Not everyone feels the way Popeye does over spinach. In fact, for many, whether it’s fresh, canned, or frozen, it may make them turn as green as the spinach leaves themselves. That’s because they don’t know how to make spinach taste good.
And if you fall into that category where you know how good spinach is for you and you know you should eat it but can’t seem to get anyone to ingest it, then this post is for you!
Why Serve Spinach Anyway?
Spinach is a great way to add more nutrition to your meals. Once you know how to make spinach taste good, you won’t mind it floating in your soups, in your sauces, or even as the star of a party dip.
Spinach has vitamin A, which helps your eyes, plus a load of other internal organs like your heart, lungs, and kidneys. It’s also great for your skin too. Spinach also has vitamin B2, which helps draw nutrients and energy from all the proteins, carbs, and fats you eat for healthy red blood cells. It’s also got vitamin C, which gives you antioxidants, and vitamin K for blood clotting.
And if you’re a vegetarian, you get that iron your body needs by eating spinach too. All told it’s a nutritious vegetable. But trying to get your kids to eat it, or even trying to get through it yourself, can be hard unless you know how to make spinach taste good.
Fortunately, you can make it taste amazing with these inside tips!
Getting Spinach Ready to Taste Its Best
If you want to know how to make spinach taste good, the first step is figuring out which one you’ll be using. You’ve got fresh, canned, and frozen versions of spinach to choose from. Here are a few hints on how to maximize each type’s potential.
Fixing Up Fresh Spinach
If at all possible, choosing spinach that is fresh and unpackaged is the best option. It also tastes much better than the rest too. Often, you see them in those sealed plastic bags, touting that they’re washed and ready to use.
That might sound convenient, and hey, it is, but you should still wash those bagged types again. But at least it is mostly clean. The downside here is that it is often harder to tell if you have any slimy leaves in the middle of the bag.
If you’re buying fresh spinach that isn’t bundled up in a bag, it will likely have roots still attached. For these, you should choose bunches that don’t have yellow leaves or any rot on the roots. And you’ll need to wash them multiple times before you get all that grit off, so make sure you go into it with patience.
See? That’s why everyone chooses the bagged stuff, but that’s no guarantee your bagged spinach will taste good. Whether you get fresh spinach in the bag or pick it unbundled with the roots on, make sure you get enough for your recipes. One pound of fresh spinach leaves will amount to one cup when cooked, so plan ahead!
Con the Can
Canned spinach, like any other canned vegetable, has that canned taste. And if that’s how you’ve mainly had spinach in your life, it’s little wonder that you’re not a fan. But getting rid of the canned taste is easy.
Simply drain the spinach into a colander and then rinse it gently with cool water. You’ll want to press the liquid out of it using paper towels, repeating a few times to get all that canned-water flavor out of your spinach. It will also keep it from having that undesirable slimy texture that canned spinach tends to have. Once you do, you’ll find that even canned spinach can taste good.
Fix Up Frozen
While frozen spinach can be cooked right from frozen, it often holds onto tons of water. If you’re using it in certain recipes, that means it can water things down. You can thaw it out first and squeeze out the water, a preferred method if you can’t have it adding more water to your recipes.
But if you want to use that frozen brick of spinach as a side dish, you can simply warm it up from frozen, strain it from the excess water, and then add any variety of seasonings to give it a tasty flavor.
Tips for Making Spinach Taste Good
Now that we’ve covered some basics on the different ways you’ll find spinach, it’s time to get to the fun part…making it taste good! Spinach is really versatile in this way, so these tips can help you add it to meals or make it the most treasured side dish for holidays or any meal.
Know What Pairs Well with Spinach
When it comes to making spinach taste good, the biggest key to boosting flavor is adding richness, creaminess, acidity, or pungency. Playing off of these components will always improve the taste.
To that end, adding fat in the form of olive oil or butter is a must. But you should also consider how you match it with cheese, cream, and eggs too. These things all give it richness while subduing that mineral flavor. As far as cheeses go, you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Some of the best choices of cheeses to cook with your spinach are ricotta, mozzarella, cheddar, goat cheese, Colby jack, feta, Swiss, gruyere, parmesan, and asiago.
As for that acidity, lemon juice or a splash of vinegar will do the trick. And then garlic gives it that pungent taste, a perfect partner! Though be advised with garlic, much of the problem you may experience from making a simple sauteed spinach and garlic dish is likely because you’ve minced or chopped the garlic too finely. Instead, throw in whole garlic cloves, and you won’t wind up with burnt pieces.
If you’re trying to figure out what to serve spinach with, it is ideal with anything from the sea and can go well with most meats from the land. If you’re keeping things meatless, anything earthy in flavor will go with your spinach, like butternut squash, for example. Tomatoes, onions, and roasted red peppers all play nicely with this leafy green, making it easy to craft a tasty spinach dish.
Don’t Overcook It
Another reason your spinach has been lacking is if you overcook it. It should not be limp and lifeless but rather slightly wilted. It should have a nice green color and not look like mush in your skillet.
Add Salt and Taste in Intervals
One of the things many people don’t realize about spinach is that it can be bland without salt. But if you add too much, the whole thing becomes unbearable. Give it just a touch and taste it, then add more if you need to.
