Healthy Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach makes a tasty side dish or main course accompaniment that can be enjoyed at any time of year but often, it is only enjoyed at Christmas.  I’ve come up with a healthy creamed spinach recipe because I find that traditional recipe versions of creamed spinach are often laden with saturated fat and can mask the iron-rich goodness of the spinach which is definitely not deserved. 

Healthy Creamed Spinach Ingredients

Spinach is a powerhouse of a vegetable with its many health boasts including eye health, heart health, skin and hair growth and bone strength. 

It is known to contain antioxidants called carotene and chlorophyll.  These can help to slow the aging process as well as helping to maintain a healthy immune system making our bodies better equipped to repel viruses and bacteria. 

Spinach also contains magnesium and folate, both of which are nutrients that help our bodies create energy to keep us going throughout the day.

What other reason could there be to cram as much spinach into our diets as possible?

 I’ve added lemon and parmesan to this dish because both ingredients partner well together and help to season and enhance the flavour of the spinach. 

The lemon provides freshness and vibrancy to lift the dish into a starring role on any festive table. 

The parmesan is a strong flavoured cheese that can be used in smaller quantities whilst not compromising on taste.  This dish could easily be suitable for vegetarians by using a suitable strongly flavoured vegetarian cheese or vegetarian-style parmesan cheese.

For me, making a healthy creamed spinach recipe means reducing the amount of saturated fat in one of the key elements of the dish – the creamy sauce.  To do this I’ve replaced the traditional use of butter and plain flour with corn flour to make a béchamel-style sauce.  I find that flavouring the sauce with bay leaf and nutmeg really gives a subtle warmth and boost of flavour to the finished dish. 

To make the béchamel sauce I take cornflour and a small amount of milk taken from the half pint needed in this recipe and combine it in a jug.  I give it a good stir until it forms a paste.

I then heat the rest of the milk in a saucepan along with the bay leaf and the nutmeg.  I heat the milk until it just comes to a gentle simmer.

Once the milk is sufficiently heated, I remove the bay leaf before whisking the milk into the cornflour mixture.  Next I return the whisked milk back to the pan and cook on a moderate heat, stirring continuously until it thickens and becomes smooth.

I then remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and a good grind of black pepper and then add most of the cheese. 

More Delicious Spinach Recipes

Since spinach is such a nutrient-packed powerhouse of goodness I use it regularly for many of the soups, salads, and curries that I cook.  Recently I’ve come up with my own version of an Aloo Palak recipe.  Click on the link for more information and recipe instructions. Cooked traditionally in Northern Indian cuisine, it can be enjoyed as a delicious vegan main course or a side dish as an alternative to rice. 

Healthy Creamed Spinach Recipe

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Healthy Creamed Spinach

Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 500 g spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small white or red onion (finely diced)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ pint milk
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 25 g parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Turn your oven on to 200c (180c fan)
  • Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan over a low heat. Add the finely diced onion and sauté until soft and translucent.
  • Add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Stir often to prevent the garlic and onion from burning.
  • Add the spinach and allow to wilt down for a few minutes. Once wilted remove from the heat.
  • In a jug combine the cornflour with a small amount of the milk taken from the half pint. Stir to form a paste.
  • Pour the rest of the milk into a small saucepan along with the bay leaf and the nutmeg (if using). Heat until it comes to a simmer.
  • Remove the bay leaf and whisk into the cornflour mixture. Return the whisked milk back to the pan and cook on a moderate heat, stirring continuously until it thickens and becomes smooth.
  • Remove from the heat and season with salt and a good grind of black pepper then add most of the parmesan cheese.
  • Tip the wilted spinach mixture into the cheesy sauce and mix well.
  • Spoon into an oven proof dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until the cheesy topping is golden brown and the creamed spinach is bubbling.
  • Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Ingredient Substitutes

What Can I use as a Non-dairy Milk Substitute:

I haven’t specified what milk to use for this recipe but I’ve tried it out with both dairy and for a non-dairy option I’ve used oat milk.  Both tasted delicious and did not detract from the finished flavor and texture of the dish.  With that said, I see no reason why you couldn’t use soy or almond milk.  Either would work well to create a healthy creamed spinach recipe.

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