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Not Your Mama’s Creamed Spinach

I could never figure out why spinach gets a bum deal. People cook the shit out of it, and then they wonder why it just doesn’t look appealing. It’s too bad, because done correctly, people will rave over it. Today I am going to show you how easy it can be.

The only rule to remember about cooking spinach –

  1. Don’t cook the shit out of it.

Here’s why:

Spinach is a delicate leaf, quick to overcook. It’s packed with a suitcase of vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants that disappear when you over cook the spinach.

Not Your Mama’s Creamed Spinach

Servings: 2
Data courtesy of Livestrong (find the recipe here)
Calories: 550 per serving
Carbohydrates: 12.72 g per serving


  • 1 large bag (1 lb) baby organic spinach (You can use “adult” spinach; see below how things change.)
  • ½ green pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • To taste freshly grated nutmeg
  • To taste salt
  • To taste freshly ground pepper


Sweat diced peppers and chopped shallots with butter.

sweating butter, shallots and green pepper

Start off by sweating your shallots and spinach

Stir the mixture and cook it down until it has softened a bit.

Stir until it is soft like that

When the peppers are getting soft, this is about it...

Make sure that this mixture is seasoned properly. It sucks when your vegetables aren’t properly seasoned.

Pour in some heavy cream. It will cover the bottom of the pan.

Add cream to the spinach

Add your cream and cook it down

You are going to cook that down until it is slightly thickens. It shouldn’t take too long, about a minute or so.

reduce until you get to this point

Your cream will look this thick, then move on to the next step

Here’s the secret that separates our side dish here from the overcooked slop that some mothers like to pass off. Can you guess what that ingredient is?

guess what this is

Can you guess what this ingredient is?

That’s right, Nutmeg! It’s one of my favorites! Please don’t bother buying this pre-ground.

Let me get off track here for a second – Have you ever peeked in your Mother’s (or Mother-in-law’s) cupboard? Chances are you will find a mean row of neatly organized jars with the spices lined up. The problem is that they probably bought them back in the ’80s! I mean, why not just throw sawdust into your dish? I have a rule – if it smells like dust, I refuse to use it. I mean – it just isn’t good anymore! Jeez! Throw it out – fuck!

Okay, I’m back – but I’m adamant about this – trust me, this dish is better with freshly grated nutmeg.

grinding nutmug

hard to take a 1 handed picture - maybe a tripod would help?

See this spinach? Here is another part that a lot of people don’t get right – they don’t bother taking off the tough stems. I’m not a rabbit folks, so save it for Fluffy or something, but don’t put it on my plate, mmm-k?

What you want to do is rip those tough stems off. Some people like to get the veins out as well. You could if you like, but seeing as it is baby organic spinach, they won’t be tough and stringy. They will give you some fiber as well!

take off stems

Remove the tough stems from the stems

Here is what it looks like with all those stems off. Trust me; your family/guests’s teeth will thank you!

chop the spinach

Chop up the spinach

Roughly chop everything…

here is what it looks like roughly chopped

No need to get fancy, just roughly chop it... here is what it will look like!

And toss it into your cream mixture.

Some people say that you should blanch the spinach first. Why the hell would you want to do that? If you do that, you take away all the vitamins, nutrients, flavor, and every other reason that you want to eat spinach anyway. Also, you run the risk of overcooking it and serving up a steaming plate of crap to your family.

Just don’t do it folks!

no need to blanch

Just toss the spinach in

Instead, stir the spinach until it wilts. It will color the cream, and that’s fabulous. You want that. (Otherwise, why put the spinach in there?)

Once the spinach is done, all that is left is to serve it; you can either drop it into a family sized bowl, or pair it with another dish. (Like say, Filet Mignon.) Before you do that, you must do the most essential thing I will ever tell you to do in the kitchen:

taste! Taste! Taste!

You gotta taste your food!

If you are plating the spinach individually, put a bit of the creamed spinach in the center of the plate. You want the “sauce” to go around the plate, that’s normal.

plated creamed spinach

Plate it up like so, don't worry about the sauce "running" around the plate, you want that!

There you have it. One simple rule, an awesome dish full of lush, velvety green, vitality, and best of all – flavor! Your spinach dish, not your Mama’s!

This dish can also be translated to other spinach like greens. For instance, while I am finishing this post, I am using the same technique to make creamed leeks and Swiss chard.

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Jan January 4, 2011, 10:57 am

    Creamed leeks and Swiss chard?? I just went all weak in the knees…

  • Jason Sandeman January 4, 2011, 11:22 am

    @Jan – I wish there was a picture to take of them… there is nothing left. LOL. Well, maybe the crusty remains that my son refused to eat. Funny thing though, he actually participated in making the dish, because he was the one who spun the salad spinner. (For hours and hours!)

  • Renata January 4, 2011, 6:06 pm

    My kids LOVE creamed spinach (of course at home I bought it pre-made, frozen SORRY!!) Anyhow, since being in New Zeland I can’t find the frozen stuff and they have been on me to make some. I think I will surprize them this week. Awesome!!

  • Jason Sandeman January 4, 2011, 6:48 pm

    @Renata – I am not against using the frozen stuff, especially if it is out of season. Sometimes the quality is even better than the stuff you buy “fresh,” as they freeze the spinach at its peak, opposed to the trucking of the spinach long distances… Either way, it will be a good surprise for your kids for sure!

  • John K. January 4, 2011, 7:36 pm

    Looks great Jason! I love creamed spinach, but have never tried to make it. You sure break it down and make it look simple. I’ll give it a shot. Say, how do you like your new Canon? I’m a Canon owner too….still trying to learn how to use it. Great cameras!

    Keep up the good work!

  • Jason Sandeman January 4, 2011, 7:42 pm

    @John – Creamed spinach is the best! If my wife and kid will eat it, it must be okay!
    I love my new Canon. There is a bit of a learning curve, but that never stopped me!

  • Sarah January 5, 2011, 12:00 am

    YUM! I get spinach in my CSA box a lot lately, now I know what I’ll be trying next! Thank you!

  • Jason Sandeman January 5, 2011, 12:16 am

    @Sarah – CSA? I am not sure where you are living, but I am already jealous. As I said in the post as well, it translates well to chard as well. My family gobbled up the rainbow/leek Swiss chard I did up with this method.

  • Michele February 4, 2011, 9:13 am

    Popped over from Jan’s place.

    I love creamed spinach and can’t stand cooking the shit out of any vegetable. That is a total abomination! Now then, my family is not that big on cooked spinach. I say tough shit you are eating it anyway. So this is dinner tonight. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Jason Sandeman February 5, 2011, 8:45 am

    @Michele – You sound like my mother used to when I was little. LOL. Well, prepare it like the WDC way, and it should go over well. If not, well -

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