Garlic Sautéed Spinach

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The best garlic sauteed spinach with crispy garlic, fresh lemon juice, and some seriously delicious spinach. This side dish is easy and packed with flavor.

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Okay I feel like I'm going out on limb here with this recipe for Garlic Sauteed Spinach. I can already feel the skepticism and possibly lingering finger over the mouse to go on to the next recipe. Because spinach isn't the most popular vegetable, and sauteed spinach? Probably even less popular.

But wait! Don't go! I promise you this recipe will change the way you think about cooked spinach. Just give it a go just one time and I really think you'll put spinach on rotation in your house. Plus it's so good for you and so easy to keep on hand (it'll keep in your fridge longer than most greens) and when you're tired of eating it in salads or it looks like it's going to go bad, you can just saute it with garlic and eat it that way. Less food waste, good for your body, win win!

Ingredients for sauteing spinach including baby spinach, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

How do you make Garlic Sauteed Spinach?

Did I mention this was easy? In just a few steps, one pan, and less than 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, nutritious dish ready to eat.

First, heat the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook it for just 1-3 minutes, or until the garlic becomes fragrant and begins to brown, taking care not to overcook it.

Next, take the garlic out of the pan using a slotted spoon. Then, add the spinach to the same pan, cooking and stirring until it's wilted. It won't take long, maybe 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic back to the pan along with salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice.

Serve and enjoy!

What makes spinach healthy?

In addition to being low in calories, having zero cholesterol, no carbs, and no fat, spinach is also high in fiber, which keeps you feeling fuller, longer and is great for your digestive system.

The vitamins in spinach include vitamins A, K, B1, B2, B6, K, E, and C and minerals include manganese, folate, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and calcium. It also provides your body with a healthy dose of antioxidants, carotenoids, and flavonoids.

Spinach can also help your hair and skin glow, keep your bones strong, lower your risk for heart disease, and help keep your blood sugar in check, all of which make picking sauteed garlic spinach as a side dish a great choice for your health.

How much spinach a day is safe to eat?

Like anything in life, moderation is key. Experts recommend about 2 cups of dark, leafy greens a day, which will provide you with all of your requirements for vitamin A, plus most of your vitamin K intake for the day.

Are you supposed to wash spinach?

I often buy my spinach in a bag or plastic container, and those are usually labeled with some text that indicates whether or not it's been washed. I tend to believe the packaging when it says it's been washed and just cook it right out of the bag/container.

However, sometimes I do notice that it's a little gritty still, and in this case, I'll go ahead and rinse the leaves in a colander in the sink and then put them in a salad spinner to remove excess water before cooking. It's totally up to you!

Ideas for Eating Garlic Sauteed Spinach

  • I like to eat my garlic sauteed spinach in a bowl with a fork. Sometimes it's my side and sometimes it's my main dish, depending on how much spinach I am craving during that meal.
  • Give your morning egg muffins a little more flavor by adding in this garlic spinach.
  • Garlic sauteed spinach would also be so delicious in these quinoa meatballs for a little extra zing!
  • Consider tossing spinach sauteed in garlic into an omelette, quiche, or frittata for an amazing flavor.
  • This spinach dish would also go well over white, brown, or cauliflower rice, over high-fiber egg noodles, or another grain.
  • I like to layer this spinach on a plate and add my slow cooker lemon garlic chicken on top for a lemony/garlicky/low-carb/filling dish that's so delicious!
  • Experiment by making other suateed greens like these delicious Utica Greens made with escarole.

Sautéed spinach with garlic and lemon in a dish being held by two hands.

More sauteed vegetable recipes

The Recipe
Garlic sautéed spinach with crispy garlic, black pepper, lemon, and sea salt on a white plate.

Garlic Sautéed Spinach

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  • 1 lb baby spinach (or regular spinach, washed with stems trimmed)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced (more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon, juice

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Heat the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium high heat. Cook for 1-3 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant and begins to brown and caramelize. Be careful not to let it overcook or it will become bitter. Remove the garlic from the oil using a slotted spoon. Set on the side.


Add the spinach and cook. Stir the dish often until the spinach is wilted. It will take 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic back to the pan. Then season liberally with salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 93
Calories from Fat 66
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 90mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On Garlic Sautéed Spinach
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Robin Perley
December 2, 2020 - 17:25
I love spinach and this looks GREAT! thanks!
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