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!
- 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