As a kid, my mother was always trying to find creative ways to get me to eat my vegetables. For as long as I can remember, the way she found success was by introducing a handful of vegetable-forward side dishes that also included some of my favorite ingredients, like cheese.
Fast forward to the present day, and I still drool over the idea of a delicious broccoli and cheese casserole or some garlicky oven-roasted Brussels sprouts. Whether I spend Thanksgiving with my family or not, those side dishes have become a necessity every year, otherwise the holiday just doesn’t hit the same.
No matter what you plan on making for dinner on Thanksgiving day, a good meal is nothing without a few stand-alone side dishes to help round out the table. And if anyone knows a thing or two about making a quality side dish, it's the Queen of the Domestic Arts herself, Martha Stewart.
When we recently chatted with Martha about her collab with Pure Leaf tea, she dropped a hot tip on the vegetable side front. “My traditional easy creamed spinach is last on the Thanksgiving table and first to go,” Stewart said. “The secret is in my homemade cream cheese sauce!” That was all the encouragement I needed to head to the kitchen and give the recipe a try.
Get the recipe: Martha Stewart's Easy Creamed Spinach
Ingredients for Martha Stewart’s Easy Creamed Spinach
In my humble opinion, the key to an excellent recipe lies in a small ingredient count, and this recipe definitely delivers on that front. You'll need about 2 ½ pounds of trimmed and cleaned flat-leaf spinach, or 3 to 4 bunches. In addition, you’ll also want to grab some butter, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, and some cream cheese, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
How to Make Martha Stewart’s Easy Creamed Spinach
To start, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the trimmed spinach and cook only until the leaves wilt, which will only take about 1 minute. Drain the spinach, then rinse it with cold water until completely cool. Using your hands, squeeze the spinach to remove as much liquid as you can before chopping the spinach coarsely.
Heat a large large saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Add minced onion and minced garlic, season it with salt and pepper and cook until the onion softens.
Next, add 4 ounces of cream cheese, sliced into pieces, and mash the cream cheese into the onion mixture until everything is smooth. Whisk in the milk, followed by the spinach, then stir until well incorporated. Simmer over medium heat until the mixture thickens, which would take 8 to 10 minutes. Season with nutmeg and more salt and pepper if desired.
What I Thought of Martha Stewart’s Easy Creamed Spinach
Anything that comes together quickly with minimal effort is always going to be a winner in my book, and this recipe truly delivers on both fronts. Add to that the fact that this is an exclusive Martha Stewart Original, and it becomes really hard to find anything bad to say about such a delicious and appetizing holiday side dish.
What I enjoyed most about the recipe was the subtle hint of nutmeg, which added just enough of a holiday twist to the creamy and delightful dish. The nutmeg was a sleeper ingredient. It was a subtle flavor that pulled the whole dish together and added a hint of seasonal flavor. 10/10 would recommend.
I thoroughly enjoyed making this recipe and found myself sneaking little taste tests straight out of the pot before I served it. I can totally see this recipe being a major hit within my family as an appetizer this holiday season, as well as a good opportunity to convince the picky eaters in the family to eat their greens for once.
Tips for Making Martha Stewart’s Easy Creamed Spinach
• Do a spinach swap. If flat-leaf spinach is not an option, you can easily substitute it with baby spinach and still yield very similar results. If you are really in a pickle and neither of the fresh spinach options are available, frozen spinach will also do the trick. However, in this case you’ll want to defrost the spinach and squeeze out all of the moisture before adding it to the cream mixture.
• Get ahead. If you plan on making this recipe ahead of time, creamed spinach can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
• Use it up. Keep leftovers sealed in an airtight container until ready to reheat and serve. Creamed spinach can be heated slowly over low heat and paired with a plethora of things that you might have in the fridge, including leftover pasta or that remaining piece of ribeye from the steakhouse the other night. Feeling snacky? It also pairs well with crackers, chips or toasted baguette slices.
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