Creamed spinach gets a healthy makeover. Less fat. Fewer calories. More flavor.
When I think of creamed spinach, my mind wanders back to the 1950s and 60s. I’m not sure why, but creamed spinach has a certain, shall I say, retro feel about it. It’s also loaded—and we mean loaded—with more saturated fat and calories than a nutrient-rich vegetable like spinach deserves! A few weeks ago, Facebook fan, Cindi, sent me her family’s favorite creamed spinach recipe and asked me to give it a makeover, so I did what I usually do and got cooking.
Cindi’s recipe, made with half & half, full-fat cream cheese, and lots of butter, needed a slim down (and a bit of a flavor boost). To that end, I created a cream-less base for the spinach using 1% low-fat milk, a roux made with olive oil versus butter, and a bit of light cream cheese. For added flavor, I turned to sauteed onion, nutmeg, and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Serves: 6 to 8
- Serving size: ⅓ cup
- Calories: 150
- Fat: 9g
- Saturated fat: 2.5g
- Carbohydrates: 11g
- Sodium: 300mg
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 7g
- Two 10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups 1% low-fat milk
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- A few generous pinches ground nutmeg (use fresh if you have it)
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup light cream cheese
- Cook the spinach according to package directions. Once cooked, drain in a colander, and press with the back of a large spoon to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture is smooth and golden, about 2 minutes.
- Whisk the milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg slowly into the flour mixture. Raise the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer and stir gently until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the Parmesan cheese and cream cheese until the cream cheese melts. Stir in the cooked spinach, and season with additional salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Place over low heat and reheat if necessary.
For comparison sake, Cindi’s creamed spinach is a lot higher in the numbers: 210 calories, 17 grams fat, and 10 grams saturated fat (that’s about half a day’s worth).
My healthy “creamed” spinach recipe is a keeper for sure. Perfect for the holidays … or any time of the year as far as we’re concerned.
Tell me about your most delicious food adventure this holiday season. And if you try my Crazy-Good Cream-less Creamed Spinach, let us know what you and your family think of it.
For other healthful recipe makeovers, check out: