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Easy Spinach Recipes to Support Your Weight Loss Journey

People tend to have a love-hate relationship with spinach. Spinach is a mild-flavored and healthy vegetable that makes for a great ingredient in salads, pasta, sandwiches, and more.

This probably explains why Popeye the Sailor Man loves spinach.

Whether you wrinkle up your nose at the very mention of it or buy a large bag every week, the recipes below will transform your view on spinach forever. 

Lentil Salad with Beets and Spinach

Precooked lentils make this hearty lunch come together in 10 minutes (or less). You can also roast the beets ahead of time—look for the golden quality in grocery stores. They’re much less rumpled than red beets, which can stain your hands and your cutting board.

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup precooked lentils (such as Melissas)
  • 1 Roasted Golden Beet, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled Cotija cheese 

Preparation

Combine the vinegar, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil until emulsified. Stir together the lentils, beets, and spinach in a bowl.

Toss with the dressing. Top with the walnuts and cheese.

Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach is a simple side dish that is also the ideal way to use up any dying spinach. The creaminess will make you forget you’re eating spinach and convert anyone into a fan of leafy greens. It seems like a lot of spinach, but it will boil down to almost zero, so don’t skimp on it. 

Ingredients 

  • 20 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan 

Preparation

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spinach for 30 seconds. Drain and place in a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, drain and squeeze out as much excess water as possible.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add and onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. 
  3. Add milk, heavy cream, and cream cheese to the skillet. Simmer until cream cheese is melted. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. 
  4. Add spinach and Parmesan and stir to combine. 

One-Pot Pasta With Spinach and Tomatoes

This one-pot pasta dinner is simple, fresh, and healthful.

Preparing the pasta right in the sauce saves time and cleanup while soaking the noodles with more flavor. This quick recipe is also endlessly versatile and lends itself to plenty of easy ingredient swaps.

You can also add other healthy ingredients like sliced zucchini, mushrooms, leftover diced cooked chicken thighs, or crumbled sausage. You can also opt for whole wheat paste for a healthier option.

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8 ounces whole-grain spaghetti or linguine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10-ounce fresh spinach
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup) 

Preparation

  1. Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat.
  2. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until onion starts to brown.
  3. Add tomatoes, stock, oregano, and pasta, in that order. Bring to a boil. Add noodles; stir to submerge in liquid.
  4. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 7 minutes or until pasta is almost done.
  5. Uncover; stir in salt. Add spinach in batches, stirring until it wilts. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes before sprinkling cheese on top.

Note:

  • Trade out spaghetti for any short pasta shape, such as elbow macaroni, rotini, or shells.
  • Use fresh grape tomatoes instead, and attach fresh herbs.
  • Combine chopped skinless, boneless chicken thighs, ground beef, or ground turkey for a healthfuller dish.

Spinach Artichoke Zucchini Bites

These little chaps are scary addictive. Just as the zucchini becomes delicate, the cheese is getting melty and delicious.

If you want a little added color on your bites, turn the oven to broil on medium and cook them a couple of minutes more. Just keep an eye on them.

For a smart party trick, try making these in the air fryer! They come out flawlessly. 

Ingredient 

  • 4 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 2/3 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan 
  • 1/2 c. canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 c. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2″ rounds 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, artichokes, spinach, sour cream, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Spread about a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on top of each zucchini coin.
  3. Bake until zucchini is tender and cheese is melty, 15 minutes. For more color, broil on high, 1 to 2 minutes.

For Air Fryer

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, artichokes, spinach, sour cream, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Cook zucchini slices in an air fryer at 375° for 8 minutes, then top each piece with one tablespoon cream cheese mixture. 
  3. Return to the air fryer and continue cooking in batches until the cheese is profoundly golden and zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes more. 

Creamed Curried Spinach

Curry powder attaches warmth and earthiness to this speedy version of creamed spinach. Whole milk yogurt gives the side a tasty mouthfeel and plenty of body. Serve with steak or with seared planks of spice-rubbed tofu.

