Sautéed spinach and leeks is a quick + easy, healthy side dish with simple ingredients and delicious flavor!
It's been an emotional week here.
The kiddos are wrapping up their school years... J has his last day of 3-year-old preschool today, M's last day of kindergarten is tomorrow, and I'm just amazed by how much they've grown this year. My babies aren't such babies anymore!
And while it's bittersweet to see them move on from those early stages, these are happy days and it's been a fun week of parties. ❤️
On the flipside...
My cousin passed away last weekend and we had her funeral service yesterday.
She was a bit older than me and someone I've looked up to all my life. (Literally, in fact - she was super tall and oh so glamorous!)
In my mind, she was bigger than life. She was so funny, so smart, so stylish, so beautiful. And far, far too young.
Needless to say, I've been moving in and out of tears and sadness at a moment's notice. It's a reminder that life is precious, life is short and life is not guaranteed.
She will be dearly missed. And yet loved and remembered by so, so many. It was a huge crowd at the service and so uplifting to see so much of our family and her friends come to honor her.
For me, I also hope to honor her by living my life more fully, and as beautifully, honestly, confidently and openly as she always did. A good goal, right?
Now, as always, let's dive into the food. And these gorgeous babies:
It’s been a long time since I told myself I’d start eating more leeks. Like, on a weekly basis. (I talk about this in my salmon and leeks recipe post too.)
Cause leeks are really that good for you.
Or, actually, they are that good for the bacteria that live in your gut.
Now, that may sound weird but trust me, it’s a thing and it’s going to be something you’ll hear lots more about in coming years.
See, I’m a health and nutrition editor so I read and hear about new research day in and day out.
The gut microbiome — which means all the bacteria, good and bad, that live in your digestive tract — have been found to have ties to all kinds of other aspects of our health. Not just digestive stuff, it’s even been linked to mental health.
I took a whole course on the gut microbiome. Not in college, not for my job, just on my own a couple of years ago. Cause I find it fascinating.
And cause I’m a nerd like that! 🤓
Anyway, leeks are great fuel for those good bacteria in your gut and I for sure want to keep mine happy.
But you know, life gets in the way and I haven’t been eating leeks on the regular like I wanted. So recently I tried to get back in the habit and find some quick + easy ways to incorporate leeks. Hence, this recipe.
Quick + easy sautéed spinach and leeks
This simple side dish is now a go to for us.
We like sautéed spinach on its own, and it’s one of our go-to veggie side dishes. (Check out these ways to use fresh spinach - it's such a versatile veggie.)
But I thought, what if I could just add in a sliced leek and have that be one easy way to sneak more leeks into our diets.
And sure enough, both my husband and I really liked it! (I haven’t tried this on the little ones. Yet...)
The leeks get just barely tender and soft and they melt right in with the silky spinach. The garlic adds a little background flavor and the Parmesan, which is completely optional, gives it a nice, rich finish. 👌
Plus, this recipe is just 3 ingredients! 🙌
Oh, and if you are new to leeks, here's a couple tips on cleaning them.
How to clean and prepare leeks:
- Leeks are grown in sandy soil, so they need a good cleaning before they are ready to use in a recipe.
- First, rinse the entire leek. Then cut off the dark green leaf end and trim the root end, leaving just the white and green stalk area to work with.
- Thinly slice the stalk into rings.
- Place the sliced leek rings into a large bowl of cold water. Toss them around in the water to remove any sand, dirt and grit from the inner layers. Let them sit for at least 2-3 minutes.
- Gently lift the leeks from the bowl of water and place in a colander. This way you leave behind the dirty water and any grit that's fallen to the bottom of the bowl.
Now they are ready to use!
If you haven’t used leeks yet, I hope you’ll give this sautéed spinach and leeks recipe a try. And maybe join me in my goal to make leeks a regular staple. Let's keep those good gut bacteria happy and thriving!
(Speaking of, if you have a favorite way to use leeks, please leave me a comment below - I’m always up for new ideas!)
Wishing you lots of love and a wonderful weekend!
Sautéed spinach and leeks
Sautéed spinach and leeks is a quick + easy, healthy side dish with simple ingredients and delicious flavor!
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium leek, cleaned, trimmed and sliced (see notes)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 8 oz. bag fresh spinach or baby spinach
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat.
- Add leeks and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
- Add garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds.
- Add spinach and stir for 2-3 minutes until spinach is mostly wilted.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if using, and serve hot.
You can substitute coconut oil or unsalted butter for the olive oil if you prefer.
To prepare the leeks, trim off the dark green leaf end and the root end. Thinly slice the leek in rings and place in a bowl of cold water. Toss them around in the water to remove any sand, dirt and grit from the inner layers. Let them sit for at least 2-3 minutes. Gently lift the leeks from the bowl of water and place in a colander. This way you leave behind the dirty water and any grit that’s fallen to the bottom of the bowl. Now they are ready to use!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 42Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 151mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
Dawn - Girl Heart Food
First of all - so sorry to hear about the passing of your cousin. She sounds like she was a beautiful person, inside and out. Unfortunately, its only moments like these that we realize how short life is and how we should live each day to the fullest and not dwell on unimportant things. Hugs to you, my friend.
About this recipe...I love leeks! I didn't realize how good they were for you so I'm going to have to up my intake for sure! I tried growing them in the garden the other year and it didn't work out so well for me for some reason so to the grocery store it is. I would definitely have to use parm here because CHEESE 🙂 Pinning! I usually like mine sautéed with pasta, but I'm pretty sure I would like 'em any way!
