In this easy sauteed spinach recipe, fresh spinach is cooked in garlic-infused olive oil, then dressed with butter and lemon juice.
It's a simple and delicious side dish that's ready in minutes. It's so good that even my kids agree to eat it! So if you have reluctant vegetable eaters in your house, you should try this recipe.
This sauteed spinach recipe is one of my favorites. Sauteing is a lovely way to prepare fresh spinach. The spinach is quickly cooked in olive oil with garlic and seasonings, then topped with butter. Simple and delicious!
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Olive oil: In this recipe, the spinach is cooked in olive oil. The butter is used not for cooking but for finishing the dish and adding another layer of flavor.
- Minced garlic: Mince it yourself, or use the stuff that comes in a jar. Both work, although freshly minced tastes better.
- Fresh spinach: I make life easy and buy a bag of pre-washed spinach leaves. But you can wash and dry them yourself as long as you ensure they are thoroughly dried.
- To season: I season this dish simply with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- To finish: Butter and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I love using creamy European butter; freshly squeezed lemon juice has the best flavor.
- The best way to vary this recipe is to add spices. I love adding a pinch of onion powder and/or dried thyme.
- You can cook the spinach in ghee instead of olive oil. It adds a wonderfully nutty flavor.
- If you don't have fresh lemons, omit the lemon juice, or add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
Sauteed Spinach Instructions
Here's an overview of the steps needed to make this recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions.
- In a very large, deep pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook it until no longer raw. (Photo 1).
- Add the spinach, carefully mixing it with a wooden spoon to coat the leaves in the olive oil. (Photo 2).
- Cook the spinach, stirring with a wooden spoon, until just wilted. (Photo 3).
- Turn the heat off and stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and butter.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a serving plate. (Photo 4).
- Top it with more butter if you wish (it makes for a pretty presentation) and serve. (Photos 5-6).
While one pound of spinach may seem like a lot, remember that spinach loses a great deal of volume as it cooks. So this is a perfect amount of spinach for four people.
You need a large, deep skillet or saucepan when making sauteed spinach to accommodate the large volume of raw leaves.
Young baby spinach leaves are delicious and don't need too many spices. They go very well with salt, pepper, and garlic. You can also add a pinch of onion powder, nutmeg, thyme, and/or red pepper flakes.
It helps to use young baby spinach leaves. They're not very bitter. In addition, citrus flavors help, so I like squeezing fresh lemon juice into this dish.
I'm a big fan of using olive oil to cook it, then topping the finished dish with butter. But you can simply cook it in butter.
Spinach is delicious when prepared with heavy cream, butter, and parmesan. This creamed spinach recipe is lovely.
But when you use fresh baby spinach leaves, they are so delicate, almost sweet. So you can use minimal ingredients and briefly saute them for a simple and delicious side dish.
Sauteed spinach is easy to make, and it's ready quickly. I like to pair it with oven-baked or slow-cooked meats such as:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to three days. Reheat them in the microwave, covered, at 50% power.
More Spinach Recipes
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Sauteed Spinach Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced
- 1 lb. baby spinach leaves pre washed
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or ¼ teaspoon of any other salt)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- In a very large, deep pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until no longer raw but not browned.
- Add the spinach, carefully mixing it with a wooden spoon to coat the leaves in the olive oil. Depending on how deep your skillet is, you might need to add it in several batches, as I do in the video below.
- Cook the spinach, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it's just wilted, about 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and butter. You can also reserve the butter for topping the spinach after you remove it from the pan, as I do in the video. It makes for a pretty presentation.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a serving bowl. Serve immediately.