Traditional recipes

Best Steamed Spinach Recipes

Best Steamed Spinach Recipes

Steamed Spinach Shopping Tips

Buy green leafy vegetables like arugula, watercress, and collards – they are good sources of vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like iron and calcium.

Steamed Spinach Cooking Tips

Brighten up sandwiches or salads with small, tender leaves like spinach and add larger, tougher leaves like kale to soups and stews.

32 Delicious Spinach Recipes That Even Spinach Haters Will Love

These easy recipes will definitely make you want to eat all of your greens.

When you were a kid, chances are you hated spinach. Whether it was steamed (and soggy) or raw (and sandy), it was never tasty. But now, you're armed with these easy spinach recipes, which are so full of flavor you&rsquoll be able to convince even the pickiest eaters that spinach is the best veggie around.

Whether you&rsquore serving spinach dip as a delicious appetizer, or making a side dish out of sautéed spinach covered with onions and garlic, this nutritious superfood is super versatile. Plus, Popeye had the right idea, loading up on healthy and nutritious spinach to grow strong: This leafy green is full of vitamins A and K, not to mention it can boost heart health, improve cholesterol, and build muscle.

It's a great idea to eat spinach every day: You can use it in a quick and easy breakfast by adding it to a make-ahead egg sandwich, as a base for salad at lunch, or make a vegetarian dish for family dinner night. You can even throw a handful into your favorite smoothie for a big punch of nutrients. In short, these spinach recipes will teach even the spinach haters among us that this green can actually taste good.

Sesame Steamed Greens

I have discovered a secret weight loss product that can literally melt away those extra pounds without any effort. Would you like to hear about it? It is a simple supplement that can be found in most grocery stores and you may want to write down the name. It is called… “KALE!”

Seriously, copious amounts of greens are the secret weapon of any smart dieter and let me show you why:

One of the biggest reasons why people overeat is because they are malnourished. No, we are certainly not lacking macronutrients like carbs and protein, but most people’s bodies are literally starving for micronutrients found in fresh, whole plant-based foods from all colors of the rainbow. Without these essential antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, the centers of our brain that handle satiation never feel satisfied. You can reach for cookies and chips all day long, but without those micronutrients, your body never feels like it has had enough to eat.

The simple truth is that when you eat too few micronutrients (i.e., phytonutrients in kale), you eat too many macronutrients (i.e., carbs in cookies).

This is why, to lose weight faster, you simply need to eat more micronutrients, especially in the morning. When you wake up to a fresh bowl of greens, you feel satisfied longer. The temptations to snack on unhealthy foods is suppressed and making healthier choices is easier all day long.

Makes 1 serving


  • 3 big handful of fresh greens (spinach, kale, chard, and/or others)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds

How to Steam Greens

There are several ways to steam greens, but my favorite is to use a vegetable steamer which looks like a satellite dish that expands/contracts to fit any size pot. It’s a great kitchen tool and you can get one for under $7 on Amazon.

Simply add 1/2 cup filtered water to the pot. Insert the steamer basket, add 2-3 handfuls of greens (spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, watercress, etc.), cover with a lid, and steam for 5-10 minutes until the greens are wilted to your liking.

These are perfectly tasty right out of the pan, and I often eat them just the way they are. But if you’re new to steamed greens and would like more flavor, transfer the greens to a bowl, drizzle a little vinegar (balsamic is fine, but I would suggest going down that fancy vinegar aisle at your healthy grocery store and picking an exciting fruit vinegar) along with some red pepper flakes. Then toss with your hands or tongs. Finally, sprinkle a few toasted sesame seeds over the top for the perfect finish.

Steamed Greens “Tea”

When you steam greens, they lose some of their nutrients (I’ve heard about 30%). But you can recover most of that by drinking the broth made from steaming with that 1/2 cup of water. This may sound completely bizarre, but try it before you knock it, okay? It turns out, this “tea” can be absolutely delicious, almost like a nice green tea with hints of whatever greens you used. Not only do you have an obscenely nutritious multivitamin-in-a-bowl to start your day, but it also comes with a free cup of tea. Awesome.

Ingredients Needed

  • frozen chopped spinach
  • butter
  • yellow onion
  • garlic
  • cream cheese
  • heavy cream (or half and half)
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Yes, I know some of you are going to give me a side-eye right now, but I highly recommend frozen spinach over fresh spinach for this particular creamed spinach recipe! Do you think I’m crazy? Well, I might be, but I am right about the type of spinach to use!

If you use fresh spinach, you need to steam it or cook it down until it’s the texture of cooked and thawed spinach. This takes a lot of fresh spinach and to get enough spinach to make this style of creamed spinach recipe. Bonus: Fresh frozen spinach is really easy to use, is budget friendly and works quickly to get this side dish recipe on the table in 20 minutes or less! I promise you won’t know it was ever frozen once you take a bite of the finished recipe!

