Easy Sautéed Spinach

Easy sautéed spinach! The best way to cook delicious fresh spinach, with olive oil and garlic.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 large bunches of spinach, about 1 pound
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Salt to taste


1 Clean and prep the spinach: Cut off the thick stems of the spinach and discard. Clean the spinach by filling up your sink with water and soaking the spinach to loosen any sand or dirt. Drain the spinach and then repeat soaking and draining. Put the spinach in a salad spinner to remove any excess moisture.

2 Sauté garlic: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until the garlic is just beginning to brown.

sauteed garlic spinach

3 Add spinach to pan: Add the spinach to the pan, packing it down a bit if you need to with your hand. Use a couple spatulas to lift the spinach and turn it over in the pan so that you coat more of it with the olive oil and garlic. Do this a couple of times. Cover the pan and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the spinach over again. Cover the pan and cook for an additional minute.

fresh spinach to saute pan fried spinach

4 Remove from pan and drain excess liquid: After 2 minutes of covered cooking the spinach should be completely wilted. Remove from heat.

how to cook spinach in pan

Drain any excess liquid from the pan. Add a little more olive oil, sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

best way to cook spinach is sauteed

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  • David D Rouch

    Thank, your recipe was perfect, exactly what I needed, You’re the best.


  • Theresa

    Tried this yesterday, my husband is not a huge fan of spinach, but we both loved it!


  • Melyndia

    I too have been making this for years. A family favorite!!! Delicious


  • Adrienne

    It is so good for breakfast on dry toast. But you might have garlic breath lol

  • Alexandrea Martinez

    Really easy to make and follow! Made for my vegan boyfriend and he loves the way it smells


  • Betty

    This was very good indeed. I made only one change, due to what I had on hand – instead of just spinach, I used a mix of spinach & arugula (with some trepidation). It turned out very well – we were only sorry that the greens weighed less than the recipe called for.


  • Chris

    i’ve been making spinach this way for years and love it for its simplicity. some other ingredients to try are: freshly grated parmesan when served, a few drops of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds (for a gomae-ish taste), shallots. this is my favorite way to eat spinach other than creamed steakhouse style.


  • Ramon de la Peña

    Start from bagged spinach to finish around ten minutes. I didn’t remove the leaf stems knowing they’d go limp and delicious. I drained but throw it away, believing they’d be very nutritious. Ate it with a strip of bacon and freshly chopped onions and tomatoes. SUPERB


  • Matty

    Spinach is always touted as being really rich in iron. The trouble is, that most of that iron cannot be absorbed. It needs to have a source of Vit. C along with it. That is why many recipes you see will have a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. Not only does it taste good, but it is better for you! Balsamic vinegar – yum! (Just don’t overdo it!)

  • [email protected]

    It was lovely


  • Dave Anderson

    I learned of this recipe 30+ years ago watching (on tv with rabbit ears, no cable) The Urban Peasant cooking show starring James Barber that aired at noon on CBC tv in British Columbia Canada. Only difference (and a must for this recipe) is a very small dash/hint of nutmeg lightly spread on the top spinach before turning over. also as a person added above I too like a sprinkle of cider vinegar at end.

  • Frances

    Great recipe! I want to make this for my dinner party but will have to make it in advance (ie an hour or so) is it possible to make to do, or will it be too wilted by the time I serve it? Any suggestion…

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Frances, I would just reheat it in a microwave or on the stovetop right before serving. This spinach is supposed to be quite wilted.

  • Chris

    I always throw in some white vinegar when cleaning my spinach, to avoid e-coli. Great tips on cooking it!

  • Lois Acheson

    Don’t forget if you are not going to use your spinach right away, par boil it & then you can freeze it. When you’re doing that, always remember to add salt.

  • Tina

    OH how I LOVE spinach! I made this tonight, and it was great! Just my husband and me, so cut the recipe in half, and it was perfect. This may be our new favorite vegetable side dish recipe.


  • Aisyah

    This is exactly how Malay people cook at home! Tasty, and the spinach taste really jumps out. Sometimes we make it a bit liquidify, by cooking it with a little soup, because we eat it with white rice. And a kick of spiciness with chillies!

  • Matt

    Thank you again for another easy, tasty recipe. I had some spinach that was going past its prime and I remembered my second favorite omelet is spinach & feta and I needed a refresher on how to cook it. I couldn’t remember if I had to add a little chicken stock or not….

