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!
Questions and Reviews
Thanks for sharing this healthy Creamed Spinach recipe. I will surely try it.
This tastes just like the creamed spinach of my childhood. Thanks so much! I used some of the filling to make vegan spanakopita triangles with my air fryer and they were wonderful.
Over Christmas, The Norwegian side of the family makes lefse (its like a potato pancake). And my husband is from Jamaica and makes ackee and salt fish (you NEED to try it. It is actually amaaazingly good). And ox tail and Jamaican rum cake.
Christmas Eve is all random houerderves (I like egg rolls) and a cheese plate… sips of wine etc. Nanaimo bars and butter tarts (the ones without the gross raisins) are a Canadian Christmas staple.
Made this withe dinner tonight and it turned out great. I used frozen spinach.
They just taste amazing, please try them. And it’s so easy to make them. I did them with baby spinach I don’t now if the flavor change much with regular spinach.
I was seriously surprised how delicious this was, even tastier than full dairy creamed spinach I’ve had. I added some margarine to the pan with a generous amount of garlic and onions. Didn’t have any nutmeg on hand so I used Lemon Pepper and some Truffle Salt I had in the pantry. This was AMAZING. I would definitely recommend this to everyone regardless of if they eat dairy or not. Thank you for sharing!
Creamed spinach was a favorite food of mine as a kid and since discovering I was lactose intolerant, I haven’t eaten it. This was such a delight!
I make this recipe often. I 1 1/2 the cashew cream sauce recipe and toss it with gluten free pasta, so yummy.
you should change the name of the author on this recipe to reflect that it belongs to danielle
Thanks so much for this! I took this in a slightly different direction by adding the blanched spinach to the soaked cashews, blending them together in a Vitamix, then pouring the super-green goodness over pasta, and it was incredible. Will be making this again!
Oh my gosh, that sounds delicious, too!! Thanks for sharing!
This is definitely a five-star winner. I did make two minor modifications, the first being that I simply wilted the spinach with the onions and garlic rather than water bathing them first.
The second was to add one tablespoon of nutritional yeast for a spark of parmesan-like flavor.
An excellent recipe. Thank you!
Wow this is sooo good!! I just made it & instead of adding nutmeg I added smoked paprika. Going to use it as a stuffing in Spinach enchiladas. Hard not to eat it right now!
That sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing, and I’m glad you like it!
Thank you for this delicious recipe!!! I was blown away and even my kids couldn’t get enough of it! Definitely will be making this regularly.
This was delicious and easy! I added 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast. Will make this again!
I made this recipe for Thanksgiving and my parents (who both love dairy) went back for seconds on this one. This recipe was so simple, yet so flavorful and delicious. I am making it again for Christmas, thank you so much for creating the recipe!
Danielle knocked this one out of the park! I didn’t have nutritional yeast on hand and so was searching for an alternative vegan recipe and this one was perfect! The dash of nutmeg must have had something to do with that! Thanks for sharing!
UM WOW!!! This is AMAZING – you don’t even miss the cheese!!!
Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
This was delicious!
Oh la la, these are KILLER! I used collards instead of spinach, and added some nutritional yeast to the cream sauce, but otherwise made the recipe according to the directions. A pinch of baking soda helped the collards soften in the boiling process. We ate it with venison steaks and grill-roasted sweet potatoes. What a treat. Thanks for this keeper recipe!
This was a big hit at Thanksgiving, thanks! What is considered a serving..1/2 cup? Trying to watch calories.
Very worthwhile, didn’t soak the cashews as long as was recommended and it still turned out quite yummy. My partner has to eat more green leafy and he was quite happy if more of his attempts at eating more turn out this good. Will try some of the ideas mentioned below as alternatives.
What is a serving size?
Would these be raw cashews in the recipe? That’s my guess but would like to be sure. Thanks
I do prefer to use raw cashews or un-roasted cashews. (The label doesn’t always say raw, but it will say not roasted or salted.)
Could I do a gluten-free panko topping for this before baking for that crunch and chew factor?
Wow omgosh this is delicious!!! Super easy and over the top yummy. Thank you so much for this recipe. Game changer.