A simple recipe for steamed spinach, seasoned with butter, lemon juice and garlic. Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best ones!
Steaming is a gentle cooking method that I really like. And while steamed vegetables may not sound as exciting as other cooking methods (roasting, sauteing), they can be really good. Examples? Sure! This recipe is excellent, as are my recipes for steamed carrots and steamed cabbage.
I do love my sautéed spinach recipe – it’s very flavorful. But my kids actually prefer this simple recipe for steamed spinach, so I make it often – at least once a week. Another spinach recipe that we all enjoy is this delicious creamed spinach.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty side dish. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
Whole spinach leaves: I buy bags of pre-washed leaves. It makes life easier! Certainly use fresh spinach in this recipe.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Garlic powder: Make sure it’s fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Melted butter: Salted or unsalted – both work. I love using creamy European butter, but any butter will be great.
Fresh lemon juice: Freshly squeezed tastes better than bottled.
How to steam spinach
It’s a very easy recipe that requires no special steamer. Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Place the spinach leaves in a very large, deep skillet. Add 1/4 cup of water.
2. Cover the skillet tightly (ideally with a clear lid so you can peek) and turn the heat to medium-high. When the spinach starts to cook, turn the heat to medium, and keep cooking until the leaves are just wilted.
3. Transfer the cooked spinach to a colander. Press on it with the back of a large serving spoon to extract as much liquid as you can.
4. Transfer the spinach to a serving plate. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then drizzle it with melted butter and with lemon juice.
Sometimes the simplest recipes really are the best! My kids used to really dislike spinach until they realized how delicious it is when lightly steamed and liberally topped with butter.
Can I use frozen spinach leaves in this recipe?
I don’t recommend it. I like to use pre-washed spinach leaves in this recipe, simply to make my life easier (I’m a lazy cook!). You can certainly use whatever fresh spinach you prefer, but do use fresh – it won’t be as good if you use frozen.
How to top steamed spinach
As you can see, I like to top it with melted butter, fresh lemon juice, and garlic. Other tasty options include a pinch of red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of finely grated parmesan cheese, or even a drizzle of hollandaise sauce. You can also replace the butter with extra-virgin olive oil, although I do feel that butter tastes best in this recipe.
Main dish ideas
So what main dish can you serve with steamed spinach? Anything, really! It’s such a versatile side dish. I often serve it with seared scallops, with seafood saute, or with lemon garlic shrimp. But it truly goes with so many main dishes, and it goes just as well with chicken, beef or pork as it does with seafood.
What about leftovers?
You can keep leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave on 50% power.
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- 1 lb. pre-washed spinach leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Place the spinach leaves in a very large, deep skillet. Add 1/4 cup of water.
- Cover tightly (ideally with a clear lid so you can peek) and turn the heat to medium-high. When the spinach starts to steam, turn the heat to medium, and gently steam until the leaves are just wilted, 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked spinach to a colander. Press on it with the back of a large serving spoon to extract as much liquid as you can.
- Transfer the steamed spinach to a serving plate. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and drizzle with melted butter and lemon juice. Mix and serve.