All You Need To Know About Cooking Spinach
(from start to finish)

Wondering what to do with spinach? Our helpful guide teaches you how to clean it, techniques for cooking spinach, seasoning suggestions, photos, and much more! Plus, learn to create your own unRecipes from scratch.

I don't know about you, but I DESPISED spinach when I was a kid. Popeye made it look so good! Oy! Such a buzz kill.    ;)

But somewhere along the way, I fell in love with spinach. Sounds like you did as well -- or at least, you want to!

It can be difficult for those of us who have been using spinach in our cooking for a while to remember how confusing it can be.

I'll never forget the first day Jeff brought spinach home from our local co-op. He had NO idea what to do with it. In fact, he called the store to ask the produce department if he was supposed to remove the leaves from the stems!

(By the way, the answer is YES!)

Also, you don't have to be an expert to know that spinach is slightly bitter. And when you cook it, it wilts and those bitter flavors become even MORE concentrated.

So seasoning is KEY. Personally, I add a little sweetener to my spinach dishes to help balance the flavors.

These are just a couple of the tips you will learn from our helpful article below.

We have lots of ground to cover, so let's get started...

Here's what you'll discover below:

Tips for Selecting Your Spinach

Step 1: Choose organic spinach whenever possible since it is a card-carrying member of The Dirty Dozen that must be purchased organic due to its high pesticide content.

"But organics are dirty. Ewwww!"

Please remember, this is a GOOD THING! So many of us have gotten used to buying totally clean and perfectly sanitary produce. Believe it or not, that commercial produce you've been purchasing that looks so pretty is in all actuality weak and sad due to the poisonous pesticides and herbicides it has grown up with.

Plus, organics are ALIVE and filled with nutrients, which is your purpose to eating in the first place, right? Don't worry, we'll clean that spinach to perfection.

When choosing Spinach, be sure to examine the leaves -- they should be large and full. Avoid bunches that have leaves that are riddled with tears and holes, which could suggest it is out of season, or has been mishandled.

The spinach season runs from March-May and again from September-October. Although you can usually find it all year round, it's at its best and prettiest during these months.

Cleaning and Prepping Spinach

Step 2: Fill a bowl (or a Salad Spinner, as I have done here) with clean, filtered water.

Add about 1/4 cup vinegar or other edible acidic liquid (like lemon or lime juice). This will help to clean your Spinach more thoroughly. Don't skip this step -- it's very important as the acidic properties will help to kill any little critters that may be in your LIVE NUTRIENT PACKED spinach.

Step 3: Pinch off the leaves at the top of the stem. Discard stems.

Step 4: Soak the leaves in the water mixture for at least 5 minutes.

Step 5: Drain.

Step 6: Rinse. This veggie has a reputation for being fairly dirty, so you will most likely have to rinse and drain a couple more times until the water is clear.

Step 7: No matter if you use it right away, store it, or eat it raw, you don't want it sopping wet, so spin to remove most of the water. (If you don't have a Salad Spinner, I highly recommend you get one as it will become indispensable to you.) Alternatively, drain thoroughly and lay out on paper towels for a few minutes.

You usually want to chop your spinach, so here's how to do it quickly and easily...

Step 8: To chop: It's easier to chop the Spinach when it's gathered in a bit of a roll. So just grab a handful and roll it together -- it doesn't have to be perfect! Run the knife through the length of the roll of spinach. This will cut the roll in half the long way.

If you're "a righty", hold the roll with your left hand and cut with your right. If you're "a lefty", hold the roll with your right hand and cut with your left.

Step 9: Next, make cuts into the spinach along the width for coarse approximately-bite-sized pieces.

Your Spinach is ready to go!

Cooking Spinach

Click to learn more about the cooking technique we use and recommend for spinach...

A ceramic-coated sauté pan with a lid

Or Eat It Raw!
Why even cook it?
Sometimes a delicious Spinach Salad is just the ticket.

Spinach Vegan Flavor Matches

Create your very own vegan spinach recipe with some of your favorite ingredients from this list of foods that match perfectly.

(What are Flavor Matches?)

  • Allspice
  • Bacon, meat-free (I like Fakin' Bacon. Eat sparingly; this is not a health food)
  • Bell Peppers, especially red
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Butter, non-dairy (I like organic Earth Balance)
  • Cardamom
  • Carrots
  • Cheese, non-dairy
  • Chili peppers (such as jalapeno)
  • Chives
  • Cream, non-dairy
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish
  • Leeks
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Mint
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Nuts (especially almonds, walnuts and pine nuts)
  • Olives
  • Onions, all
  • Oranges
  • Pepper, black
  • Raisins
  • Seeds (especially pumpkin)
  • Sour Cream, non-dairy
  • Soy, organic
  • Sucanat (or other dry sweetener)
  • Tamari, organic
  • Tarragon
  • Tomatoes
  • Vinegar (especially red and wine)
  • Yogurt, dairy-free

Helpful Hints

  • Raw spinach makes delicious salads, yes. But you can lightly wilt spinach in a small pan of water with a lid, then add to sandwiches and wraps, mashed potatoes, quiches, potato pancakes, just about any savory dish that could use a touch of the rich, hearty flavor of spinach;

  • The smaller and flatter the spinach, the more tender - perfect for eating raw. The larger and more wrinkly the spinach, the tougher and this is the best to choose when cooking spinach;

  • Spinach builds blood due to its rich iron and chlorophyll content. It also helps with mooooove things along due to its fiber content.

Happy cooking!

If You Like Spinach Try...

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Swiss Chard!
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