There is no good reason why you shouldn’t be enjoying rich creamed spinach on a regular basis. While it may typically feel daunting to make it on the stove top, this recipe couldn’t be simpler. With just six ingredients and a microwave, you can have a hearty side dish ready in about 10 minutes.
The ingredient list is short and intentional, starting with sweet and tender baby spinach. Coconut cream (or heavy cream, if you prefer) provides a perfect consistency and richness, while freshly grated Parmesan cheese melts easily and adds saltiness. (We, as vegans, make it dairy-free by using vegan Parmesan cheese. It will be just as creamy and delicious—you can trust us on that.) Grated garlic and lemon juice add punchiness, while nutmeg’s warming notes balance out the chorus of rich, pungent, zesty, and earthy flavors. Wow, this simple creamed spinach really has it all!
Microwave garlicky creamed spinach is a wonderful addition to your weeknight dinner repertoire. It pairs wonderfully with steak (so we’re told!). If you’re vegan like us, serve it with blackened tofu and mashed potatoes. However you decide to pair it, be careful, because it just may steal the spotlight. You’ve been warned.
Why Use the Microwave to Make Creamed Spinach?
Fresh baby spinach steams quickly in the microwave and the rest of the ingredients just need a quick zap before melding together beautifully. Using your microwave makes this a one-bowl recipe, easy to prep and clean up. If you’re making a stove-top or oven dinner, having this quick microwave side dish will save you time and space in the kitchen too.
Note that different microwaves will have slightly varied cook times depending on the wattage. This recipe was developed using a 1100-watt microwave.
What’s the Best Spinach To Use?
For this recipe, we recommend using fresh baby spinach—we got ours from a pre-washed package. The leaves are smaller and more tender, steaming more quickly in the microwave. Baby spinach also has a sweeter flavor than mature spinach, which lends itself well to the creaminess of this classic side dish.
You can use bunched spinach; it just requires a bit more preparation. Here are some tips to make it work:
- Properly wash and de-stem the spinach.
- After the steaming step, taste the spinach to make sure it’s soft before proceeding with the recipe.
- If it needs more time to steam, microwave in 30-second intervals until the leaves are wilted and tender.
- Before serving, use kitchen scissors to chop the cooked spinach into smaller pieces.
You may also substitute with frozen spinach, although it won’t yield the best results. While it’s typically a time saver to use frozen spinach, in this case, it will take longer to microwave. If it’s all you have on hand, you can still make it work by following the microwave instructions on the package and fully draining it before adding the rest of the ingredients.
More Delicious Microwave Side Dishes
Microwave Garlicky Creamed Spinach
Don't shake your can of coconut cream. Canned coconut cream at room temperature has a solid top layer and liquid bottom. The thick top layer is what you should use in this recipe.
You can use heavy cream instead of coconut cream—the sauce will be thinner but still delicious.
If you don’t have freshly grated Parmesan cheese, you can use shredded mozzarella or provolone.
This recipe was developed using a 1100-watt microwave. You may need to adjust the cook time up or down depending on the power of your microwave in 1-minute intervals.
8 cups (10 ounces) pre-washed baby spinach
1/2 cup solid coconut cream from a 13.5-ounce can of coconut cream (See Recipe Note)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (see Recipe Note)
2 small cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Steam the spinach:
Add the baby spinach to a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cover tightly using a plate or plastic wrap with a few holes punched through (you can use a fork for this). Microwave covered for 2 minutes. Use a spoon to mix the spinach before covering again and microwaving for 1 minute or until the spinach releases some water and turns a deep green color.
Use the back of a spoon to gently press and hold back the spinach as you drain the excess water from the bowl into the sink.
Make the creamed spinach:
Add coconut cream solids, Parmesan cheese, garlic, nutmeg, black pepper, and salt to the spinach. Mix gently until everything is evenly distributed and the coconut cream begins to melt from the residual heat of the spinach.
Microwave and serve:
Cover the bowl again and microwave for 1 minute. Stir well. Microwave a final time, uncovered, for 1 minute and 30 seconds or until the spinach is soft, dark green, and the cream has thickened. Mix in the lemon juice and serve with extra Parmesan cheese on top.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Microwave to reheat, of course.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 8g||10%|
|Saturated Fat 7g||34%|
|Total Carbohydrate 24g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||6%|
|Total Sugars 19g|
|Vitamin C 21mg||104%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|