  • Michelle

    This is how exactly Asian way of cooking spinach! love it, but any other way to have spinach ? thanks.

  • Josway

    Can I use coconut oil instead of olive oil

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Josway, I haven’t tried making it with coconut oil, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  • E

    Add a good squeeze of lemon and dill – Greek-style – delicious

  • A Knesal

    I cook Spinach with a little Balsamic vinegar and thin Asparagus when available. I saute the garlic, add the Asparagus, then the spinach. I season with salt free seasoning, and with the Balsalmic vinegar it has very flavorful taste

    For breakfast, I add seasoned egg mix to the fry pan of cooked/wilted Spinach mix and shake a little Parmesan or Romano cheese on it when the egg sets. Adding a prepared spaghetti sauce then the eggs, makes for for my ‘Italian Eggs Magnifico’, a hit with any crowd, especially with pan fried Garlic toast. Other adds are, Red Pepper flakes and crumbled chicken or Turkey breakfast sausage, toppings of garden fresh Holy Basil.

    A side of cubed Potatoes coated with seasoned Olive oil and quick baked, makes for quick breakfast for two or a crowd.

  • Sandra Cronin

    Spinach is one of my favorite things to eat! I love when it is cooked just right, this recipe is so simple and quick! I think I would add a little lemon to top it all off.


    Easy and delicious, this is the way my mum has always cooked the spinach. Love it!

  • Susan

    I’ve learned that all you need to do when a soup recipe calls for spinach is to put the raw spinach in the individual bowls and ladle the soup over it. That way, everyone can control the amount of spinach they like and it keeps spinach from turning black and sometimes tough in the soup pot. I do this with pasta, too.

  • donutty

    We love spinach in our family too. I usually finish it with a little splash of sesame oil and some thinly sliced green onion in addition to the garlic with which it’s already been cooked. It’s a great side dish for rice or a great addition to bibimbap!

  • Dawn

    If you want to make this into a superfast, healthy meal, consider serving it with pasta. I usually start to cook a little short cut pasta, like penne, fusilli or rigatoni before I start the spinach. Then I add a handful of pine nuts to the garlic while softening it. When the spinach is almost done, I add the drained pasta with the juice of half a lemon. Sprinkle a little grated parmesan on top, if you like. To boost the protein, a fried or poached egg on top is just perfect.

    Lovely recipe, thanks Elise!

  • meke

    I love spinach very much I cook it together with lamb meat first I cook the meat and then I add the spinach at the end of the cooking just 15min

  • Pat

    Leftover sauteed mushrooms, or freshly done, with fresh garlic infused EVOO, a dash of Madeira, tossed with sauteed spinach, exactly this way – and then finished with a little sour cream and seasoned with freshly ground pepper and a dash of nutmeg.


  • Echo

    Thannnnk you!! I just tried it like this and it is the best spinach I ever had in my life.


  • Elizabeth

    Loved this recipe! So did my 4 year old son who said (before trying a taste), “I don’t like spinach.” He ended up getting a second helping.


  • Susan Raynor

    I am a spinach lover- fresh or frozen; however, this recipe made the best spinach I have ever tasted. My main dish was a baked cod with lemon and garlic, so this dish was the perfect compliment


  • Jamie

    Wow, this recipe is fantastic! So incredibly simple, and so delicious. I thought I didn’t even like spinach, but when there was some leftover in the house, I searched for a way to prepare it for my boyfriend. What I didn’t expect was that I was going to love it as much as I did. Thanks!


  • Manda

    I typically don’t like cooked spinach, but I had some that needed to be used soon. I added onion and bacon to this recipe and it was delicious! Thank you for posting such wonderful recipes.


  • Carrie

    Absolutely wonderful….thank you for sharing a great recipe.


  • Toni

    This was really delish!!! The best thing is it takes 2-4 MINUTES!! Thank you!!


  • CJ

    I made this recipe this evening, and I must say it was very very delicious. My 10 and 6 year old even ate it! I never knew how simple it was to prepare cooked spinach (this was my 1st time cooking it asides from out of the can). We usually have raw spinach with salad, and of course the famous spinach dip served at restaurants. This is definitely a keeper. Thank you for an awesome, simple recipe.


