Spinach isn’t just for Popeye- it’s a very nutritious green with a lot of cooking potential. This kitchen essential can be really easy to prepare whether it’s frozen or sourced fresh. You can cook spinach into a lovely side dish or make it up fresh as a salad.
The advantage of using this particular green is that it has a very mild flavor, which means there’s a lot you can do with it and you don’t have to pay too much attention to the flavor it’s bringing to the dish.
This also means that it manages to mix very well with a variety of other foods, and you can add it to pasta, casseroles, lasagna, scrambles, and more without paying it too much consideration, giving you the freedom to do what you want once you know how to cook spinach well.
You should know that there are several kinds of spinach available, and most of the spinach people will use in their recipes will be baby spinach. This can be cooked slightly, though it’s usually eaten fresh.
The flat, larger spinach as well as the curly leaf spinach can tolerate being cooked a bit, so pay attention to which one you’re using.
How to Prepare Spinach for Cooking
Before you cook up spinach, you’ll want to cut and wash it thoroughly. You can cut off the stems, since you won’t be using them. You can use a knife to cut off a bundle of stems at once, or just pull them from the bottom down until they come off.
Next, wash the spinach thoroughly. This removes dirt, animal feces, and other debris that could cause food poisoning and health issues. The flat leaf spinach is especially important to wash well. That spinach tends to have a lot of debris and dirt on it.
You can wash the spinach under cold running water or plunge it into cold water and rub it clean with your hands. If you’re plunging the spinach, you may need to change out the water once you see a lot of dirt in there.
Before you start cooking with the spinach, be sure to run it through a salad spinner or shake it off to get rid of the excess water.
How to Cook Fresh Spinach
If you’re going to be working with fresh spinach, you might as well take advantage of its freshness. Since it’s not frozen, the vibrant flavor and texture is there. Frozen spinach tends to damage some of the spinach’s particular crunch and texture, which is why I definitely prefer working with fresh spinach when possible.
How to cook spinach without losing nutrients? I definitely recommend steaming it, which is the method I’m going to show you here. This is a great way to utilize fresh spinach, and it creates a moist, hot environment for the spinach that lets you cook a lot of it at once.
Steaming will tenderize the spinach greens and yet allow them to keep their vibrant green hue. You can cook a lot of spinach in about 2 minutes with this method. Compare it to blanching the spinach, and you’ll see that there’s a lot less water involved as well.
To steam the spinach, start by preparing your leaves by cutting off the stems and washing them properly. Then, put about 2 inches of water into the bottom of apart and place your steamer insert in the top of the pot.
Next, add your spinach and then cover the pot and allow the water to boil at high heat until steam starts appearing. You can steam your spinach in batches if you need to.
How long to steam spinach four? It should take about a minute or two once the steam starts to form. You’ll know the spinach is fully steamed once the leaves become tender and they start to wilt slightly. Different types of spinach will steam faster or slower.
Then, you can season the spinach as you like. For a simple seasoning, I suggest a little salt and pepper to taste, and then drizzling some balsamic vinegar or lemon juice onto the leaves. This helps counterbalance the bitterness and cover it up.
How To Cook Frozen Spinach
Cook spinach from frozen using the following recipe:
- 1 bag of frozen spinach (16 ounces)
- 1/2 cup of chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- Put your oil into a large skillet on the stovetop and heated up. Once it’s heated, you can add the garlic powder and spinach. Stir these together and then add your chicken broth.
- Season with salt and pepper and bring your spinach mixture to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes so that the liquid starts to evaporate.
This method for how to cook spinach on stove can be a great way to make cream spinach. You can add a little cream cheese and two tablespoons of breadcrumbs to turn it into instant creamed spinach.
How to cook spinach in a pan like this and deal with the excess liquid? If there’s too much liquid after you’ve cooked your spinach, you can simply drain it off. If you’re going to make creamed spinach, however, leave the liquid and add your other ingredients.
How to Cook Spinach with Eggs
The frozen spinach cooking method I gave you above works really well with scrambled eggs too. You can add in your eggs as the spinach is cooking, using the same oil that the spinach is cooking in to cook the eggs.
You may want to chop your spinach a little bit more for scrambled eggs but if it’s already precut, then it should be fine. The same seasonings I gave you above for the frozen spinach work very well when adding scrambled eggs to the mix.
How to Cook Spinach without Losing Nutrients
If you want to retain the nutritional value of your spinach, the best method is definitely steaming. When you fry spinach, it can burn off some of the nutrients, so be aware of that if you are trying to use spinach for its vitamin and mineral content.