Coconut Creamed Spinach

This vegan creamed spinach is made with coconut milk instead of dairy. A delicious side dish for your holiday table.

coconut creamed spinach (vegan) /

I started this with the best intentions, really. I was going to make a version of Jack’s mom’s famous creamed spinach… top it with crispy shallots because they remind me of my dad and the infamous green bean casserole (his favorite thing). I was going to make just a few tweaks β€” but a few shiitakes and a can of coconut milk later, it became less of a “twist” and more of a left turn. Albeit, a delicious left turn.

coconut creamed spinach / coconut creamed spinach /

I absolutely love coconut – if you don’t, this one might not be for you. The coconut is not merely a dairy replacement here, it’s flavor is front and center… sweet, rich and creamy… with a little tang from a tiny bit of lemon.Β I might totally suck at Thanksgiving traditions, but this is my kind of comfort food.

coconut creamed spinach /

coconut creamed spinach
Serves: serves 4 as a side
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. spinach (or mix of baby greens)
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt, pepper
for the fried shallots:
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • ½ cup canola oil for frying
  • salt
  1. In a large skillet heat ½ tablespoon olive oil, add the spinach, a few pinches of salt, and cook until just wilted. (you may have to let some cook down before you can fit more into the pan, or add & remove it in batches - just don't overcook it). Turn of the heat, and place spinach in a colander to drain.
  2. Once it's cool to the touch, press out as much liquid as you can. And then press out some more. Don't skip this step or you will have watery creamed spinach.
  3. In a separate smaller skillet, heat your fry oil. Toss shallots together with the cornstarch until they're fully coated. Test fry a shallot, making sure your oil is at the right temp (they should become golden brown in about 30 seconds). Fry the rest in batches, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Set aside.
  4. Whisk coconut milk, dijon mustard, a pinch of salt, and corn starch. Set aside.
  5. Wipe out the skillet you used for the spinach and heat ½ tablespoon more oil. Add the chopped shallot, mushrooms, garlic, pinches of salt and pepper, and cook for a few minutes until soft. Squeeze lemon into the pan, give it a stir, and turn heat to low. Add half the coconut milk mixture and stir.
  6. Add the spinach back to the pan. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk mixture and stir just until the spinach and coconut milk are warmed through. (you want to cook the spinach as little as possible so it doesn't lose it's vibrant green color and become mushy). Remove from heat and pour into a serving platter.
  7. Top with shallots just as you're ready to serve so they stay crispy.


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

    • jeanine

      ha… I know so many people who don’t like coconut, (I don’t get it πŸ™‚ )

  1. michelle from

    Love that there’s no dairy and it still looks delicious!

    • jeanine

      Thanks! I have a tough time with regular cream, so I always love a creamy coconut substitution!

  2. I love that you modeled this sort of after the traditional green bean casserole! I am all about those crispy shallots and anything with mushrooms totally wins me over. I bet you could use almond milk instead too!!! Deeelish!

    • jeanine

      ha yep, one version I baked it casserole-style to get the crunchy things on top w/o frying, but that cooked the spinach way too much…

      I did try it with almond milk (it was my original plan), but it wasn’t as good as the coconut πŸ™‚

      • Kate

        Hi Jeanine,

        We just had this with the coconut milk and though it was very tasty, it was a bit too coconutty for us. What was wrong with the almond milk version?

        • Jeanine Donofrio

          Hi Kate, store-bought almond milk isn’t as fatty and thick so it doesn’t mimic texture of heavy cream and it was too watery. I’m sure it could be done with (thicker than normal) homemade nut milk.

    • jeanine

      no really, I suck… starting with that whole “I don’t do turkey” thing πŸ™‚

  3. Justina from

    This looks amazing. I always love the creativity and unique style that you bring to your cooking! I also love Asian food, so some common Asian ingredients never scare me.

    It looks like a great holiday side. I look forward to trying the crispy shallots.

    • jeanine

      thanks! I just love asian ingredients, glad you do too!

  4. Tieghan from

    I love coconut. It is one of my favorite flavors to play with. Savory or sweet! This creamy spinach looks so good!

    • jeanine

      thanks Tieghan, me too! I could eat coconut all day…

  5. I think this dish would make a fabulous side for Thanksgiving! Yum! Thanks so much for sharing. I love you blog!

  6. Abigail

    This looks amazing — and perfect for my multiple-dietary-restriction Thanksgiving crowd!

    Any reason why I shouldn’t make this (up to the fried shallots) the day before?

    • jeanine

      thanks! Personally, I would fry the onions ahead of time (store them separately) and only cook the shallot and the mushrooms the day before… then reheat the cooked mushrooms in the pan and cook the spinach with the remaining coconut milk at the last minute. The spinach cooks so quickly and it’ll be more vibrant if it isn’t cooked and then reheated later.

  7. tom from

    looks like a really interesting taste combination. can’t wait to try this. a perfect little spin on classic greens.

  8. Millie from,

    Wow. Spinach will never be the same again! This looks amazing!

  9. Merle

    you just made a traditional dish from the island of Guam…

    • jeanine

      Gollai hΓ₯gon suni? (I just googled it). Next time I’ll try it w/ turmeric, thx!

  10. Dominick

    i have to put together something/anything as a project for my cooking class and i chose this recipe and im extremely excited to try it!

  11. Rachel

    This looks amazing. I have a bunch of collard greens I need to use up. Do you think they could be used in substitution of the spinach?

    • jeanine

      you’d need to cook them longer, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t?

  12. Lisa

    Although I quickly realized I didn’t have enough spinach for a full batch (I was thinking 1 bunch instead of pound!), I adjusted everything to have a mini- batch for lunch today. Love how the lemon really comes through in the mushrooms and how this all comes together without too much cook time.

    Will have to run to the store to grab more spinach later… Thanks for such a great flavor combo!

  13. allison

    Holy moly, this was delicious! I made it with collard greens, which I roasted for 30 minutes instead of blanching or steaming. They were amazing with the coconut milk and mushrooms. I put it on top of some left over quinoa and tofu. Thank you for this one!

    • jeanine

      sounds delicious, glad you liked it!

  14. Elizabeth

    I just made this tonight and it was delicious. I added some red pepper flakes, because I just can’t resist a little heat, but otherwise did it exactly as written and it was perfect. Thanks!

  15. Made this and loved it. I used a combination of baby spinach and red chard. It is important to cook the spinach and chard separately in this case. A very rich meal, perfectly accompanied by short-grain brown rice.

    • jeanine

      so glad you liked it! Smart thinking to cook them separately!

  16. Maria from

    I love this idea, now just need to cook it at home, thank you.

  17. Sharon

    So I’m about a year late to this post, but I made this tonight. I had some spinach in the fridge, a can of coconut milk in the cupboard and a 14-year-old boy staying with us who is in a sandwiches-and-cereal-only phase. After 3 weeks of eating refined carbs and deli meat, I had to intervene – the kid needed veggies, and this just looked delicious. I made it for dinner (with a lemongrass/ginger rubbed salmon & lime rice) and it was a hit. Even with the teenager! Most nights I hear the scrape-scrape of leftover food being dumped in the trash but he actually went back for seconds…I don’t know what magic you have in this recipe, but thank you! Oh, and it is delicious without mushrooms (we had none on hand), but I will be making it again with.

  18. Abby

    This came out great!

  19. Tiger Lily

    Anyone know how long this will last in the fridge?

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.