  • Jeff

    This is a terrific recipe. I like to modify it a bit by mixing the garlic, some dried thyme and a small amount of sea salt and grinding them with a mortar and pestle before putting them in the olive oil. I cook the spinach the same way as suggested in the recipe. After transferring the cooked spinach to a plate I carefully add sardines to the olive oil and heat them, taking care not to break the sardines. Afterwards the sardines are placed on the bed of spinach and a small amount of Grey Poupon mustard tops the sardines, as much for color as for the added flavor. This makes a wonderful lunch with the added benefit of some omega-3 from the sardines.

  • Jeanine

    I made this tonight–it came out great! Much easier than trying to scrape overcooked leaves out of a steamer, or straining out huge pots of boiling water.


  • jonathan

    Simple…delicious. Flavoring the oil with a pinch of crushed red pepper along with the garlic is also nice. Maybe a squeeze of lemon to finish, and…voila.


  • lydia

    This is exactly the way I cook spinach, too — my husband loves the interplay of coarse salt and garlic, and no matter how much I make, he always asks for more.


  • Jessica

    I tried this recipe tonight at home,and used way too much garlic and then ended up overcooking it a bit but I’m looking forward to trying this again and also other variations that have been recommended here.

  • Dale C.

    I was raised on frozen spinach cooked in a little salted water, and served with a pad of butter and a dribbling of cider vinegar. We had a small, cut glass (with glass stopper) pitcher which had no other purpose than as a vessel for the vinegar.

    The canned stuff? Never liked brown, tasteless spinach!

  • Jeanna B

    Hands down best spinach I’ve ever had.

  • limlam

    I loved this recipe! I served it with pork chops and roast potatoes. Crumbled some feta into it before immediately serving. perfect.

  • pearl

    i hated spinach before i tried eating it with shrimp. it was cooked the same way with a little twist. You add crushed garlic and ginger to a very hot pan with olive oil. Then add some fresh shrimp, cook until done. Finally add 1 or 2 bundle of fresh spinach, keep stirring the spinach and shrimp together until the spinach wilted. You could add crushed pepper if you like to the garlic and ginger. It taste great over rice or with roti bread.

  • Melissa

    I pretty much do the same thing with spinach except I use a little duck fat instead of oil and add a light grating of nutmeg and parmesan at the end. Delicious!

  • JJ

    I love spinach cook this way although I discovered that when you cook garlic you kill it’s cancer killing abilitiy. So what I do is crush about half a blub of garlic, then chop very small. Set half of that aside the other half put it in the pan to season the whole pan with garlic taste. When place into the serving bowl I sprinkle the remaining raw chopped garlic over the dish to get the benefit of the raw garlic. It is recomended to eat about 3 to 4 raw garlic cloves a day, on a web site I look at.

  • Wendy

    Sprinkle with a little grated Parmesan cheese before serving- delicious!

  • Menethe

    I cooked the spinach with mince meat and my son who doesn’t really like veggies, said it was delicious.

  • GTM

    This recipe has made my grad life easier. Cheers!

  • Summer

    oooh I LOVED this recipe! I have heard it before but just never tried it because I used my fresh spinach for salad!
    I added red and orange bell pepper to mine and it was delish!!! I will definitely be making this weekly to compliment my meals!
    Thank you!

  • frank hubler

    when i was a kid my mom used to make spinach with vinegar and hard boiled eggs…any one have the receipe for this??????would truly appreciate it.

  • Rose

    Elise, I have enjoyed cooking all of my adult life and I’m always interested in learning something new. Our middle child has influenced us to participate in CSA and be more aware of where our food is coming from. We’re participating in a winter CSA for the first time and got two large bunches of spinach. I decided to make spinach and cheese stuffed shells. I’ve never cooked spinach before and used this recipe to prepare my spinach. It turned out wonderfully. Thanks.

  • Donald

    Hi, I never really cooked spinach before today, I used this method but added some pepper and garlic powder and it tasted amazing. I know you might be thinking there was too much garlic but it actually made it all taste amazing. I guess I’ll be cooking spinach every week now. I ate it with some baked lemon white fish. Amazing taste

  • Sari

    A Spanish friend I made years ago prep’d this for me years ago. My most romantic dinner yet. It was just delish!! Spinach is not native for me but when I saw a bag at the supermarket in Ghana, this recipe was the first thing on my mind. Brought back some ‘wonderful’ memories.

