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Take advantage of fresh, healthy greens! Sauteed Spinach with Garlic comes together from start to finish in just 10 minutes. Best of all, the quick and easy side dish recipe pairs nicely with just about any entrée — from grilled steak to fish, pasta to chicken!

Close overhead shot of a bowl of sauteed spinach with garlic and fresh lemon

We’ve been getting a lot of fresh spinach from the farmer’s market recently, since it’s one of the few green vegetables that’s available in Central Virginia during the first few weeks of spring. Fortunately, a simple recipe for sauteed spinach with garlic comes together in minutes, works well with almost any entrée, and doesn’t require much effort!

What is Sauteed Spinach with Garlic?

To sauté something means to fry it in a little bit of hot fat. In this case, the spinach leaves are fried quickly in a small amount of olive oil and butter. The spinach is seasoned simply with fresh minced garlic, kosher salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Front shot of sauteed spinach with garlic in a yellow cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon

How do you saute spinach?

While I like to sauté heartier greens (like kale or collards) with bacon for a richer, smokier taste, I find that the more delicate spinach leaves do best when sautéed with more subtle ingredients like the garlic and lemon used here. The spinach is fresh, bright and absolutely delicious!

Ingredients for Sauteed Spinach with Garlic:

  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1: Clean the Spinach

First, wash the spinach really well and then pat it dry. It’s fine if the leaves are still a little bit damp.

Bowl of fresh spinach leaves

Step 2: Cook Garlic in Butter and Oil

Next, sauté the garlic in butter and olive oil for about 1 minute. Stir constantly and be careful not to let it burn.

Process shot of cooking garlic in olive oil and butter

Step 3: Add Spinach and Cook

Add the spinach, salt and pepper to the skillet. You might have to slowly add the spinach in batches so that it all fits into the pan. It looks like a lot of greens, but they wilt down considerably! Then cover the pan and cook the spinach for about 2 minutes.

Process shot showing how to make sauteed spinach with garlic

Continuing cooking and stirring the spinach (uncovered) until most of the liquid evaporates and the spinach wilts. This will only take about 1-2 more minutes.

Horizontal shot of sauteed spinach with garlic in a skillet with a wooden spoon

Step 4: Finish with Lemon

Finally, squeeze lemon juice over the spinach, season with additional salt (to taste), and toss to combine.

Squeezing fresh lemon juice over sauteed spinach

What to serve with Sauteed Spinach with Garlic:

This versatile easy side dish goes well with a variety of entrées. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Horizontal shot of a bowl of sauteed spinach

Is Sauteed Spinach as healthy as raw?

Spinach is well known for its amazing health benefits, including its ability to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood (source). Spinach is very rich in iron, is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate, as well as a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2.

Sauteed spinach can actually be healthier (in some respects) than raw spinach! For instance, cooking vegetables has been shown to increase their antioxidant content, increase lutein, and increase the amount of available calcium in the spinach. Cooking vegetables also increases the amount of magnesium and iron that’s available to the body (source). So eat up, enjoy the taste and texture of the sauteed spinach, and feel good knowing that you’re also doing something good for your body!

Preparation and Storage Tips:

  • Leftover sauteed spinach will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • I have been known to reheat leftover spinach in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or on the stovetop in a skillet over low heat (just until heated through). That said, it’s important to note that this might not be the best vegetable to make ahead. Experts suggest that every time you reheat spinach or other veggies that are rich in nitrates, they become increasingly toxic. So basically…do so at your own risk.
  • I do not recommend freezing sauteed spinach, because the texture of the greens will be watery and mushy when thawed.

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • You can use regular fresh spinach leaves or fresh baby spinach leaves for this recipe. If your leaves are particularly large, you might want to roughly chop them before sautéing.
  • I do not recommend using frozen spinach in this recipe.
  • What else can I add to the spinach? Cooked, chopped bacon is a nice addition to the dish. You can also try sauteed spinach with onions or tomatoes (diced fresh or canned diced will both work).
  • Instead of lemon juice, use balsamic vinegar for an acidic finish.
Sauteed spinach with garlic in a blue and white serving bowl and lemons nearby

More easy spinach recipes that you might enjoy:

Close overhead shot of a bowl of sauteed spinach with garlic and fresh lemon

Sauteed Spinach with Garlic

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 86.4 kcal
Sauteed Spinach with Garlic is an easy side dish that's ready in just 10 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. fresh spinach leaves (about 2 large bunches)
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Dash of black pepper
  • Juice from half of a lemon

Instructions

  • Wash the spinach really well and then pat it dry with a dish towel.
  • In a very large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the spinach, salt and pepper to the skillet, toss to coat, and then cover. Cook (covered) for about 2 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, for about 1 more minute while the liquid evaporates and the spinach wilts. Squeeze lemon juice over top, season with additional salt (if necessary) and serve with a slotted spoon.

Notes

  • You can use regular fresh spinach leaves or fresh baby spinach leaves for this recipe. If your leaves are particularly large, you might want to roughly chop them before sautéing.
  • I do not recommend using frozen spinach in this recipe.
  • What else can I add to the spinach? Cooked, chopped bacon is a nice addition to the dish. You can also try sauteed spinach with onions or tomatoes (diced fresh or canned diced will both work).
  • Instead of lemon juice, use balsamic vinegar for an acidic finish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the spinachCalories: 86.4kcalCarbohydrates: 5.4gProtein: 3.4gFat: 6.8gSaturated Fat: 2.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 3.3gCholesterol: 7.8mgSodium: 250.4mgPotassium: 649.1mgFiber: 2.6gSugar: 0.6g
Keyword: sauteed spianch recipe, sauteed spinach with garlic
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Good morning Blair. I think you look adorable in your little red heart top! I was hoping you could tell me the brand and size of your yellow pan. I looks to be cast iron. Thank you for a great book referral and as always great recipes.

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent! The combination of olive oil and butter adds great depth to the spinach. Love the ease and speed of this recipe and all your dump and bake recipes. Just discovered your site and it has been a tasty time-saver. Thank you!