Chareva’s Kitchen: Spinach Your Kids Will Eat

The first time we made this spinach dish, the girls snapped up their portions and then were outraged to learn they couldn’t have seconds — it was all gone.  So now we make it with two boxes of spinach.


  • 2 ten-ounce boxes of frozen spinach
  • 4 TB (half a stick) of butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Salt to taste


Microwave the spinach for 10 minutes, then press out most of the liquid.

Put drained spinach in a dish and stir in the butter, then stir in the parmesan so it melts.

Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Adjust the spices to taste.  Sometimes I use a little garlic salt in place of some of the garlic powder, but you can always add salt later.  I also like extra nutmeg now and then.



41 thoughts on “Chareva’s Kitchen: Spinach Your Kids Will Eat

  1. Soul

    I’ve heard rumors of good tasting spinach dishes in the past. My sister in particular claims to have an old family recipe from her husbands family that the nephews love, and I should tolerate.

    That looks delicious. I’d give it a try but am on a milk and beef free trial at the moment and doing decent with the grumpy gut. I better stick with the trend.

  2. Peggy Cihocki

    That looks awesome. Thanks! I love spinach anyway and this looks like a nice creamy way to have it. My kids are grown and gone and cooking their own spinach, so I will pass this recipe on to them. I’m sure they’ll love it, too.

  3. DonkeyTattoo

    Hi Nathan! This looks like an awesome recipe, can’t wait to try it!

    One thing I will mention is that you say garlic powder, but in the photo I see you using garlic salt. In my experience, garlic salt has a milder flavor, where the same amount of garlic powder can quickly be overwhelming. Have you used both, or was the photo one just for show?

    We’ve used both. The garlic salt combined with the parmesan can be too salty for Chareva’s taste.

  4. Tony Dickson

    Last jar of garlic salt I bought had HFCS on the label, if you can believe that. Sugar in garlic salt?

    This dish sounds great, but then again enough garlic and butter can make dang near anything taste good 🙂

    People say kids don’t like vegetables. Add butter and garlic, then check again.

  5. Anne Robertson

    Here’s a handy tip for those of you who like to liven up vegetables such as brussels sprouts. We keep a batch of “beurre maître d’hôtel” (butter with fresh garlic and parsley) in the fridge at all times. We use a 250 g stick of butter, plenty of parsley and around six cloves of garlic well crushed. It’s made brussels sprouts enjoyable for me.

  6. gallier2

    What’s the reason for not using real garlic? It tastes so much better than the powdered thing that I have problem to understand. Is this an American thing?

    As for your recipe, it looks a bit like my mothers spinach (except for the garlic). In fact it’s quite easy to make good veggies (not only spinach), put enough butter and/or cream and instantly you make out of the worst childrens nightmares a deli food they ask for. My children ask regularly for spinach, brussel sprouts (that one I make with mascarpone) and cabbage (I prepare Savoy cabbage a little bit like your spinach recipe). Even the forgotten kohlrabi (German turnip) and rutabagas are quite easy to make good by putting them in a Béchamel sauce (which is easy to make more low-carby by using more cream and less flour ligant.

    This is the version you can whip together five minutes before dinner. Press your own garlic, chop your own spinach and shred your own parmesan, even better.

  7. Kim

    Looks great! Another tasty option: sub artichokes for the second box of spinach. Something green that I can actually get my husband to eat … that’s a winner!

    I like that idea.

  8. LCNana

    Hi Tom. I love your blog and as you are such a great source of information, and you are so knowledgeable, that I hate criticize BUT….I see a whole whack of packages in your picture. Isn’t part of the point to eat whole foods? Chopped fresh spinach, chopped fresh garlic, grated fresh parmesan, etc. would have made a world of difference, no? Am I being too picky?

    I only comment because when DH walks the dog on early Monday mornings (garbage day) he always comments on how you can tell who eats healthy by the number of packages in the trash!! Our composting bin is filled to capacity but our package container is almost empty.

    Sure, fresh whole foods are preferable. But I don’t have a problem with minimally processed foods that happen to end up in a bag or bottle. The ingredients list on the frozen spinach, for example, reads: spinach.

  9. timmah

    Bacon makes everything better: I will dice up 1/4-1/2lb of bacon (depending on how hungry I am), cook with onion and garlic, then add a whole bag of fresh spinach and cook until wilted and finally garnish with almond slivers.

  10. Firebird

    I think people get to hung up on “fresh”. It’s been harvested “fresh”, then frozen, I see no problem with it. My grandmother happened to grow some fresh fruit, picked it, then jarred it. I consider that to be “fresh”, too.

    If you buy a vegetable that’s not in season, it’s been shipped in from a long distance. Not sure how fresh it could be.

