This is the best way to make sauteed spinach! This Turkish style spinach recipe is ready in 30 minutes and is so flavorful. Topped with yogurt sauce and spiced butter, this sauteed spinach recipe results in a tasty appetizer or side dish.
If you're looking for ways to add spinach to your meals, you're in the right place. Many Persians make spinach and eggs for breakfast and people across the Mediterranean region enjoy delicious borek or spanakopita as savory pastries. Or, you can try a simple spanakorizo (Greek spinach rice) or this Turkish sauteed spinach (ıspanak yemeği) as a quick and healthy side dish. Follow along to see why this is one of the best spinach recipes ever!
Table Of Contents:
Why make sauteed spinach?
What I love about Turkish recipes is that they take the simplest of the ingredients and turn them into extraordinary meals. Take this sauteed spinach recipe as an example: a typical recipe would probably call for cooking the spinach in some oil and, voila, that's it. My recipe has so much more flavor!
Well, I'm here to show you how to sauté spinach so its delicious and flavorful. Not only is the spinach cooked with aromatics, it's also topped with a delicious yogurt sauce and finished with spiced melted butter and crunchy walnuts, making this yoğurtlu ıspanak the perfect side for any main dish!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil works best for this recipe.
- Onion: Use white or yellow onions and chop them finely.
- Garlic: A few cloves and garlic add a lot of flavor to this dish. Make sure they're minced well.
- Tomato paste: Tomato paste is intense in color and flavor, so be sure not to overuse it in this recipe.
- Spinach: The more the merrier! I recommend using baby spinach and making sure they're not wilted or brown.
- Yogurt: You need plain yogurt for the sauce. Whole milk or low-fat yogurt as well as plain non-dairy yogurt would work.
- Dried mint: This is added to the yogurt sauce. Find dried mint in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean shops or online.
- Aleppo pepper: Also known as pul biber, this type of pepper is very mild and adds a nice flavor to the dish. You can find it in Mediterranean or Middle Eastern shops as well as online.
- Walnut: Tossed with the spiced melted butter, walnuts add a crunchy finish to the dish.
How to make sauteed spinach
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and saute the onion until it's golden and translucent. Then stir in the garlic and tomato paste followed by salt and pepper.
- Add in the spinach and stir to combine. Cook the spinach uncovered for about 10 minutes or until they are wilted and cooked.
- Now to make the yogurt sauce, mix the yogurt with grated garlic, salt, pepper and dried mint in a bowl. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add in the Aleppo pepper and cook for a minute. Then add in the chopped walnuts and cook for another minute.
- To assemble, transfer the sauteed spinach to the serving platter and spoon the yogurt sauce over the spinach. Top with the spiced butter and walnuts.
Tips to make the best sauteed spinach
- Don't overcook: It's easy to overcook spinach where it gets dry and bitter. Make sure to cook the spinach just enough for it to wilt. Then turn the heat off and remove it from the heat.
- Season well: Taste the spinach before serving and add more salt if needed.
- Use plenty: Spinach shrinks a lot when cooked, so definitely use at least 1 lb of spinach for 4 people. I usually use even more and save the leftovers for the next day.
What does sauteed spinach go with?
If you have leftovers, it's best to remove the yogurt sauce (if possible) and refrigerate it separately, however, it's not absolutely necessary to do so. Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can reheat the leftovers in the microwave or in a pan over medium heat.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, roughly chop the spinach so the leaves are smaller and cook better.
You can serve this dish warm or at room temperature.
Yes, studies have shown that cooked spinach increases the absorption of iron, Vitamin A and calcium.
Yes. You can make sauteed spinach and yogurt sauce up to 6 hours ahead of time and store them separately. When ready to serve, reheat the spinach and make the spiced melted butter with walnuts, then assemble right before serving.
Looking for more spinach recipes?
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Sauteed Spinach Recipe (Turkish Style)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 lb spinach
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 clove garlic grated
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped walnut
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until golden and translucent. This would take 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and the tomato paste. Stir to combine and add the salt and pepper.
- Add in the spinach and cook over medium heat until the spinach is cooked and wilted, about 10 minutes.
- To make the yogurt sauce, mix the yogurt with the grated garlic, salt, pepper and dried mint.
- Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Once melted, add in the Aleppo pepper and give it a good stir. Add in the walnuts and cook for a minute or two.
- Transfer the sauteed spinach to a serving plate. Top with the yogurt sauce and spiced butter.
- If using regular spinach, chop them a bit so the leaves are a bit smaller.
- You can use whole milk or low-fat yogurt to make the sauce. Non-dairy yogurt would also work as long as it's not flavored.
- Find dried mint at Mediterranean or Middle Eastern shops or online.
- You can serve sauteed spinach warm or at room temperature.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container (remove the yogurt sauce if possible) and refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can reheat the dish using a microwave or a pan over medium heat.