  • Arlene

    This recipe is just great! Simple, easy and delicious! A perfect side dish for every meal. Thanks a lot for sharing :)

  • Robert Bravo

    I had been juicing spinach and still do but I feel that too much of the spinach is wasted. My favorite smoothie is:

    2-3 cups of blueberries organic
    1 banana (the closer to “overripe” the better)
    1 scoop of protein (Whey)
    1 scoop of flax seed organic
    1.5 cups of keifer
    2 cups of triple washed organic spinach or baby spinach
    3-4 table spoons of organic apple cider vinager (Braggs)
    3 tablespoons of organic (from Spain) Olive Oil (cold press)

    Blend all my regular vitamins into this because I think they may be absorbed in my body better (I am not a scientist or doctor).

    Sometimes I put a tablespoon of cocoa powder (pure)- very good for you and the items above act as the sweetner.

    You can also add a mango, apple or strawberries

  • Leslie

    Perfect way to make spinach. I will saute some yams beforehand in my version until they are slightly crispy on the outside, then I turn off the heat, stir in some spinach and put a lid on it. Let the heat from the pan wilt the spinach for about 10 minutes. No nutrients lost and the interplay between the sweet and slightly starchy yams plus the green spinach is delicious!!

  • steven

    I basically only had a bag of spinach in my refrigerator and a container of vegetable broth in my cupboard. Knowing that broth usually has some sort of cooking oil in it, I decided to use that instead of the olive oil. It turned out very, VERY tasty. I didn’t even need to use salt. However, I did use a little crushed black pepper as it was cooking.

  • Anna

    Mine is very similar. I sautee green onions and shallots in salted butter, add the spinach and freshly ground black pepper. When it starts to wilt I mix a handful of fresh mozzeralla and a touch of italian bread crumbs (to soak up the juice.) Mmmmmm.

  • Julie

    Thank you for sharing this simple delicious recipe! From another spinach lover….

  • Stephanie

    There isn’t a better way to prepare fresh spinach! My children – 5 & 7 – LOVE it when Mom makes ‘that yummy green stuff’! I also like to add a splash of white balsamic vinegar – it just brightens the flavors! Mmmm – I have to head to the farmer’s market tomorrow!

  • kathy

    This is probably my daughter’s favorite veggie (she is 4). We usually have this once a week, often with scrambled eggs on the side (the spinach is the most important part), with smoked gouda cheese grated over it all. She also likes it on her pizza, spinach & pepperoni, although it is hard to find a pizza place that uses fresh spinach. Oh yes, this is the way we cook it also – little garlic, little salt, little olive oil, presto! good stuff!

  • Steven

    This recipe is great. Like the rest of the crowd here, I love spinach, especially since its been growing in my little raised bed all winter. But I’d never have dreamed of this utterly simple recipe that makes its flavor and texture completely new. And it gives yet another new life to garlic. Thanks!

    p.s. I also appreciate the advice about washing the leaves. Very efficient in getting rid of all those black aphids.

  • Praniw

    I put a big roasting pan on my stove over two (gas) burners. I fill it to the top with fresh washed spinach. Baby spinach tastes different than full-grown, but both are wonderful. I use olive oil, just a bit, and then midway through cooking I add about 1 1/2 teasp. of original Mrs. Dash. (or the organic costco no salt seasoning equivalent). I remove the spinach and cook fish in the same roasting pan–often talapia or salmon fillets. Wonderful low cal meal!

  • Jessica

    I find that the problem with spinach is that’s so bulky before cooking (thus the squishing it into the pan) and when cooked ends up being so little…

    Yes, this is the challenge with spinach, but the results are so worth it. ~Elise

  • kriemer

    Delicious! Thanks for always inspiring with great recipes!

  • Karie Sutter

    Excellent! The only thing I did differently was add freshly ground white pepper.

  • watson

    Thank you for this recipe! A friend gave some spinach from his garden and it’s something that I really haven’t tried before. I Googled for the simplest way to cook this and got to your site. I tried it and put it up in my blog. Thanks again!

  • Lady Amalthea

    Delicious! I made this tonight with Chinese Spinach and added 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar at the very end and it was wonderful. I too am a huge spinach lover and always saute it with garlic and oil or steam it–either way just until wilted. Yum!

  • dwilmsen

    This is the way I eat spinach most often. My mother used to cook it this way, and she said it is called “spinach Mother-of-Christ” because the legend was that that is the way Mary cooked it too.

  • Mira

    Looooove Spinach! Great properties for my DH who is an avid bike racer as well.