  11. Mike

    My wife discovered a neat trick with spinach and now we put it on everything as a topper. Instead of buying the frozen kind which can be soggy, buy fresh spinach and put it into a zip-lock bag and put it into your freezer. After a day or so, take out the bag and just press the bag against your counter a few times and the frozen spinach will break up into small pieces. Whenever you need some, just scoop some out to add to a dish. No more cutting spinach into tiny pieces or dealing with soggy spinach.

    Excellent idea.

  12. LeonRover

    I had forgotten entirely about creamed spinach.

    There is a recipe in my favourite 1971 “Poor Cook” for Spinach Tart – pretty much the same.

    I shall apply the same treatment to Cabbage – sans Tart.

    Thank you, Tom & Chareva.

  13. Nina

    I’ve never really got on with cauliflower rice recipes from the low carb community. After reading your post I steamed some cauli florets, wizzed up some ripe soft cheese with butter and chopped raw onion with seasoning and then added the cauliflower to be blended while hot. Delicious. Many thanks to the girls for inspiration.

    Now you’re talking. Chareva made an excellent roasted cauliflower over the weekend. I’ll get her to write that one up too.

  14. Jess

    @LCNana: I think you might indeed be being too picky, especially where the frozen spinach is concerned. Veggies are frozen at the peak of their freshness, when the nutrients are most dense. Especially in the off season, produce in the ‘fresh’ section spends weeks being transported and stored, and by the time it reaches your table it isn’t anywhere near as healthy as the package in the freezer. Unless you eat only seasonal, locally grown produce (or have the time to freeze and store a whole winters’ worth yourself), frozen is a fantastic alternative.

    Besides, not everyone has the means to buy everything fresh and local. This lifestyle is about making the best choices within your means, and for most people, that means reaching for the can of parmesan instead of the mac and cheese box, or grabbing the tub of full-fat sour cream instead of the ‘light’ version. As long as the ingredient list is short and easy to read, you’re still miles ahead of the way most people eat.

  15. Ron

    I am envious of and mystified by those who can enjoy spinach and other green veggies. I literally gag when I try to eat them, no matter how they are prepared (all I can taste is the bitterness). I hope it’s not as important to eat them as everyone says it is.

    If they make you gag, don’t eat them.

  16. Marilyn

    @LCNana: “Chopped fresh spinach. . .”

    Chopped fresh spinach, if it’s straight from one’s garden, would be better than the frozen spinach. Otherwise, from what I’ve read, frozen produce is often fresher and nutritionally more valuable than the “fresh produce” in the grocery store.

    I hope we’re pulling fresh vegetables out of our garden next year, but for now I’m fine with frozen greens.

  17. Chareva

    I would also like to add that the total cost to make this side dish was under $3. Many people are on a tight budget. I’m always looking for simple meals that are nourishing AND affordable … not to mention fast and easy.

    If you weren’t fast and easy, we never would’ve gotten married.

    (No, wait, that’s not how it was ….)

  18. Underground

    Very nice. That looks like a good host for some crushed pork rind garnish.

    Or as a dip for other veggies like broccoli or tomatoes.

    It would make a decent dip, now that you mention it.

  19. Amy Dungan

    I will personally vouch that this recipe is amazing. It’s the only way my hubby and kids will eat spinach as a side dish. Thanks again Tom!

    If I remember correctly, you told me later you’d never seen your son take seconds on spinach before.

  20. Monica

    Make this a little on the saucy side and toss with spaghetti squash. Add diced cooked chicken and a some bacon. Pour into a buttered casserole dish and top with a bit more cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and bubbly. This can be assembled ahead and refrigerated until needed. It’s an easy baked “pasta” dish with none of the bad stuff.

  21. Angel

    Hey Ron – there’s nothing to be envious about – some people are just a lot more sensitive to the bitter compounds in veggies than others. I think most veggies taste bitter too. I go weeks on end without touching any, and I’m doing just fine. Eat some liver a few times a month, and nutritionally you’ll be doing just as well, if not better, than the people eating loads of rabbit food. 🙂

    Having said that … I’ve heard that home grown veggies raised in rich soil without artificial chemicals usually aren’t as bitter as store-bought conventionally produced ones (fresh or canned). My personal experience with that has been mixed, but it’s something to consider if you are trying to develop a taste for veggies.

  22. Galina L.

    Another piece of food related news – Paula Dean comments on having been diagnosed with D2 a while ago. She told it was not her diet to blame because she eats everything in moderation. The media sources mentioned that there were a lot of cheese and butter in her unhealthy cooking (nobody noticed any sugar and flower, probably because it is as natural in the food as air).