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 5 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

Preparation

Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute crushed red pepper and thinly sliced garlic clove for about 2 minutes.

Add thinly sliced shallots and curry powder; cook for 2 minutes. Add fresh baby spinach to pan in batches, stirring until wilted before adding more. Stir in yogurt and kosher salt.

Spinach Artichoke Orzo

The flavors of your desired dip are now in an orzo dish.

Ingredients 

  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sliced green onions, whites, and light greens separated from the dark
  • 3/4 lb. orzo
  • 3 1/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 (12-oz.) package frozen artichoke hearts, quartered 
  • 3 c. baby spinach
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 

Preparation

  1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium.
  2. Add garlic and white and light green parts of green onion, cook, occasionally stirring, until just beginning to brown.
  3. Add orzo and broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cook, frequently stirring until orzo is just al dente, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in cream cheese and Parmesan until melted and combined. Add artichoke and cook until warmed through. Add spinach and stir until wilted.
  5. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper, stir to combine. Sprinkle with green parts of green onion and more Parmesan.

Feta-Quinoa Cakes with Spinach

Precooked whole grains are possibly the best possible addition to the convenience food lineup. It helps you save time and comes in serving-friendly containers.

Look for unseasoned grains for a product that’s more adaptable and lower in sodium.

While most precooked bits call for some cooking to reheat and finish hydrating, we leap that step here. The quinoa will plump in the fluid from the cake batter and finish cooking in the skillet.

Watch for feta cheese crumbles to save even more time, but hop the reduced-fat kind; these can taste rubbery.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/3 cup grated yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces feta cheese crumbles (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 (8-oz.) pkg. pre-cooked plain quinoa (such as Simply Balanced)
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach or watercress
  • 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons light sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika 

Preparation

  1. Combine the first ten ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Divide and shape mixture into 8 (1-inch-thick) patties (about 1/2 cup each).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add patties to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned and crisp. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and spinach in a medium bowl; toss gently to combine.
  4. Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, mayonnaise, sour cream, and paprika in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  5. Divide spinach among four plates; top evenly with patties and mayonnaise mixture. Serve immediately.

Creamed Spinach Stuffed Salmon

If you’re doubtful about the combination of cheese and salmon, don’t be. We assure you, it’s AMAZING.

Ingredients 

  • 4 (6-oz.) salmon fillets
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 c. frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Preparation

  1. Season salmon all over with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, mozzarella, spinach, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. 
  2. Using a paring knife, slice a slit in each salmon to create a pocket. Stuff pockets with cream cheese mixture. 
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add salmon skin side down and cook until seared, about 6 minutes, then flip salmon.
  4. Add butter and squeeze lemon juice all over. Cook until the skin is crispy, another 6 minutes. Serve warm.

Spinach, Hummus, and Bell Pepper Wraps

Fresh, flavorful, veggie-packed, and set in 10-minute ease—now that’s a meal we can stand behind!

Hummus gives a winning combo of protein and healthy fat for staying power, while fresh bell peppers and spinach provide a satisfying crunch. Tomato-and-basil feta cheese supplements a kick of salty tang and Mediterranean flair.

Make this wrap the night before and place it in the fridge—just grab it in the morning on your way out the door. Use Flatout Light whole-grain flatbreads to retain calories in check; you can find them at most supermarkets.

Match this tasty wrap with whole-wheat crackers or a piece of fruit to turn out a nutritious, delicious lunch.

Ingredients 

  • 2 (1.9-oz.) whole-grain flatbreads (such as Flatout Light)
  • 1/2 cup roasted garlic hummus
  • 1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup firmly packed baby spinach
  • 1 ounce crumbled tomato-and-basil feta cheese (about 1/4 cup) 

Preparation

  1. Spread each flatbread with 1/4 cup hummus, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.
  2. Divide the bell pepper evenly between the flatbreads; top each with 1/2 cup spinach and two tablespoons of cheese.
  3. Starting from one short side, roll up the wraps. Cut each wrap in half, and secure with wooden picks.

