Creamed spinach is a classic holiday side dish, and this healthy recipe has all the flavor you love without all of the cheese and heavy cream found in traditional recipes.
This recipe comes from Celebrations, by Danielle Walker. This beautiful cookbook is loaded with gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo recipes to help those with special dietary needs celebrate special occasions year-round.
The book includes menus and recipes for special occasions like New Years Eve, Game Day, Birthday, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Danielle’s recipes are always crowd-pleasing, and I think everyone will enjoy the cocktails, birthday cakes, main entree ideas (if you eat meat), appetizers, and dairy-free salads included in the book.
This dairy-free creamed spinach tastes remarkably like the “real thing, ” but instead of using cream cheese or milk, this version is tossed in a creamy garlic cashew sauce. It’s naturally vegan and paleo friendly, and comes together in just minutes!
The original recipe calls for 3 pounds of spinach, which is a SHOCKING amount of spinach when you buy it fresh. If you don’t have a large stock pot for boiling that amount of spinach (or enough fridge space), I’m happy to report that I also tried using frozen spinach with this recipe, and it worked well!
(See my notes below the recipe for details.)
I hope you’ll enjoy this Vegan & Paleo friendly creamed spinach at your next holiday meal!
Vegan Creamed Spinach
- 1 cup whole cashews (about 150g)
- 3 pounds spinach , stems trimmed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion , minced
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Soak for 1 hour.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the spinach. Cook until bright green and wilted, about 2 minutes. (If using frozen spinach, it might take a few more minutes to thaw.) Pour the spinach into a colander and apply pressure to the top to remove all of the liquid. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and coarsely chop it. If there’s still a lot of liquid coming out, place a towel over the top and apply pressure to soak up any remaining water.
- Heat the olive oil in the same pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, drain the cashews and add them to a blender with the water, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and nutmeg. Blend on high for about 1 minute, until very smooth.
- Stir the cashew cream into the spinach mixture, then remove from the heat. Serve immediately.
Make It Ahead
- This dish can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Return the mixture to a skillet over medium-low heat and stir until heated through.
Per serving: Calories: 131, Carbohydrates: 9, Fiber: 3, Protein: 6, Fat: 9
This recipe is reprinted with permission from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion by Danielle Walker, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
- If you’d prefer to use frozen spinach, I’ve successfully used 3 (10-ounce) boxes of frozen spinach to replace the fresh spinach this recipe calls for. I think you could maybe even use 4 boxes with this amount of cream sauce, if you’d like to stretch the recipe to feed more people.
- Feel free to swap spinach for another leafy green, such as kale. I think the cashew cream sauce would go well over a variety of cooked veggies.
- For a nut-free cream sauce, try my Cauliflower Cheese Sauce or sauce from my Sweet Potato Mac n’ Cheese.
As always, if you make any modifications to this recipe, please leave a comment below letting us know what worked for you. We can all benefit from your experience!
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite side dish at a holiday dinner?
Disclosure: I bought this book myself, but thanks to Danielle for letting me share the recipe with you all!