Monday, April 8, 2013
Fast, Low-Fat Vegan Creamed Spinach
Sometimes you just want comfort food—something warm and rich and delicious that tastes like being hugged feels.
For me, however, that craving usually comes when I have the least time to cook.
Case in point: Last week, I was surfing through the freezer for something—anything!—to make for dinner, and spied a bag of plain spinach. Now, back in my (ahem) less healthy days, pre-fab creamed spinach was a weeknight staple in my freezer. Sure, I knew it was loaded with fat and fillers, but it sure was fast—and tasty. Needless to say, since transitioning to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, said spinach hasn't exactly been part of my repertoire.
Staring into that freezer, though, I was suddenly overcome with a visceral longing for old-school creamed spinach. (Please tell me I'm not alone in this.)
So, right then and there, I vowed to create a low-fat vegan creamed spinach every bit as good as the spinach of yore, but that loved me back as much as I loved it. A recipe that I could throw together on a busy weeknight and still have time to do the dishes.
Well, a week and four pounds of spinach later, I've finally come up with a recipe that's a keeper.
It's got everything I could want from creamed spinach, from the velvety texture to the hint of nutmeg. Better yet, it's busting its buttons with awesome nutrition: A single serving packs 6 grams of protein, 20% of your daily fiber, 232% of your daily vitamin A, and whopping 642% of your daily vitamin K. Heck, it's even got omega-3 fats. (Did I mention I love vegetables?)
Best of all, it's weeknight fast, coming together in 20 minutes.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Fast, Low-Fat Vegan Creamed Spinach (Gluten-Free, Soy-Free)
This spinach is delicious with baked sweet potatoes or veggie burgers and is a snap to make. Just be sure to measure out the spices and flavorings first, because the sauce cooks in no time!
Prep time: 20 minutes Serves: 4
1 Tbsp cornstarch + 1 Tbsp water
1 lb fresh spinach* (you can also use 1 lb frozen spinach—see note)
1 c unsweetened almond milk
1½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp almond butter (optional)
pinch of salt (optional)
Mix cornstarch and water with a fork until uniformly combined. Set aside.
Line the bottom of a large pot with water, bring to a boil, and add spinach. Reduce heat to medium and steam-sauté, stirring frequently, until spinach is wilted. (Add small splashes of water if needed to prevent sticking.) Remove from heat and drain spinach in a colander, pressing to remove excess water.
In a small pot, wisk together almond milk, onion powder, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Wisking continuously, add cornstarch/water mixture in a thin stream; sauce should begin thickening immediately. Reduce heat and simmer sauce for 1–2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Wisk in nutritional yeast, nutmeg, black pepper, and almond butter (if using).
Gently stir in spinach and serve with freshly ground black pepper. Bon appetit!
*Note: If using frozen spinach, prepare according to package directions. (I like to microwave mine in a glass storage container, so I can pop leftovers right back in—one less dish to wash!) You'll also want to add a little more salt to the sauce, since more water is typically used to prepare frozen spinach, which washes out more of its natural salt.
Click here for printer-friendly recipe.
Nutrition Info (¼ of recipe, including almond butter and salt): 75 calories, 22 calories from fat, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 168mg sodium, 386mg potassium, 10g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 1g sugar, 6g protein