Creamed Spinach Chicken

Be prepared to lick your plate clean because you’ll be eating straight out of the pan. 

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 3/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional) 

Preparation

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat one tablespoon oil. Season chicken with paprika, salt, and pepper and cook until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. 
  2. Heat remaining tablespoon oil. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add spinach in batches until wilted. 
  3. Pour over heavy cream and chicken broth and simmer for 3 minutes. Add mozzarella and Parmesan and stir until melted, then return chicken to skillet and simmer 5 minutes. 
  4. Serve creamed spinach spooned over chicken with bread, if using.

Zucchini and Spinach Chilaquiles

This Verde version of a Mexican brunch masterpiece is the perfect introduction to summer.

If you have time, try turning out canned tomatillos for something fresh. Take out the papery husks from 8 ounces fresh tomatillos, toss with one tablespoon oil on a baking sheet, and broil for 6 minutes or until lightly charred. Cool before processing.

Queso fresco has the texture of strained ricotta. It won’t melt under the broiler, but its mild flavor will be a welcome contrast to the heat in the tomatillo mixture.

Add scrambled eggs to each portion for a little extra protein.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (12-oz.) can tomatillos, drained
  • 4 tablespoons water, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces multigrain tortilla chips (about 4 cups)
  • 2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce, optional 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the broiler to high.
  2. Place 3/4 cup cilantro, peppers, and tomatillos in a food processor; process 20 seconds. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until sauce reaches desired consistency. Stir in juice.
  3. Heat oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add zucchini, onion, and jalapeño; cook for 6 minutes. Add spinach, stirring to wilt. Place zucchini mixture in a bowl. Wipeout pan.
  4. Arrange tortilla chips in pan; top with tomatillo mixture, zucchini mixture, and cheese. Broil 2 minutes. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and hot sauce, if desired.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

Pesto is a prominent big-batch sauce for using up a mix of herbs and greens, but it tends to go army green if prepared ahead.

You should quickly blanch spinach and basil to preserve the color without diluting flavor, then bump up the green with fresh parsley. A little chopped tomato can add moisture and mild acidity.

Be sure to press the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto to prevent it from browning. A simple shrimp and asparagus pasta toss let the pesto shine; you could also use chicken breast, broccoli florets, or haricots verts.

Ingredient 

Pesto:

  • 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup seeded chopped plum tomato
  • 6 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pasta:

  • 8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 2-in. pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup halved multicolored grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

Preparation

  1. To prepare pesto, bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil.
  2. Add spinach and basil; cook for 20 seconds. Remove spinach mixture to a bowl filled with ice water (reserve water in the pan).
  3. Let it stand for 30 seconds. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Place parsley and next seven ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; process until finely chopped.
  5. Add spinach mixture and two tablespoons oil; process to combine.
  6. Place 3/4 cup pesto in a small bowl; place plastic wrap directly on pesto.
  7. Reserve for Pesto Chicken with Blistered Tomatoes and Vegetable Soup au Pistou.
  1. To prepare pasta, return water in the pan to a boil.
  2. Add pasta; cook according to package directions, adding asparagus during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  3. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high until butter melts. Sprinkle shrimp with red pepper and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  5. Add shrimp to pan; cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove shrimp from the pan.
  6. Add pasta mixture and reserved 3/4 cup cooking liquid to pan; cook for 1 minute.
  7. Stir in the remaining six tablespoons pesto, shrimp, grape tomatoes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Final Thoughts

Spinach is a nutritious, leafy green. No wonder it offers a handful of health benefits.

Spinach may reduce oxidative stress, enhance eye health, and help prevent heart disease and cancer.

If you’re curious about its health-boosting potential, spinach is an accessible food to add to your diet.