Sautéed spinach and mushrooms is a simple vegan side or main dish that even meat eaters will love.
I am not big on convenience food. But I’m happy to pay a little extra for triple-washed baby spinach. More tender than the large leaf variety, it takes only minutes to prepare when it is pre-washed. Although I love it in green salads, either mixed with lettuce and/or baby arugula or plain, my favorite way to prepare baby spinach is lightly sautéed. In this version, shallot and thickly sliced mushrooms complement the spinach and the whole recipe takes less than 15 minutes from opening the refrigerator to setting the finished dish on the table.
Two notes on washing the vegetables for this recipe. First, forget the old wives’ tale that you cannot let water touch mushrooms. You can rinse dirt off of mushrooms if you do it without submerging the mushrooms and if you dry them off gently with a paper or clean dishtowel. Second, You should rinse even triple-washed spinach, but shake off the excess water, so that it doesn’t pool in the bottom of the pan during cooking.
This recipe for sautéed spinach and mushrooms takes only about 9 minutes to cook and is best served piping hot, so if you are making this dish as part of a dinner, have all the other elements of the meal done or in their last stages before starting the sauté steps for the shallot, mushrooms, and finally the spinach.
Although you can substitute yellow or white onions for the shallot, or use white button mushrooms in place of the cremini or baby bellas, the taste will be affected, and in my view the resulting dish will be less interesting. Shallots are not as sharp as onions and their taste and texture mellow out nicely as they cook. While they cost more than onions, so little is called for that I doubt this ingredient will break the bank. The cremini or baby bellas, like bigger portabella mushrooms, have a deeper flavor than white or button mushrooms. Again, they are a bit more expensive, but worth the extra few coins.
Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms
Serving – 1 large or 2 small Cost – $3.50
- About 4 cups (4 ounces) of fresh baby spinach
- 5-6 small cremini or baby bella mushrooms, thickly sliced (about 2-3 ounces)
- 1 small-medium shallot (about 1- 1½ ounces) sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Fresh lemon slice (optional)
- Cutting board
- Medium size pan with cover
- Measuring spoon
- Fork or tongs
- Rinse the spinach (or thoroughly clean if your isn’t pre-washed) and shake off excess water.
- Clean and slice the mushrooms by cutting off the stem bottoms (or the entire stems) and slice the mushrooms in quarters. Thinly slice the shallot.
- Heat the pan until a droplet of water beads up but the pan is not smoking. Then immediately add the tablespoon of oil, swirl it around and add the sliced shallot. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is beginning to brown.
- Add the mushroom slices. They will soak up any excess oil and appear to burn for a few seconds, then they will start releasing their moisture. Cook for another 3 minutes, stirring or shaking occasionally until the mushroom slices have browned.
- Add the spinach. It will pile into the pan and seem too much for the space at first, but will cook down quickly. Turn the spinach over a few times during the first minute of cooking with the tongs or fork, cover the pan, and cook the mixture for approximately another 2 minutes.
- After cooking add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and if desired, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice.
Serve the sautéed spinach and mushrooms hot. If you have extra leftover, this is a readymade filling for a frittata or omelet.