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What goes with spinach? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.
Knowing what goes well with spinach gives you a starting point for putting meals together using the ingredients you already have on hand.
This helps inspire you to create something new or add your own spin by using something outside of these common flavor pairings. Learning to cook this way builds kitchen confidence.
First things first.
What Is Spinach?
Spinach is a leafy green plant in the Amaranth family along with beetroot and chard. There are three main types of spinach:
Characteristics: smooth, spade-shaped leaves that are tender and slightly sweet in flavor.
Flat-leaf spinach is the most popular spinach in the United States and is what you'll find at supermarkets either loose or in a pre-washed package. Its flavor is best when eaten raw. Baby spinach is simply just flat-leaf spinach that's been picked in the early stages of growth so the leaves are small, tender, and sweet.
Characteristics: crinkly dark green leaves with a crisp texture.
Savoy spinach has a slightly bitter flavor which is why it's better for cooking than eating raw. It's sold in fresh bunches in the refrigerated vegetable section at the grocery store.
Characteristics: similar to savoy but not as crinkled in texture.
Semi-savoy spinach has semi-crinkly leaves (which makes them easier to clean than savoy) but has the same crisp texture. Like savoy, they're also sold in bunches in the refrigerated section and have the best flavor when cooked.
When to Buy
Spinach is in season year-round. Peep the seasonal produce guide to see what else is in season right now.
What to Look For
Look for fresh spinach leaves that have a dark green color and crisp texture. Avoid any bunches or containers with wilted, yellow-spotted, or slimy leaves.
Store fresh spinach in a container in the refrigerator or in the crisper drawer for 5-7 days.
How to Prepare
Spinach can be boiled, sautéd, steamed, stir-fried, or eaten raw. Although it can be blanched, it tends to lose most of its flavor in the water.
Make sure to wash spinach well. Even if it says that it's been triple-washed, it sometimes still has dirt that got left behind. Run it through a salad spinner to remove any extra sandiness.
What Goes With Spinach?
Chard, collard greens, fennel, garlic, ginger, mushrooms (esp shiitake), onions (esp sweet), potatoes, scallions, shallots, and sorrel.
Apples, lemon, quince, and tomatoes.
Cayenne, cumin, curry, mustard seeds, nutmeg, paprika (esp sweet), pepper (black & white), red pepper flakes, saffron, and salt (kosher, sea).
Basil, chives, dill, lovage, marjoram, mint, parsley, and thyme.
Nuts & Seeds
Almonds, pecans, pine nuts, sesame seeds, and walnuts.
Anchovies, bacon, chicken (esp grilled), crab, eggs (esp hard-boiled), fish, lamb (esp grilled), pancetta, prosciutto, shrimp, smoked salmon, and tuna.
Chickpeas, dijon mustard, lentils, olive oil, pasta, raisins, soy sauce, stock, sugar (pinch), tabasco sauce, and vinegar: balsamic, apple cider, red wine, rice wine, sherry.
Popular Spinach Pairings
- bacon + garlic + onions + apple cider vinegar
- bacon + walnuts
- cumin + garlic + lemon + yogurt
- fennel + parmesan cheese + portobello mushrooms + balsamic vinegar
- feta + lemon juice + oregano
- garlic + mushrooms
What to Make With Spinach
Spinach is a common ingredient in French, Indian, Italian, and Japanese cuisines.
It's often used to bulk up smoothies and pesto, which in part is due to its neutral taste. If you love this leafy green, try adding it to a savory galette, risotto, or healthy breakfast hash. Or try these recipes: butternut squash lasagna, dairy-free spinach artichoke dip, or dairy-free frittata.