    In our neighborhood it is normal to knock into your neighbor’s door if you suddenly run out of salt, for example. If I run out of fresh garlic, I am in trouble – NO ONE ever has it, even the lady who buys everything organic and natural, has just a little jar of organic chopped garlic. I use natural garlic mostly because it is how I cook, and I think if the recipe requires a dried garlic – so be it. It has a particular flavor, different from the fresh or cooked one. I keep both types in my pantry in use both but not interchangeably.

    When I saw that news, I checked her recipe site. Yes, lots of butter and cheese … also lots of sugar and flour.

  23. Nickie

    That looks so good! I will try it when the kids get off their GF/CF diet.

    My version is simple: Spinach + a brick of cream cheese+ onion salt. Yours looks super yummy.

  24. Marilyn

    Yes, Chareva. There’s the financial consideration for many. There’s also the reality that any possible tiny extension of one’s life due to any possible tiny improvement in food quality could well be offset by additional time in preparing the food, additional time needed to work to make the extra money to buy the better quality food. . . well, you get the picture. 🙂

  25. Amy Dungan

    It was acutally John that had never asked for seconds. He just doesn’t like the stuff, but he’s always happy when I make this. Rachel loves it, which is also unusual. It used to just be Matt and I that like spinach.

    Tell John if he ends up as strong as Popeye, he owes me one.

  26. Sol y Sombra

    I am beginning to suspect you have a Bulgarian heritage – we have an almost identical recipe in Bulgarian cuisine, only we use feta cheese instead of parmesan and no cream. But those are certainly good ideas. And yes, this was a great way to trick us kids into eating spinach.

    One more thing – we didn’t have microwave ovens when I was a kid, so my mom always boiled the spinach first (and it was always fresh, never frozen, ah, those were the days), then she put it into a baking pan with the cheese and butter, baked it until almost ready and then cracked eggs on top and put red pepper and baked it a little more until the eggs were done. I still enjoy this dish, I have reintroduced it into my menu now, since it is fully primal.

    And I’d like to take the opportunity and thank you for your movie and for the wonderful information you post on your blog. Thanks, Tom!

    That sounds delicious.

  27. Sarah

    I’m trying this tonight, with fresh garlic because that’s what I have on hand. And I pinned it to Pinterest to spread the love.

    And can I just say I love how you all dress up for dinner. I will have to hunt down a tiara or two for my daughter and me and get my husband to put on a tie! 😀

    The girls do enjoy a good round of dress-up.

  28. Mie

    So you got your kids to eat spinach – by adding plenty of butter and cream and cheese into it. Eh … you do realize that most people would eat bark, shoe soles or sponge if prepared with butter, cream and cheese, right? 🙂

    I don’t recommend the shoe soles. They’re too chewy.

  29. Kim C.

    Okay, made this two nights in a row and it was delicious. Thanks for posting the actual recipe. I had heard you talk about it on the Carbohydrates Can Kill podcast, but wasn’t sure of the ratios, so I just held off trying it.

    It was a big hit with my husband, but my 2 year old son wouldn’t even try it, as he is suspicious of all things green (except for baked kale chips – which make use of coconut oil/bacon grease and cheese). He only ate those after watching a friend’s toddler eat them. Gotta love peer pressure! I’m going to have to bring my friend’s kiddo over to eat this now, so my son will give it a try.

    Thanks again for the recipe, the movie, the blog, and the general awesomeness that you share with all of us!

    If someone comes up with red spinach, you’re in business.

  30. Diana

    I made this tonight and was skeptical as to whether we would like it, but it was a BIG hit. I didn’t even have fresh Parmesan!

    And they say kids don’t like vegetables. Sure they do, if you add the tasty fats.

  31. Emmalydia

    Just made this tonight! SOOOOO GOOD! I have never liked spinach because i always thought it looked like seaweed but even seaweed would taste good with butter and garlic! Yummy =) (to this recipe not seaweed lol)

  32. Lisa

    Thank you for posting this. I struggle to find easy to make dishes for a lowcarb diet, especially side dishes. I made this and it was easy and delicious. I’ve purchased a couple of paleo cookbooks but the dishes are always too complicated for me to make. I am a very simple cook and need simple dishes.

  33. Trish B

    I’ve made this for several years now. Best way *ever* to eat spinach, I want to thank you for the recipe. We make a double batch and if there ever are any leftovers they are jealously guarded for someone’s lunch the next day.

    I’ve brought it to holiday gatherings, it gets plowed through (and is a nice alternative to the ubiquitous green bean casserole). A little shredded parmesan melted on top makes a nice presentation, and it reheats well, so you can make it ahead.


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