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Basic Saute Spinach Recipe

A good start on a fantastic dish.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Total Time11 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • pounds fresh spinach cleaned & dried
  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil Extra virgin for finishing


  • Prep all the ingredients.
  • Heat a large saute or fry pan (one that is big enough to hold all the spinach). You can also use a large soup pot or Dutch oven if necessary.
  • When the pan is hot, add the garlic and saute until lightly browned and be careful not to let it burn. If it does, toss it and start all over.
    There's nothing worse than the taste of burnt garlic in anything you cook.
  • Add the cleaned spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Most recipes will tell you to toss the spinach with the garlic and oil but I'm going to tell you that's almost impossible. There is so much spinach in the pan if you do try to stir it, spinach is going everywhere.
  • Most recipes are also going to tell you to cover the pan and I'm also going to tell you the same. Maybe in a large pot or Dutch oven this will work, but not in a saute pan.
    Sometimes I put an extra large cover from one of my stock pots on top and wait for the spinach to cook down.
    Other times I don't add any cover and the spinach still cooks down. Just takes a little longer. You can always let it cook down some and then add the cover but remember, it only takes 2 - 3 minutes to cook down completely before you want to uncover the pan and finish cooking for an additional minute or two.
  • When the spinach cooks down enough so you can stir with a wooden spoon, be sure to stay with it, keep an eye on it and give it a stir now and then or risk the chance of the spinach burning to the pan.
  • When cooked to your satisfaction, transfer the cooked spinach to a serving bowl and finish with a little of your best grade extra olive finishing oil.
    Don't drown it, just enough to give it a little extra flavor.
  • Stir, taste and adjust seasoning with a little salt & pepper.


I think a squeeze of lemon takes sauteed spinach to another flavor planet but not everyone does, especially my two daughters. So instead of squeezing the fresh juice from half of lemon over top, I quarter it and serve them on each plate.
This way the person eating the spinach can decide plus it gives the plate some extra color.