Try to have a nice weekend and my thoughts are with ya! XOXO
Thanks so much Dawn! That really means a lot 😊
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry! My deepest, sincerest condolences for the loss of your cousin. My prayers go out to you and your family, Kathryn! It sounds like she was an amazing woman, inside and out, and the world will be a lesser place without her in it. But know she is up there in heaven and smiling down upon you. <3 Life is entirely too short and it's a painful reminder whenever someone is taken from us much too soon. I'm sending you all the love and hugs, dear friend!!!
Hard to transition, but this dish looks absolutely delicious! I adore a big 'ole beautiful plate of green deliciousness, so you know I'd gobble this up in about 3 seconds flat. Pinned!
I'll be thinking about you, my dear. Take care of you and your family. XOXO
Thanks so much my friend - it means so much! XO
Lauren Grant | Zestful Kitchen
So simple yet so delicious! I can't wait to try this!
Thanks Lauren! I hope you love it!
I've never eaten leeks before! Sounds like I need to try them.
Yes you do Katherine! They're SO good! 🙂
I joined WW a couple of weeks ago, and I've been on the hunt for recipes to fit the program and expand our food horizons at the same time. This seems like a really tasty, flavorful recipe that isnt laden with hidden calories! thanks, I am definitely going to try.....oh and also looking up your leek and salmon recipe!
ps....sorry about your cousin. Losing someone you love is never easy...
Thanks so much for your kind words Liz! I hope you love this for an easy side dish - and the salmon one too! 😊
I always put leeks in a green chicken or shrimp curry...yum!
Great idea Christine - thanks for sharing!
You mentioned sauce in your recipe what a sauce?
I'm sorry Lorraine - that was an autocorrect error that I didn't notice. It should read "sauté" not sauce. I've fixed it in the recipe card. Hope you give this a try!
Can't believe how simple and delicious this was!
I'm so happy you loved it! 😊
This tasted awesome
Yay! I'm so happy you enjoyed it! 😊
As a kid, my Dad’s potato leek soup was always one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing this and for all the great microbiome info on leeks. Can’t wait to try this recipe!
Oh, potato leek soup is sooo good! I hope you enjoy this easy leeks side dish too! 🙂
Do you have a recipe for potato leeks soup? I've had it before but have never attempted to make it.
I don't have a recipe posted yet for potato leek soup, but a friend of mine and fellow food blogger has one that I bet is excellent: https://www.wellplated.com/potato-leek-soup/ Hope that helps!
Thank you!!! I will check it out!
I'm looking forward to trying this--so much in fact I'm considering whether I can pull off a meal with it in my temp kitchen during our remodel.
Can you recommend a good read on foods and the gut biome?
I hope you try it and enjoy it Rebecca! This was an article I read a few years ago that really got me on the topic: http://www.eatingwell.com/article/283417/how-good-gut-bacteria-could-transform-your-health/
I'm sure there's more recent stuff out there that you can find as well. Good luck with the remodel!
Great recipe!! First time making leeks. Mixed with spinach and mushrooms. Can’t wait to make them again.
I'm so happy you tried leeks and loved them! Love the addition of mushrooms too - yum! 😊
We were looking for something different to serve as a side for our dinner party last night and came across your recipe on pinterest. It was so simple and delicious! We will definitely be making this again.
I'm so happy to hear you all loved it Nikki! Thanks so much for sharing! 😊
Tonya E Jordan
I have been trying to eat healthier. I suck at it. Lol.... this reminds me of something I threw together for the heck of it and fell in love with. I sautre spinach in olive oil and pat of butter with shallots garlic and baby Bella mushrooms. I will try adding leeks. Sounds good. Thanks
Haha, I'm all about baby steps - whether it's adding a fruit a day, drinking more water, cutting out dessert one or two nights a week... every little bit helps! And oh, I adore spinach and mushrooms together! That would definitely work here with the leeks added in too. Yum!
Whole family like this. I loved it. I really really like leeks so I’m always on the lookout for another recipe. I even got my husband to try it.
On a side note, wondering what to do with all that dark green you don’t use? Add it to your stock ingredients!
Another idea, I take the dark green leaves and simmer them in water for broth. Remove the leaves once cooked and then drink hot as a tea, or even better refrigerate. I know it sounds weird but it’s very refreshing.
I'm so happy you loved this Kelly! And love the idea of using those dark green parts in stock - great way not to waste. The drink sounds intriguing too; I'll have to try it. Thanks so much for sharing!
We have just finished a fab meal of your quick and easy leeks and spinach & also the chicken, jalapeno and cheese (nice and hot !) and everybody loved it.
I found your website during a Covid lockdown evening and will be making my way through your dishes for my family over the next few weeks. Your little messages resonated, ie eat one less desert, drink a little water. So our little family in Ireland is enjoying your meals and wisdom.
I hope the loss of your cousin has eased and you all have had an easy time during Covid.
Happy cooking, I look forward to the our next meal from your list.
Slan agus beanacht leat
(A quick soup receipe with leeks - leek and pototo soup for 2)
One leek, one large potato, one small onion (not red), chop up very small, saute in some butter, add 2.5 cups of chicken stock, simmer, and one cup of milk, simmer again, blend, serve with a stir of cream and a sprinkle of chopped chives or parsley.
I'm so happy you found me Desiree and that you're enjoying some of these recipes! Thank you so much for sharing - and for that potato leek soup recipe - yum! 😊
I am always amazed when recipes say to discard the green parts of leeks. Does one discard the green tops of green onions? No,! I always cut up the green parts of leeks and cook them with the rest. It is the green parts which have the most valuable nutrients.
Just like with onions, it's just a slightly different flavor from the rest of the leek. But of course you can use it if you want!