Lemon Should Go at the End
For a simple sauté of spinach, squeeze fresh lemon right at the end. This should be just as it’s getting that nice wilt to it. This will brighten up the flavor. Of course, this trick only works with fresh lemons. That bottled lemon juice will do it no favors!
Making Spinach Amazing for Starters
When you have canned spinach in the pantry and don’t want to waste it, there are many ways you can mask the taste of canned and make it the kind of food that disappears fast. You can also do this with fresh or frozen spinach to please a crowd.
Combine with Artichokes and Cream Cheese
Everyone loves spinach and artichoke dip, and for some reason, both of these vegetables that people largely ignore become the star of the show when united together with soft cream cheese. Combine your spinach with artichoke hearts, cream cheese, and just a hint of cayenne pepper and garlic powder, and you’ll have a dreamy dip in a pinch.
Convert It into Pesto
Looking for a way to make your pasta dinners healthier without sacrificing taste? If you puree your drained and rinsed canned spinach, you’re off to a fine start. Put in some walnuts, olive oil, and shredded parmesan cheese. The results are rich and divine, and no one will realize it’s spinach!
Herby chimichurri can be a wonderful way to make spinach taste good. If you blend it into this spicy-savory sauce to serve with meat skewers, no one will be the wiser.
Turning Spinach into a Star
When you have spinach on hand, knowing how to make it taste good can help you turn it into the star of any main dish. Tasting is believing!
It’s Perfect for Spanakopita
Even people who profess to despise spinach can’t get enough of it if you wrap it in buttery phyllo dough. Mix it with feta, garlic, a beaten egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Then bake it for 20 minutes until it’s golden for a glorious Greek dish that can be a main dish or popular party snack.
Pair It With Other Earthy Delights for Pasta
Need a new pasta idea for dinner? Get the pasta going, and then, as it’s almost done, sauté your spinach with mushrooms, red peppers, goat cheese, and kalamata olives. All these flavors come together to make for a Mediterranean meal that tastes like it came from a restaurant.
Let Herbs and Bacon Help You Blend It into Soup
One of the best ways to make spinach taste good is to put canned or thawed frozen spinach in your blender (after draining and rinsing, of course). When it’s smooth, you can add some chicken stock, then put it in your soup pot with seasonings like garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme. After it simmers, top it with crispy bacon and sour cream for a light meal or a superior side to start with.
Go All the Way with Eggs
Remember what we said about spinach and eggs? You can throw it into a frittata, omelet, or quiche. It adds so much color, and since all 3 of these famed egg dishes use cheese, that egg-cheese-spinach trio comes out tasting awesome. Pro tip: with egg dishes and spinach, you must drain, rinse, and dry it well before you add it, or it will make the texture soggy.
Make Creamed Spinach
Creamed spinach is an exemplary way to make spinach taste good. With heavy cream, plenty of freshly-grated parmesan, garlic, and a hint of nutmeg, you will have a side everyone wants to eat by the bucketful.
Raw Spinach Ideas to Make It Taste Good
Spinach is a wonderful vegetable to eat raw. But if you don’t like the taste, there are ways to make you dream about it at night.
For one, you can gently warm up some olive oil with minced garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper. Then drizzle this on top of your fresh spinach, along with some crispy fried prosciutto, to make a warm spinach salad.
For another, if you want to make a raw spinach salad that will wow guests, use balsamic vinaigrette. It has both sweetness and acidity to boost the flavors. Toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and crumbles of gorgonzola cheese (or even goat cheese) will make everyone eat every last bite.
Quick Tips for Making Spinach Taste Good for Kids
By far, children are most notoriously against spinach than anyone else. To get your kids to eat spinach and even declare it tastes good, try these quick tips:
- Stick it in a quesadilla with lots of cheese.
- Bury it on pizza dough with sauce, cheese, and toppings they like.
- Blend it into your tomato sauce for pasta.
- If they don’t mind the color, blend it in smoothies with their favorite fruits. They’ll never be able to taste it!
While it’s true spinach can be off-putting for some, if you know how to make it taste good, you’ll get those nutritional benefits and have tastier meals in your home.
How to freeze spinach
- Wash the spinach: Rinse the spinach leaves thoroughly under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris.
- Blanch the spinach: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the spinach leaves to the pot. Blanch the spinach for 1-2 minutes until it turns bright green.
- Shock the spinach: Remove the spinach from the boiling water and immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Drain the spinach: Drain the spinach leaves and squeeze out any excess water.
- Portion the spinach: Divide the spinach into small portions and place them in freezer-safe bags or containers.
- Label and freeze: Label the bags or containers with the date and store them in the freezer.
How to store spinach
- Gently wrap fresh spinach in a paper towel to absorb excess water.
- Place the paper towel-wrapped spinach in a storage container or bag and seal the container tightly.
- Store the spinach in the crisper drawer of your fridge for about 7-10 days.
- It’s best not to wash spinach before storing it, but instead, when you are ready to use it.
What to serve with spinach artichoke dip
Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, crackers, fresh veggies, bread, chicken wings, roasted potatoes, and anything else you can imagine. This dip is so good; you could also eat it as is by the spoonful.