Lighter Creamed Spinach

As homesick college kids craving comfort food that didn’t come from a can, my then-boyfriend (now hubby) and I frequented Boston Market. Our stops there were often after some blistering cold walk through the city, slushing in like wet dogs and stuffing our faces with chicken and cornbread. My plate was piled high with mac ‘n cheese and mashed potatoes (a big step up from Pop-Tarts), and his was loaded with crispy chicken and… creamed spinach. Blegh. I always thought he was being SO healthy!

Little did I know.

Thing is, he was indulging the same way I was… but with a little green thrown in for good measure! Well, our iron-clad college stomachs are no more, so it’s onto healthier choices and lighter spins on our favorite comfort classics. I couldn’t leave this one out!

A typical serving of creamed spinach clocks in at over 200 calories and 12 grams of fat. But this one? For a heaping 2/3 cup serving, you’re having your comfort food and enjoying it, too, at 123 calories and half the fat.

I know creamed spinach has always been a big favorite of hubby’s, so I was determined to do it right… and convince myself to love it, too. With this easy, elegant and absolutely delicious recipe, I managed both!

Not only is this dish light ‘n healthy, it’s packed full of good-for-you nutrients, too. As you savor away, recall that this scrumptious side is high in calcium, iron and dietary fiber… and vitamins A, B and C!

Easy as 1-2-3 (calories) and high in (vitamins) A-B-C! Kinda catchy, huh?

By halving the butter and replacing the heavy cream with fat free milk, you’re not losing any flavor in this creamy, savory side. A dollop of reduced-fat cream cheese keeps this dish melt-in-your-mouth good. And, I’m sorry, but is there any aroma in the world more comforting than onions and butter sizzling on the stovetop? That should be reason enough to cook this up.

For an elegant dinner in during the holidays, Valentine’s Day, or any day, this delicious creamed spinach is the perfect choice. Easy, sophisticated and oh-so scrumptious!

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Lighter Creamed Spinach

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly minced onion or shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups fat free milk
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
16 oz. bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of all moisture

Directions:

In a large sauté pan set to medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and garlic; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook 1 more minute. Reduce heat to low and whisk in milk, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add cream cheese and mix until smooth. Add spinach and combine well with sauce. Cook 1 minute, until heated through. Adjust seasonings as desired. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

NUTRITION
(per 2/3 cup serving)
Calories: 123 | Fat: 6 g | Protein: 6 g | Carb: 10 g

 

TIPS
To fully drain the spinach, I like to grab clumps and squeeze them over a fine mesh sieve. I then place the squeezed clumps onto paper towels.

Adapted from Skinny Taste

      

15 Responses to “Lighter Creamed Spinach”

  1. #
    1
    Marie @ Little Kitchie — February 10, 2014 @ 6:12 am

    So excited to try this! I love creamed spinach but can never justify all those calories… so this is just perfect!!

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    2
    Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy Living — February 10, 2014 @ 7:40 am

    Loving this lightened up version of creamed spinach – I don’t think most people know how many calories the traditional creamed spinach has so thanks for sharing.

  3. #
    3
    DessertForTwo — February 10, 2014 @ 7:58 am

    Ooh! What a great recipe to make lighter! I still love Boston Market! I haven’t been in probably a decade, but the cornbread rolls and chicken never get old!

  4. #
    4
    Ramona — February 10, 2014 @ 8:44 am

    My family loves spinach…even my kids! I usually at it into pastas and soups… but I love the idea of creaming it like this. Looks lovely!

  5. #
    5
    Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) — February 10, 2014 @ 9:14 am

    Oh you just created a masterpiece. Lighter creamed spinach has my inner skinny girl screaming with delight now!

  6. #
    6
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — February 10, 2014 @ 9:45 am

    What kind of world do we live in where creamed spinach is not healthy? Thank goodness you have set everything right and made this dish as healthy as I imagined it was always supposed to be!

  7. #
    7
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — February 10, 2014 @ 10:09 am

    Georgia, it’s like you know me. I adore creamed spinach. We always order it when we go to a steakhouse. I love this lightened up version.

  8. #
    8
    RavieNomNoms — February 10, 2014 @ 11:53 am

    That looks awesome! Thanks for sharing your way to make it lighter :-)

  9. #
    9
    Gaby — February 10, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

    I do love creamed spinach and here you have made it with less guilt! I love it!

  10. #
    10
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — February 11, 2014 @ 2:19 am

    Boston Market was a huge guilty pleasure growing up for me too! Sometimes I go over there strictly for the cornbread!

    Now this creamed spinach – love the lighter touch! Jason will LOVE this when I make it for him!

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    11
    Kitchen Belleicious — February 11, 2014 @ 6:39 am

    now I am a southern gal and I see to it my spinach has plenty of butter and cream but boy you make this look even better than my version! I am going to have to give it a try! really I am! Kudos for taking it lighter but still keeping all the flavor!

  12. #
    12
    Anna (Hidden Ponies) — February 11, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

    Mmm, onion and butter and creamy spinach…this sounds wonderful!

  13. #
    13
    Ashley — February 11, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

    I love this lightened up version! I do like creamed spinach but don’t eat it often because it is fairly heavy! But this … now this I can do!

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    14
    ana — September 10, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

    Hey! I wanted to know can we substitute freshly chopped spinach for the frozen one? If yes, what amount of fresh spinach would go in this?

    • Georgia — September 10th, 2014 @ 5:42 pm

      Hi Ana – I recommend using frozen spinach. Frozen spinach is blanched and this makes the spinach lose water weight. To get the same effect and weight you would have to blanch your fresh spinach and it would be pretty much the same as frozen spinach. If using fresh, though, I would use about 16 oz.

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