    I love them from Salad to Side Dish (Hot Garlic & Olive Oil tossed / even Southern Flair with Bacon), Added into Pasta (Hot {Red sauce, White sauce, plain olive-oil tossed} / Cold {Pasta-Salad}) Dishes, Stir-Fried (Italian/Asian flair), in Soups (Italian Wedding Soup to Asian Egg-Drop / My Chicken Porridge with Spinach Greens) to an added garnishment to my beloved Ramen (Soup or Dry tossed in Black Bean Sauce & Ground Meat). Easy to prepare, easy to cook (saves time). :))

    Like Popeye… there is a reason why he loved Spinach so.

  • Marilyn

    I love Creamed Spinach, here’s my recipe:

    2 bags of Fresh Spinach
    1/4 cup of cream, half and half, or milk.
    1/4 stick of butter
    2 teaspoons of nutmeg
    2 tablespoons of corn-starch
    3 slices of onion
    2 or 3 cloves of peeled garlic
    1/2 teaspoon of salt

    In a blender..whip the milk, cornstarch, onion,
    nutmeg, garlic and salt, for about 15 seconds. Pour into a pot that is big enough to hold all the spinach. On low heat, stirring until the mixture becomes creamy and thickens, add the butter and spinach, cook until the spinach is wilted. Serve ASAP, nothing is worse than cold, cooked spinach or cornstarch mixture.

  • Timi

    The best way I cook it is to rinse the spinach first (If you rinse after chopping it’s soggy). I chop up th rinsed spinach and put it to the side. Then I rinse and cut different types of colorful vegetables. Usually,I use red and green bell peppers, onions,and tomatoes. I add just about 2 table spoons(more or less) of vegetable oil in a saucepan and heat. When heated I throw in the chopped vegetables and season with salt, chicken seasoning, black pepper or whatever seasoning available to taste. You could even use chicken bouillon. Heat and stair occasionally for about 5 minutes and add spinach last. Stir on fire for about 2 minutes. It’s really fast, healthy and tastes great. When ready, all the vegetables taste crunchy.

  • Steph

    This is my favorite way, too, only I have to have lemon juice as well! Tonight, in the absence of lemons, I used the juice of 1/2 a tart tangerine and some feta! Delicious, but no substitute for the original.

  • celeste trigg

    There is no way that I could do with out having spinach. My body actually craves it. As a child my grandmother would keep cans of spinach on hand so that I could come in from playing open a can and eat it. I would eat it as is right out of the can. I now prefer fresh spinach. I eat a lot of spinach salads. I prefer it with grilled steak and if I don’t have steak I cook a hamburger patty and chop it up on top. It may not sound good but its great especially with blue cheese crumbs and oil and vinegar to boot.

  • Penelope

    Mmmmm… de-lish! Try sprinkling some feta cheese on top..makes if even tastier! But you need the right type of feta cheese… the type that’s stored in a barrel. Usually if you go to a Greek food store you’re bound to find the right stuff!!

  • Kelly Sneddon

    Thank you for making it to the point and simple! Just wanted to know how to cook spinach and all that I could find was entire spinach meals salads and quiche! This is perfect!

    Thank you again!

  • Carren Thuku

    I do the same for spinach and kale too; I love it. Thank you for these recipes.

  • Audrey

    We have mainly swiss chard here in South Africa and I find that the best way to wash it is to use hot water. It really gets all the grit out.

  • Ted

    I really love using and sharing your recipes. I make my spinach the same way except I add more sliced garlic and roasted peppers. Occasionally I will stir in a cup of sour cream after the spinach has wilted for a creamed type spinach. I also add spinach to most of the vegetable soups I enjoy making.
    Thanks for all these wonderful recipes!

  • Bee

    I too love spinach. And 99% of the time, I eat it as described – with a little garlic and olive oil. However, today I did try my hand at Lamb Saag (Indian Spinach Curry with Lamb) and for the many other spinach fans out there – it is highly (!) recommended (and much easier than I would have thought (previously was only a restaurant treat)).

  • Burk

    We throw a couple of fennel seeds in with the garlic, then finish with a squeeze of lemon, for a Tuscan-y flair. Great with grilled pork tenderloin!

  • Deborah

    I’m proud to say I’m Sicilian and your recipe is one that I grew up on. I still make it for my family today. Simply put – this is the best way to prepare spinach in my opinion. Growing up in my parent’s Italian household, a lot of fresh vegetables were prepared this way. Try it with blanched broccoli sometime – it’s truly to die for, especially if the broccoli becomes a bit browned! Kudos to all of you for Simply Recipes!

  • michael

    I always have spinach in soup, and it turns out superb. Throw in a bunch or 2 of spinach into soup with chicken stock.

  • incrediblemsv

    I grew up with canned spinach and plain white vinegar. I think I was the only kid who admitted to liking spinach while in grade school. Now I grow my own spinach in the garden and wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks for the great ideas on how to use it.

  • mac

    This recipe is such a good simple way to get your greens. Lately we have been doing the same preparation with swiss chard. Also if you have a little patch of dirt, spinach is a pretty easy crop to grow.


  • Brendan

    A nice (Asian-style) variation is to use an oil like peanut (just a little), then finish with a splash of tamari soy sauce and a sprinkle of seseme seeds. The rich, iron-y taste of the spinach goes very nicely with the brewed flavor of tamari and that little crunch from the seeds.

    We serve this all of the time with salmon, chicken, you name it.

  • Vicki

    For a nice variation try a few drops of soy sauce rather than lemon juice after the spinach is cooked.

  • Andrea

    I love it when you profile a classic like this, and it is fun to read the comments and get some garnish ideas. I love spinach. Thanks Elise.

  • Jon Dolenar

    This is a great way to eat spinach! Just remember to start with a lot of spinach since it cooks down soooo much. Also, whatever you do…do not burn the garlic.
    This is a great way to eat kale as well.

  • KiKi

    Thanks for reminding me that I haven’t made spinach in awhile. I just love it. Cooked or Raw. On Easter I will lay out fresh spinach on a very large serving plate, top with fresh strawberries and drizzle with poppy seed dressing. It looks beautiful and taste great. Even the kids with love this one.

  • A. G.

    I made this and it was really good. I don’t usually like spinach by itself because it is just too mushy, but this recipe was great, not too raw and not too wilted. I add carmelized onions to all sauteed greens instead of garlic, it gives it a really nice, sweet flavor that contrasts with the bitterness of the greens.

  • Louis Palmissero

    I never knew canned spinach existed until I lived in Calif in the 70’s. But yuck! Fresh is the only real spinach, and it is always available everywhere, even here in the snowy midwest wher eI now live.

    Quick saute with garlic, coarse ground pepper, seasalt, and possibly a jalapeno or cayenne pepper is just a whole different food than anything I’ve had from a can. Add lemon zest at end. Eat spinach like most of the world eats it and your kids will never complain.

    Here in Midwest we have an ad from a store (Meijers) about how their spinach is just like name brands, showing a kid hating both indiscriminately. That is about right for canned.

    Even bagged spinach tends to be fine. Also, we regularly use spinach from the local Chinese store because of price. Fresh garlic, and sometimes instead of olive oil we use sesame oil or chile infused sesame oil. Just a nice change of flavor; in this case we tend to serve with white or brown rice.

  • Pam

    I have a different take on this recipe, which I have made for several years. I sauté several cloves of sliced garlic until light gold. I then add 1 or 2 bags of clean, drained spinach to the pan. I do not get rid of the water clinging to the leaves. I cover the pan and steam the spinach until it starts to pack down. I then remove the lid and let any moisture cook out, which takes only a few seconds. At that point I add 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and I salt and pepper to taste. This is my take of a dish that Macaroni Grill restaurant used to make which they called spinach salad. Now, unless their menu has changed, they make spinach without lemon juice. I’m sure this was done as a cost-cutting measure. The lemon juice adds great flavor to the spinach.

  • Elise Bauer

    Wow. I had no idea we had so many fellow spinach lovers out there! Thank you for your comments. My father is especially pleased to know that his simple spinach has inspired so many responses.

  • Chris

    I love, love, love spinach. It compliments so many meals! I like to saute it with raisins/cranberries and pine nuts…sweet and savory. Yum!

  • merd

    I agree with Mar. Love this recipe. Can’t go wrong with the simplicity of this composition :) Wilting it like this retains a lot of the vitamins I hear are lost when boiling to canned consistency. A good finisher is a squeeze of sliced lemon + a fine grind of pepper. The crumbled bacon is something my mom would add for sure.