Garlic Sautéed Spinach

Rinse the spinach well in cold water to make sure it’s very clean. Spin it dry in a salad spinner, leaving just a little water clinging to the leaves.

In a very large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute, but not until it’s browned. Add all the spinach, the salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook it for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the spinach is wilted. Using a slotted spoon, lift the spinach to a serving bowl and top with the butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of sea or kosher salt. Serve hot.

Copyright 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved

How to Cook Fresh Spinach

Before you start cooking spinach, you&aposll want to work with about 1 pound of spinach at a time (it should equal about 12 cups torn). It may seem like a lot, but it cooks down to a much smaller volume. Thoroughly wash and drain spinach. Remove stems and tear leaves into pieces, as desired. If you’re using baby spinach, the stems generally do not need to be removed, as they’re more tender. You also likely won’t need to tear the leaves into pieces, because they’re already smaller. If you&aposre using prewashed baby spinach, sold in bags in the produce aisle, you can skip washing. Each of the following three methods for cooking spinach makes 4 side-dish servings.

How to Sauté Spinach

Here’s how to cook spinach on the stovetop, starting with our easy saut spinach recipe.

  • Heat about 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet ($40, Bed Bath & Beyond) over medium heat. Add 8 to 12 cups packed spinach, large stems removed.
  • Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until just wilted.
  • Stir in salt, pepper, and (if desired) balsamic vinegar or other seasonings to taste. If you want to dress up the side dish, garnish with crisp, cooked bacon pieces.

How to Boil Spinach

To cook fresh spinach in boiling water, place 1 pound washed spinach, covered, in a small amount of boiling salted water. If you&aposre wondering how long to boil spinach, it should only take a few minutes. Once the steam starts to foam, begin your timer. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Try using boiled spinach in our velvet spinach recipe.

How to Steam Spinach

To steam fresh spinach on the stovetop, add water to a pot fitted with a steamer basket ($20, Target). Place 1 pound spinach on the steamer. When water boils, cook spinach for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender.

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté or saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook gently for about 3 minutes, until the garlic is lightly browned.
  3. Add the spinach and cook, moving the uncooked spinach to the bottom of the pan with tongs, for about 5 minutes, until fully wilted.
  4. Drain off any excess water from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Eat This Tip

The key to eating healthy is to keep your food exciting, which often means keeping it varied. A great way to keep this recipe exciting (especially after you make it several times) is to switch up the kind of olive oil you're using. This recipe calls for a red pepper-infused olive oil, but you can just as easily choose a sun-dried tomato infused version, or even basil-infused. Try a few options and see which ones you like best!

Love this recipe? Subscribe to our Eat This, Not That! magazine for even more at-home cooking and healthy eating ideas.

  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sliced Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups steamed beet wedges, or slices, 1/2-1 inch thick (see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place spinach in a large bowl.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, parsley and garlic and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 minutes. Add beets, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the beets are heated through, about 1 minute more. Add the beet mixture to the spinach and toss to combine. Serve warm.

Tip: How to Prep & Steam Beets: Trim greens (if any) and root end peel the skin with a vegetable peeler.
Cut beets into 1/2- to 1-inch-thick cubes, wedges or slices.

To steam on the stovetop: Place in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a large pot. Cover and steam over high heat until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

To steam in the microwave: Place in a glass baking dish, add 2 tablespoons water, cover tightly and microwave on High until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

No time to prep? Look for Melissa's brand Peeled Baby Red Beets in the produce section of many supermarkets. They're peeled, steamed and ready to eat and contain far less sodium than their canned counterparts.

Frozen chopped spinach is a convenient ingredient to use in this dip. This type of green is often sold in 9 to 10-ounce bags or compressed boxes, either size will work. Manufacturers have already briefly cooked or blanched the leaves to help wilt them down. That process keeps the leaves green and prolongs the freshness when frozen.

“As a parent, I am always looking for inventive ways to sneak more vegetables into my kiddos!” says Brittany Williams, author of ‘Instant Loss: Eat Real, Lose Weight" and founder of After adding spinach to a batch of gluten-free muffins, Williams told her kids these brilliant green beauties were Incredible Hulk Muffins and would make them as strong as the Hulk. They’ve been a family favorite ever since and one of the most popular recipes on Williams’ web site. You can’t taste the spinach, says Williams. “Not even a little bit!” But you still get all the benefits. Bake a double or triple batch and freeze for breakfasts and snacks — they defrost in about 15 minutes at room temperature or after a quick zap in the microwave.

Spinach can shrink, shrivel and turn bland when sautéed, warns Just a Taste blogger Kelly Senyei. “Sautéing it with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and scallions helps intensify the flavor” and adding shiitake mushrooms “gives this dish some bite.” Senyei’s sweet and garlicky sauce brings the two veggies together, while a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes lends a touch of heat. “The result is a simple side dish that pairs equally well with poultry, beef, pork and seafood,” notes Senyei. Alternatively, you can serve this sauté over rice for a meat-free main.