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This Healthy Creamed Spinach is a lightened-up version of a holiday classic! It’s just as rich and flavorful as traditional creamed spinach, but keto-friendly, low-carb, and packed with veggies!
Healthier Creamed Spinach Recipe
I used to love traditional creamed spinach. I grew up getting it from this local chicken shop in New York and it was a holiday staple at family get-togethers! It tasted delicious but I knew it was loaded with junk. So, I set out on a mission to create a creamed spinach recipe that tasted just as good as the real thing, but that was made up of better-for-you ingredients!
Well, I’m sure you’ll be excited to know that I’ve done it. This healthy creamed spinach recipe is packed with greens and made with healthier ingredients like cashew milk and arrowroot flour instead of heavy cream, sour cream, and regular flour.
It’s rich, perfectly creamy, so flavorful, AND it’s good for you! Such a win! I love serving it with our Thanksgiving Turkey, or on any old weeknight with Spatchcock Chicken, Seared Steak, or Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets!
- Butter: I love the quality and flavor of good grass-fed butter but you can also use extra-virgin olive oil or ghee for dairy-free.
- Onion and Garlic: minced and sautéed in butter to create an aromatic flavor base for the creamy sauce.
- Seasonings: I use a simple blend of onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, and paprika to season the creamed spinach and give it a kick of heat. If you don’t like spice, simply omit the paprika!
- Cashew Milk: I used Pacific Foods Original Unsweetened Cashew Beverage but any dairy-free milk will work.
- Arrowroot Flour: helps thicken the sauce. You can use regular flour if preferred but it’s a less powerful thickener so you might need to add more than the amount listed.
- Greens: you can use just spinach or a blend of spinach and kale.
- Parmesan Cheese: melted into the sauce for a creamier texture AND used as a topping for a melty, golden-brown finish. Omit for fully dairy-free.
How to Make Creamed Spinach
This healthy holiday side dish takes just 5 minutes to prep!
- Make the cream sauce: In a saucepan, cook onion and garlic in butter. Add seasonings, flour, and cashew milk, then bring to a boil. Simmer until thickened and add in cheese, whisking until melted.
- Add the greens: In batches, add in spinach (and kale, if using) until the greens start to wilt.
- Bake: Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×9 baking dish, top with additional parmesan, and bake until bubbly and golden-brown.
Watch The Video:
Can You Use Frozen Spinach?
You can use frozen spinach, but I prefer the texture of fresh spinach. It’s a little more firm than frozen and holds up nicely in the cream sauce.
If you do decide to use frozen spinach, make sure you thaw it and squeeze out as much moisture as possible before incorporating it into the sauce.
How Do You Thicken Creamed Spinach?
Creamed spinach is thickened in a couple of different ways:
- Flour: traditionally, all-purpose flour is used to thicken the cream sauce. In this recipe, though, we’re using arrowroot flour to keep it gluten-free.
- Simmering: the cream sauce will also thicken as it simmers.
After the flour is added and you’ve simmered the sauce, it should be thick enough that it can coat the back of a spoon before you add the spinach. If it is still too thin, I recommend simmering lonoger first, then adding more flour, very little bits at a time, if needed.
Is Creamed Spinach Nutritious?
Normally creamed spinach wouldn’t be classified as a particularly healthy side dish. But this recipe definitely is! Traditional creamed spinach is loaded up with heavy ingredients like heavy cream and sour cream. This healthy creamed spinach recipe is made using cashew milk for a lightened up version that’s just as delicious!
Creamed Spinach Pro Tips
- Use fresh spinach. The texture is less soggy than frozen spinach.
- Use unsweetened milk. Make sure you use an unsweetened version of whatever non-dairy milk you go with. You want a more neutral flavor that creates a creamy texture. Not a sweet one.
- If you’re using kale, de-stem and chop it into smaller pieces. The stems are really tough which does not work well in the creamy dish.
- You can make this recipe whole30 compliant by using ghee or extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter and omitting the cheese.
How to Store
Leftover creamed spinach will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To enjoy again, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen, then warm on the stove or in the microwave until heated through.
If You Like This Side Dish, Try These Other Easy Holiday Sides:
- Cranberry Relish
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Gluten-Free Stuffing
- Roasted Veggies
- Cranberry Walnut Roasted Acorn Squash
- Green Bean Casserole
- Spinach Dip Stuffed Mushrooms
Healthy Creamed Spinach (Made Without Cream!)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper more to taste
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup Unsweetened Cashew Milk see notes for alternatives
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot flour
- 2 5- ounce packages of organic spinach
- Optional: 1 cup kale de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup parmesan cheese divided in half (can omit for dairy-free)
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9x9 baking dish with butter or oil of choice and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent about 5 minutes.
- Add spices and cook for one minute until fragrant.
- Add arrowroot flour and stir for one minute until well combined.
- Pour in cashew milk. Mix well. Bring sauce to a boil. Once at a boil, lower heat and let simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Add in 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (if using) and whisk until cheese has melted, about 30 seconds. Make sure the mixture has thickened a good amount before adding spinach.
- In batches, add spinach (and kale if using) to the sauce until the greens start to wilt. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Take off heat.
- Pour spinach/kale mixture into a greased 9x9 casserole dish and top with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese on the top is a golden brown.
- Serve warm!
- Can use dairy-free milk of choice but I do love cashew milk for it's creaminess!
- Can omit kale and use all spinach like I did in the video!
- Make this whole30 compliant: Use ghee or extra-virgin olive oil instead of the butter and omit the cheese.
This post was originally sponsored by Pacific Foods in 2017. All thoughts and opinions are always 100% my own! Thank you for continuing to support LCK and the brands I work with!