Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creamed Spinach (Channeling My Inner Popeye)

My husband loves creamed spinach! I never make it at home because I just can't justify ruining a perfectly good vegetable with unnecessary fat and calories.

Over the weekend, I made an exception as I had bought a huge amount of fresh spinach when I made the Bacon, Egg and Spinach Salad in my last post and I needed a recipe to use up the remainder and keep the husband happy while making him eat spinach twice in three days.

I had read such good reviews of Emeril Lagasse's Creamed Spinach I decided to give it a try.  I channeled my inner Popeye to eliminate at least a little of the fat.

Instead of the heavy cream and whole milk in Emeril's recipe, I substituted fat free half and half and fat free milk.

The extra fat from the heavy cream and whole milk were not missed in the least and it was still wonderfully creamy with the reduced fat roux and the addition of the cheeses. The sauteed shallots and garlic were perfect compliments.  

I hope you give this a try if you like creamed spinach - it's a winner!

The recipe...

Creamed Spinach รก la Lagasse
Adapted from this recipe by Emeril Lagasse.
Printable Recipe

Serves 2-4 depending on how much you love creamed spinach (keeping in mind how much fresh spinach shrinks after cooking)!

2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and stems removed
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup fat free half and half (light cream)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon garlic, thinly sliced and then chopped
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups fat free milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper if you have it, otherwise freshly ground black pepper is just fine
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Jarlsberg (that's what I had one hand) or Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Fill a very large pot 2/3 full with water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking. Squeeze out as much water as possible, either with your hands or place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and twist the ends tightly. Finely chop the spinach and set aside.

In a small saucepan, add the fat free half and half and bring to a low boil. Remove from the heat.

In large, heavy saucepan (large enough to hold the cooked spinach), melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chopped shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft for about 1 minute. Stir in the flour and reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until a very light brown roux forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk in a steady stream, stirring constantly with a whisk, and cook until thick, for about 1 minute. Add the seasonings and simmer on low heat for about 3 minutes. Add the hot cream, whisking constantly, and cook for another 1 minute. Fold in the grated cheeses and mix until smooth. Add the spinach, mix well and heat until completely warmed through.

Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve immediately.


  1. This looks wonderful!! I happen to love spinach any way you can think of and my Dad LOVES it creamed. I'll definitely try this version!
    xoxo Pattie

  2. I've never made creamed spinach at home, and now I can't resist trying it. It's usually spinach salad or nothing. I can almost taste this with a perfectly grilled steak. Heaven.

  3. My oldest daughter loves creamed spinach. I would like to try your version as the one I have to loaded with calories! And if the prettiest Popeye I have ever sen likes it, it has got to be good!

  4. ugh... too many misspelled words in my last comment... I better eat more spinach for mental strength :)

  5. This sounds great! Lovin' your Popeye photo, too cute!

  6. You are one cute looking popeye :)

    Can you believe I have never had creamed spinach...maybe this should be a reason to try it one day :)

  7. I didn't know there was such a thing as fat free half and half! I adore creamed spinach, and this sounds like a fantastic recipe! I like that there are two different types of cheese, and that it calls for nutmeg, which works so well with creamy dishes.

  8. My hubby loves creamed spinach as well, but I seldom make it because of the fat. I love your substitutions- I'll have to make this lighter version for him. Thanks!

  9. Howard loves spinach just about any way I will cook it...will give this a try seeing it looks so good.

  10. Are you strong to the finish cause you eat your spinach?

    You make a very pretty Popeye, LOL! and that creamed spinach looks delicious. We love creamed spinach!

    great post :)

  11. I love that you cut the fat in this! It has been transformed into my kind of side dish!

    So now you'll be pumping iron before we know it, eh? Oh popeye. I wonder if kids these days even know who he is...

  12. Creamed spinach is not something I've tried before, but I should. No doubt in my mind that your recipe will be wonderful, it sounds delicious. I love your special effects with the new face on Popeye :)

  13. A bowl of this would make me "Mother of the Year". Like you I seldom ruin a perfectly healthy vegetable with added fat and calories. With your low fat ideas I think I might make an exception. I have so much spinach growing in my garden, this looks like just the treat I need.

  14. Looks great, but I wonder if you have a typo above.

    You mentioned "fat-free roux". Roux contains fat and flour, as does your recipe, thereby not fat-free. Just thought you'd like to know.

    Great photos!!


  15. This looks wonderful! Love creamed spinach but my hubs is not a big fan =(

  16. Thank you all for your kind comments!

    Thanks for pointing that out Butter Yum. I've changed my post to read 'reduced fat roux'.

  17. My pleasure - looking forward to trying your wonderful spinach!


  18. I totally agree with you regarding the fats in meals. I always try to decrease or even eliminate them in my cooking. This spinach is a keeper. Thanks for sharing!

  19. I love that you "channeled your inner Popeye" :) And that pic is awesome! I agree with you on "ruining" spinach with fat and calories, but I love how you made this not so bad. It looks delicious... And it's still spinach :)


  20. First of all, Popeyette, that photo of you is a hoot! Secondly, I side with your husband. I love creamed spinach! It was the only way that I would accept it from my mother. Any other way she served it, I was sure she was trying to poison me! In later life, I have come to enjoy spinach in many other forms--healthier, yes--as good as creamed, hmmmm!


  21. oh what a fun post and your a great wifey to make this for your hubby

  22. Cute post.....Popeye and all!!!! This recipe sounds wonderful:)


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