This Vegan Creamed Spinach is made with simple wholesome ingredients and tastes like a regular Creamed Spinach recipe with dairy. As a bonus, it’s also gluten-free and takes only a few minutes to prepare! It’s great for a simple dinner or festive table. Even my non-vegan friends love it and don’t notice the difference. So I encourage you to give it a try, it definitely worth it. So if you love Creamed Spinach, here is a more healthy dairy-free variation of the traditional recipe.
What Makes it Creamy
The creamy texture in this vegan creamed spinach recipe is achieved through the use of cashews. Cashews are soaked and blended with water to create a smooth and velvety cashew cream sauce. The softened cashews lend their natural creaminess, allowing this recipe to offer a satisfying and creamy texture without the need for dairy products. When combined with the wilted spinach and cooked briefly, the cashew cream thickens slightly, resulting in a rich and creamy consistency. The combination of flavors and textures in this Vegan Creamed Spinach recipe makes it a delicious and guilt-free option for those seeking a plant-based alternative.
- Spinach. The main ingredient is spinach, of course. You can use fresh or frozen spinach. I like a whole-leaf kind, but you can definitely use the chopped one. For frozen spinach, I would recommend thawing first and then squeezing the excessive liquid. If you are in a rush, just dump it into a pan when the onion is ready and stir from time to time. When it’s completely defrosted, let the liquid evaporate, it will take a few minutes.
- Cashews. For the creamy part, I use cashews. I soak them in hot water for 15 min, while preparing the onion and spinach, so it doesn’t add up any time to the cooking process.
- Water to make the cashew cream.
- Onion and Garlic. We will need an onion, chopped and caramelized in a pan with some garlic. It gives great flavor to the dish.
- Vegan Butter or Olive Oil for caramelizing the onions and garlic.
- Lemon Juice adds a bright and tangy flavor to this recipe and helps to balance out the creaminess of the cashew sauce.
- Seasonings. For a richer taste, this recipe uses Italian seasoning, ground nutmeg, and salt.
And that’s it! With just a few ingredients, you can create this amazing dish.
- Soak the cashews: Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Allow them to soak for 15-20 minutes until they soften. This step helps in achieving a creamy consistency for the sauce.
- Sauté the onion and garlic: Heat vegan butter or olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes until they become fragrant and slightly translucent.
- Add the spinach: Add the spinach to the pan along with a pinch of sea salt. If all the spinach doesn’t fit at once, add a portion and wait for it to wilt before adding the rest. Sauté the spinach until it wilts down, stirring occasionally. This should take approximately 5-7 minutes.
- Prepare the cashew cream sauce: Drain the soaked cashews and transfer them to a blender. Add water, lemon juice, sea salt, and ground nutmeg. Blend on high speed for about 1 minute or until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.
- Combine the sauce with the spinach: Pour the cashew cream sauce into the pan with the wilted spinach. Stir well to combine, ensuring the sauce coats the spinach evenly. Cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve and enjoy!
Tips for Success
The recipe is super easy and quick. Be sure to follow these tips to achieve the best results:
- Soak cashews for creaminess: Soaking cashews helps to achieve a silky and creamy texture in the sauce. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with boiling water for 15-20 minutes. This softens the cashews and makes them easier to blend. Alternatively, you can soak them in room-temperature water for about 4 hours.
- Elevate the flavor with herbs and spices: The addition of Italian Seasoning brings a delightful blend of herbs to the creamed spinach. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with other herb combinations that you enjoy. Fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, or marjoram can add their unique flavors to the dish. Feel free to customize the seasonings to suit your taste preferences.
- Don’t skip the nutmeg: Nutmeg may seem like a small ingredient, but it adds a subtle warmth and depth of flavor to the creamed spinach. Grate or grind fresh nutmeg for the best taste. The nutmeg complements the creamy sauce and enhances the overall taste profile.
- Adjust the sauce consistency: The cashew cream sauce will thicken as it cooks with the spinach. If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can add a little water or vegetable broth to achieve the desired thickness. Likewise, if you want a thicker sauce, allow it to cook a bit longer, stirring occasionally until it reaches the desired consistency.
To customize this recipe, you can experiment with different seasonings or add-ins to create a unique flavor profile. For example, you could try adding some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, or some smoked paprika for a smoky taste. You could also add some diced mushrooms or roasted red peppers for extra texture and flavor. The possibilities are endless!
This recipe is very versatile and can be adapted to suit your taste preferences or dietary needs.
Storage and Make-Ahead Instructions
- How to Store. Creamed spinach can last in the fridge for up to 4 days when stored properly in an airtight container. It’s important to let the creamed spinach cool down to room temperature before placing it in the fridge to avoid condensation inside the container. Reheat it in a pan on the stove over medium-low heat until it’s hot or in the microwave. You may need to add a splash of water or vegetable broth to adjust the consistency.
- Make-Ahead Preparation. To make the dish in advance, follow the recipe until the step of combining the sauce with the spinach. Allow the spinach to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container. Store the cashew cream sauce and cooked spinach separately in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to serve, reheat the creamed spinach on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through. Once heated, stir in the cashew cream sauce and cook until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the seasonings and serve immediately. By preparing the dish ahead of time, you can save time, making it more convenient for busy schedules or special occasions.
More Vegan Side Dish Recipes
Check out these healthy and delicious vegan recipes for appetizers and side dishes:
This Vegan Creamed Spinach makes an amazing side dish for your special occasion dinner. But it will make a great meal by itself or with some mashed potatoes too. You can keep the leftovers in the fridge and reheat them in a pan or a microwave. You can even make it in advance to reheat and serve when the guests arrive.
- 2 tbsp vegan butter (or olive oil)
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ pounds (680 g) spinach
- ½ tsp Italian Seasoning
- ¾ cup (112 g) cashews, unroasted
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Soak for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat butter or oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the spinach, and a pinch of sea salt, and sauté until the spinach is wilted. If you can't fit all your spinach at once, wait until it starts to wilt and add the rest then. Add Italian Seasoning.
- Drain the cashews and add them to a blender with water, lemon juice, salt, and nutmeg. Blend on high speed for about 1 minute until very smooth consistency.
- Stir the cashew cream into the spinach mixture, and cook until the sauce thickens, it will only take a moment. Serve immediately.