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Easy Sautéed Spinach

Easy Sautéed Spinach

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

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

Popeye was the best thing that ever hit the spinach industry. When I was a kid you couldn’t pay me to eat lima beans or peas, but spinach? I begged for it; we all did.

Especially if it came from a can.

We wanted to be cool like Popeye, who could knock Bluto to Kingdom Come just by downing a can of spinach, which always conveniently found its way to Popeye’s mouth when his situation was most dire.

Our parents worked hard to convince us that cooked fresh spinach was just as good, if not better than the canned stuff.

How To Cook Spinach

My father prepares spinach this way at least once or twice a week, usually made with fresh spinach from the farmer’s market. According to dad he overcooked it for years, until he learned that you shouldn’t cook spinach beyond the point that it just wilts.

Spinach releases a lot of water as it cooks, so my father’s trick is to drain and dry the spinach leaves as well as you can, using a salad spinner if need be, before cooking them.

Then sauté some garlic in olive oil in a large wide pan, and add the cleaned, drained, and dried spinach leaves to the pan. Pack the pan with spinach, cover and cook for only a minute or two tops.

More great spinach recipes

  • Spinach and Orzo Salad
  • Spinach with Sesame and Garlic
  • Creamed Spinach with Bacon
  • Spinach Frittata

From the recipe archive, first posted 2007.

Easy Sautéed Spinach Recipe


  • 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.

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.

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

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

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Easy Sautéed Spinach Recipe with Garlic and Lemon

This Easy Sautéed Spinach Recipe is just 67 calories and it is absolutely delicious!

You’ll love this vegan, gluten-free side dish! Below, we will show you how to cook spinach into a fantastic, flavorful, and healthy side dish that you’ll actually crave.

Easy spinach recipes like this one are packed full of nutrition. We cut out all the butter and added extra lemon to add flavor and drastically cut calories. Making this one of the healthiest sautéed spinach recipes you’ll find.

We will supply you with everything you need to make simple spinach recipes. From a shopping list, to a nutrition label and even a printable recipe card. You’ll find the best way to cook spinach in this article.

This Easy Sautéed Spinach Recipe is just 67 calories!

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 20 ounces fresh spinach, (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add spinach and toss to coat. Cover and cook until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Note: Baby spinach is immature or young spinach--it's harvested earlier than large-leaved mature spinach. We like the sturdy texture of mature spinach in cooked dishes and serve tender, mild-flavored baby spinach raw or lightly wilted. Baby and mature spinach can be used interchangeably in these recipes (yields may vary slightly) be sure to remove the tough stems from mature spinach before using.

Weights & Measures
10 ounces trimmed mature spinach=about 10 cups raw
10 ounces baby spinach=about 8 cups raw

Recipe Summary

  • 2 slices bacon (about 2 ounces total), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • 3 bunches flat-leaf spinach (about 2 pounds total), thick stems removed, well washed and dried
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, 5 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon, leaving fat in skillet drain on a paper towel. Set aside.

Increase heat to high fill skillet with as much spinach as will fit. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing spinach and adding more as it wilts (it may take up to 2 minutes to fit it all). Continue to cook until tender, 1 to 3 minutes.

Tilt skillet to drain water from spinach (using slotted spoon or a spatula to hold spinach back). Mix in vinegar season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with crispy bacon.

How much Cooked Spinach Does Raw Spinach Make?

The most important thing to know is that a voluminous amount of uncooked spinach results in a somewhat startling amount of sautéed or cooked spinach. All of this depends on whether you chop the spinach, and how finely or roughly, and how long you cook the spinach, but it’s general guide.

  • 5 ounces of raw spinach (the size of a typical container or “clamshell” of baby spinach) yields about 1/2 cup of cooked spinach.
  • 8 ounces (1/2 pound) equals about 2/3 cup.
  • 1 pound of uncooked spinach will get you about 1 1/3 cups cooked spinach.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped portabello mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or deep frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how soft you like it. Add mushrooms and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Add tomato and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove mixture to a dish and keep warm.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the same pan over medium-high heat. Add spinach, salt, and pepper. Cook, tossing continually, until spinach begins to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Continue to toss and stir until spinach is cooked to your desired doneness.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to serve.

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.

Add olive oil, garlic and the lemon zest to a wide skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the oil is bubbling around the garlic, about 30 seconds. Pile the spinach leaves into the pan and add a generous pinch of salt. Wait about 30 seconds or until the bottom layer of leaves have started to wilt, and then toss the leaves around the pan. As the spinach cooks, keep tossing so that all the leaves have a chance to hit the bottom of the skillet.

When the spinach looks bright green and is mostly wilted, remove the pan from the heat and serve with a pinch of extra salt on top. For a little heat, add a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional).

More Ingredients for Even More Flavor

The simplicity of this fresh spinach side dish can easily be enhanced with loads of other ingredients for a variety of tasty bites:

Sauté other diced vegetables before adding the spinach to the pan, like:

  • shallots
  • red onion
  • mushrooms
  • red bell pepper
  • water chestnuts
  • tomatoes
  • Add a few dollops of goat cheese, feta, or Parmesan
  • Cooked bacon bits or pancetta

  • Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
  • Oven Roasted Broccoli
  • Garlic Butter Sautéed Mushrooms
  • Best Mashed Potatoes

I really hope you enjoy this simple Garlic Sautéed Spinach! And if you do get a chance to make it, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/rating below. I always love hearing from you here! Also for lots more side dish recipes, head over to the recipe index.


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