Coconut Creamed Spinach

Learn how to make the best creamed spinach with this easy 10-ingredient recipe! It's a healthy, delicious side dish you'll make again & again.

Creamed spinach recipe in a pot

What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods? When Jack was growing up, his mom would always make her famous creamed spinach, so this year, I wanted to make a riff on her traditional recipe.

My new creamed spinach recipe is totally dairy-free – I use coconut milk instead of cream – and it’s filled with savory umami flavor and tons of fresh greens. It requires just 10 ingredients and less than 30 minutes to make…are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yup, creamed spinach is a new Thanksgiving tradition around here.

Creamed spinach recipe ingredients How to make creamed spinach

Best Creamed Spinach Recipe Ingredients

To make my spin on creamed spinach ultra flavorful, I used a few unconventional ingredients. Together, this combination of savory, fresh, creamy, and crunchy components yields the best creamed spinach recipe you’ll find:

  • Coconut milk takes the place of cream. Not only does its rich texture make this side dish just as luscious and creamy as the traditional version, but its coconutty flavor adds a little sweetness.ย Dijon mustard and lemon give the creamy base a little tang, too.
  • Shiitake mushrooms add a punch of umami flavor. They’re savory and hearty (not to mention super nutritious!), and they go perfectly with the coconut base.
  • A full pound of spinach makes this recipe super green!
  • And crispy fried shallots add the perfect crunchy contrast to the rich, creamy texture of the veggies & coconut milk.

This recipe would be a great choice if you’re cooking for someone who’s vegan or gluten-free. However, my meat-eating family devoured it all – it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for a group with any diet. Try it for Thanksgiving or make it as an side dish for any dinner. If you try it, let me know how it turns out for you in the comments!

Creamed spinach with crispy shallots

If you love this creamed spinach recipe…

Try making roasted brussels sprouts, green beans, roasted cauliflower, or roasted beets for your next simple veggie side.


5.0 from 2 reviews
Coconut Creamed Spinach
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 4 as a side
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound 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 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
For the fried shallots:
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • ½ cup canola oil for frying
  • Sea salt
Instructions
  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 off 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. Make the fried shallots: 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 together the 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, and 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 the fried shallots just as you're ready to serve so they stay crispy.

ย 

39 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

    • jeanine
      11.23.2013

      ha… I know so many people who don’t like coconut, (I don’t get it ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  1. michelle from lovely-little-things.blogspot.com
    11.20.2013

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

    • jeanine
      11.23.2013

      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
      11.20.2013

      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 ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Kate
        11.18.2017

        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
          11.18.2017

          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
      11.23.2013

      no really, I suck… starting with that whole “I don’t do turkey” thing ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Justina from onedomesticgoddess.wordpress.com
    11.20.2013

    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
      11.23.2013

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

  4. Tieghan from halfbakedharvest.com
    11.20.2013

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

    • jeanine
      11.23.2013

      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
    11.23.2013

    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
      11.23.2013

      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 littleislandkitchen.com
    11.23.2013

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

  8. Millie from addalittle.wordpress.co,
    11.23.2013

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

  9. Merle
    11.25.2013

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

    • jeanine
      11.26.2013

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

  10. Dominick
    11.26.2013

    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
    11.27.2013

    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
      11.27.2013

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

  12. Lisa
    12.04.2013

    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
    12.31.2013

    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
      01.01.2014

      sounds delicious, glad you liked it!

  14. Elizabeth
    01.01.2014

    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
      01.10.2014

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

  16. Maria from tiana-coconut.com
    03.09.2015

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

  17. Sharon
    07.09.2015

    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
    04.18.2016

    This came out great!

  19. Tiger Lily
    08.14.2016

    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.