  • Linda

    I make spinach a lot in the summer with fresh spinach and other times use frozen!! hate canned!!! but instead of oil I use a bit of bacon(2-3 slices) and saute that with some onions and then add the spinach!! I rinse well but don’t sin all the water off the little bit of water helps it wilt and then done easy and love it!!! Hugs Linda

  • Trig

    My dad used to eat frozen supermarket spinach until I showed him how to wilt fresh leaves. Now there’s always spinach in the house. But nutmeg and a pinch of brown sugar are the favoured ingredients. You’re right about drying the leaves of course. If they are still wet you end up stewing the leaves and the result is very unpleasant.

  • Annie

    Ahhh…spinach. I could live on it. My mom was a canned-veggie woman and I grew up thinking I hated all vegetables except carrots and corn. Imagine my surprise when I first had fresh asparagus and loved it. Your dad’s is my all-time favorite preparation for spinach. I often use frozen, as well, but I just barely defrost it and then add it to my nearly-ready meal just to heat it through. The other day I made a base of olive oil and anchovies until the anchovies disintegrated (I can’t remember the proper name of the dish and I normally hate anchovies, but not cooked this way), added garlic and hot pepper, then the defrosted spinach and finally some cooked penne. I had to leave the room just so I wouldn’t eat the whole thing!

  • Kim

    I love to cook spinach similar to your dad’s way. I add a few crushed red pepper sprinkles to the oil in the pan, and I add some fresh lemon juice at the end. My method is from Cook’s Illustrated.

  • Madam Chow

    I cook broccoli rabe this way, too. I add a bit of parmesan cheese at the end. Simple and delicious.

  • mj

    Love spinach. We have made spinach, broc. rabe, swiss chard, etc., like this forever. Same premise……. sometimes, for a change, we add hot chili flakes as the garlic cooks in the oil. Yummy. We also put the veggies cooked this way over pasta and use a bit of pasta water for the right consistency…….. then grate cheese over and plenty of black pepper too. Another yum. If there is any italian sausage leftover, we cut bite-size pieces and place on top of the pasta dish too. It depends on what our menus is that night. Thanks, Elise.

  • Mar

    This is the best way to prepare spinach. I always at a squirt of lemon juice though, and sometimes I like to cook it in the bacon grease if it’s available

  • Sassy J

    I love spinach like this–and it works for broccoli rabe as well–I usually chop and throw the stems in first, then add the greens after a few minutes. One variation–cook spinach in a hot skillet–remove when wilted and pour over it: a few cloves of garlic mashed with a mortar and pestle with 1 tsp kosher salt, when a paste-like consistency add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoons of red-wine or balsamic vinegar. In this version the garlic is not cooked, but mashed. Yum!

  • Lisa

    Spinach lovers unite! I thought I was the only one that lived off the stuff. Mom had to buy the generic canned stuff to keep up with me while I was growing up. I love cooked spinach with garlic. You should also try the spinach salad dressing with red wine, sour cream, and bacon crumbles and add chopped hard boiled eggs to the salad. Yum! I can eat a whole bag of baby spinach leaves in about 4 days with that dressing. Makes a great grab-and-go lunch.

  • Nic

    I LOVE spinach. I recently tried a very similar recipe, but the difference was cooking it in bacon grease. Yeah. I know. I don’t even like bacon, but combined with spinach? It was divine. Definitely not a dish for everyday, though!

  • JustKeepChopping

    My college roommate graduated with the highest GPA in the history of one of the world’s top culinary institutes. He dried lettuce and spinach by washing it, scooping it into a pillowcase, and spinning the pillowcase around (in the shower or outside). May the centrifugal force be with you.

  • charles

    This looks like a terrific way to prepare spinach. And much healthier than boiling it all day with a ham hock. For the record, I used to be a huge fan of the canned spinach too. What can I say, I yam what I yam. ;)

  • Renee

    My husband and son both love spinach too. The other night, I cooked it in the same pan that I had cooked chicken with thyme and black pepper. After removing the chicken, I just added spinach and a little bit of water. It came out tasting so good! It didn’t even need any salt!

  • Elena

    Hehe the staple dish of every Chinese restaurant back home in Malaysia…parents feed that to kids because it’s the most kid-friendly tasting veg on the menu (and also because it’s good for you)!

  • Aukjan

    This is possibly the best way to eat spinach! It just locks in the flavors and color. Normally I just grate a little nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper. I have never tried garlic, but I can’t wait to try it!

    Thanks for the idea!

    • Seconda Donna

      Thank you for this idea, I’ll try with nutmeg and ground black pepper next time!