Day 185: Healthy Creamed Spinach ♥

Creamed Spinach
Creamed spinach is such a favorite vegetable side dish! But my recipe for creamed spinach is not the "heart attack on a plate" that you find at steak house. In fact, let's just go ahead and be honest, mine is a recipe for healthy creamed spinach, heavy on the spinach, low in fat and absolutely delicious.

~recipe & photo updated 2008 & 2010~

2005: This is a such long-time favorite recipe, one served all seasons, on weeknights and weekends, for kids and grown-ups, for just-family and company alike. Creamed spinach is a favorite because:
It's remarkably healthful and reliably delicious.
It makes up without fuss and uses inexpensive ingredients that are often on hand.
It works with lots of meats but especially steak, pork, chicken and lamb.
Most of all, however, I like how it can be made a half hour or an hour ahead of time and it'll hold -- including the bright green color -- while the rest of dinner gets finished. This makes it ever-so-versatile when timing is a question.

2008: This recipe was first published in 2005 and was republished online in 2008, after making it four times in two weeks, twice with frozen spinach and twice with fresh spinach. (Fresh is definitely recommended!) It's more 'spinachy' than 'creamy' so to my taste, perfectly balanced.

2010: I experimented with a mix of fresh spinach and fresh broccoli raab (also called broccoli rabe or rapini). This was extra good, for broccoli raab has just a hint of bitterness that adds a welcome note to the creaminess of the sauce. Very good -- gosh I love this recipe!

Besides, how healthy is my Healthy Creamed Spinach versus a popular recipe from another food blogger? Just check the nutrition comparisons, below.

TESTIMONIALS
"I made it last night and it was awesome." ~ TaraTot


CREAMED SPINACH

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 4 or 8

1 - 2 pounds frozen spinach OR 1 - 2 pound fresh spinach, preferably not baby spinach which is too tender, washed well and stems removed

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped (2008: shallot was lovely)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup skim milk, warmed in the microwave
2 tablespoons (about 1/2 ounce) grated Parmesan or smalls chunk of feta cheese
Additional salt and pepper to taste

If using frozen spinach, defrost in the microwave. If it's really watery, press through a colander to remove the excess liquid.

If using fresh spinach, chop roughly, then lightly steam.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, melt the butter over MEDIUM HIGH. Add the onion and sauté until soft and fully cooked. (Be sure to cook the onion all the way through.) Stir in the flour, salt and nutmeg until smooth. Reduce the heat to MEDIUM. Add a tablespoon of the warm milk and stir until the milk is smoothly incorporated into the flour. Repeat until all the milk is used. (You're making what's called a white sauce. If you add all the milk, or too much of the milk at one time, the sauce will contain unsavory lumps of flour.) Let cook, stirring all the while, for a minute, then stir in the Parmesan or feta. Add the spinach to the sauce and stir well, then let cook for a couple of minutes for the flavors to meld. Taste and adjust seasonings. To hold for serving in 30 - 60 minutes, reduce heat to LOW and cover.

ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
While creamed spinach is 'good' when made with frozen spinach, it's out-of-this-world delicious when made with fresh spinach. I don't recommend bags of the 'baby' spinach, however, for the leaves are so tender, they don't stand up to the sauce. Instead, gather fresh spinach leaves, wash them very well, cut off the stems and the center core, then chop roughly. Just delicious!
I've tried to just dump still-frozen spinach into the sauce and it just doesn't work. The spinach DOES does need cooking, not just reheating, to taste good.


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4 comments:

Hi-I found your site while looking for interesting veggie ideas-looking forward to creamed spinach-Have you tried Rice Bran Oil-I made homemade, yukon gold fries with this great oil-smoke point 490-kids couldn't get enough.

I've been holding onto this recipe for awhile, waiting for a nice night to make it. I made it last night and it was awesome. Spinach is my favorite veg and this was so tasty. I served it over whole grain pasta, with some red pepper flakes because I'm hooked on heat right now. Thanks for sharing!

i love spinach and often do a version of this. i like your idea of mixing frozen and fresh. perfect with a bit of baguette i'd say!

DH went to a meeting recently and, for lunch, ordered creamed spinach. When he told me that, I just looked at him and shook my head. How can you live with a man for 23 yrs. (!) and not know he likes creamed spinach? Easy if you've never made creamed spinach I guess. I've never known how to make it. Darn you, Alanna!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna