bright green and wilted. Season with desired amount of salt and pepper then remove from the heat immediately.
I used baby spinach in this recipe, however, the fresh mature bunches will work just as well. Just be sure to trim or tear off any large, thick stems and wash/dry the leaves before beginning.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 328mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 5gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
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