Indian Style Creamed Spinach

$5.35 recipe / $1.34 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.80 from 82 votes
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This Indian Style Creamed Spinach is a bit like Palak Paneer, but without the paneer. …because my homemade paneer didn’t turn out. 😅 But that’s okay! The creamy spiced spinach is absolutely delightful on its own, so it’s still totally worth sharing. It’s amazing for dipping bread (preferably naan), spooning over rice, or using as a base for a more complete meal.

Originally posted 3-12-12, updated 1-22-2020.

A black bowl full of Indian Creamed Spinach on a wooden plate with a piece of naan dunked into the bowl

Make it Dairy-free or with Dairy

When I originally posted this recipe seven years ago I made it with evaporated milk. Since that time I’ve discovered how incredibly amazing coconut is with garam masala, so this time around I swapped out the evaporated milk for coconut milk. That also happens to make this recipe vegan and friendly to those who can’t consume dairy. If you prefer the dairy version, simply use one cup evaporated milk in place of the coconut milk.

Can I Use Light Coconut Milk?

Yes, you can use light coconut milk in place of the full-fat coconut milk, but the end result will be slightly less thick. I do not suggest using coconut milk sold in a carton, the type meant to be used as a dairy milk substitute. It will be far too watery for this recipe.

What to Serve with Indian Creamed Spinach

As mentioned in the intro, this Indian style creamed spinach makes a great side dish. You can serve it with dishes like Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala, Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala, or Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils. Or, you can add a couple more ingredients into your creamed spinach and make that your main dish. Consider adding cubed tofu, a can of chickpeas, or a diced potato or two.

A skillet full of Indian Creamed Spinach with a wooden spoon in the center

Is this Creamed Spinach Spicy?

This recipe does have a little heat, thanks to a ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. If you prefer a mild creamed spinach, simply skip the cayenne pepper.

Is there a Substitute for the Garam Masala?

If you can’t find Garam Masala in a store near you, you can substitute it with curry powder. Or, try your hand at making a homemade garam masala

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Indian Style Creamed Spinach

4.80 from 82 votes
Rich and fragrant, this Indian Creamed Spinach makes a delicious side dish or, with a few additions, a simple vegetarian meal.
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
A black bowl with Indian Creamed Spinach on a wooden plate with a piece of naan in the side of the bowl
Servings 4 about 1 cup each
Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 13.5oz. can full-fat coconut milk ($1.79)
  • 8 oz. fresh spinach ($1.29)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger ($0.30)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin ($0.20)
  • 1 tsp garam masala ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric ($0.05)
  • 1/4¼ tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
  • 1 large tomato ($0.97)
  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (or to taste) ($0.03)

Instructions 

  • Add the coconut milk and spinach to a large pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until the coconut milk is warmed through and has wilted the spinach. Remove from the heat as soon as the spinach has wilted to avoid over cooking the spinach.
  • Transfer the warm coconut milk and spinach to a blender and pulse until the spinach is in small pieces (you can choose to blend until smooth, if you prefer). Set this mixture aside.
  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a large skillet along with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne to the skillet. Stir and cook the spices with the onion, garlic, and ginger for about two minutes more.
  • Dice the tomato and add it to the skillet along with about 1/4 cup water. Stir and cook the tomato with the other ingredients, dissolving any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet, until the tomato has broken down (5-8 minutes).
  • Finally, add the coconut and spinach mixture to the skillet and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to heat through, stirring occasionally.
  • Taste the creamed spinach and add salt to taste. Start with 1/4 tsp, adding more as needed until the flavors pop (I added 3/4 tsp).

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Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 139.2kcalCarbohydrates: 12.1gProtein: 2.6gFat: 9.2gSodium: 510.9mgFiber: 2.9g
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Front view of a bowl full of Indian style creamed spinach with a spoon lifting a bite and a piece of naan stuck in the side of the bowl

 

How to Make Indian Creamed Spinach – Step By Step Photos

Add coconut milk to pot

Start by pouring one 13.5 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk into a soup pot.

Wilted spinach in the coconut milk

Add 8 oz. of fresh spinach to the coconut milk. Stir and cook over medium heat just until the spinach has wilted (this should only take about five minutes). Do not over cook the spinach here. It should still be bright green in color.

Blended spinach and coconut in the blender

Transfer the warm coconut milk and spinach to a blender and pulse until the spinach is in small pieces. You can blend until smooth if you prefer, but I like a little texture in mine. Set this mixture aside.

Onion, garlic, and ginger in skillet

Dice one yellow onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and grate about 1 Tbsp fresh ginger. Add all three to a skillet along with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger over medium heat until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes).

Spices added to skillet with onion garlic and ginger

Once the onions are soft, add 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp garam masala, ½ tsp turmeric, and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper to the skillet. Stir and cook the spices with the onion, garlic, and ginger for about 2 minutes more.

Diced tomato added to skillet

Dice one tomato and add it to the skillet along with about ¼ cup water. Stir and cook the tomato with the other ingredients, dissolving any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet, until the tomatoes have broken down (5-8 minutes).

Pour coconut spinach into skillet

Finally, pour the coconut and spinach mixture into the skillet and stir to combine.

Finished Indian Style Creamed Spinach in the skillet

Allow the mixture to heat through, stirring occasionally. Once hot, give it a taste and add salt as needed. I added about ¾ tsp. I suggest starting with ¼ tsp and adding more to your liking. Adding the correct amount of salt will help the flavors pop.

A finished skillet full of Indian Style Creamed Spinach with naan on the side and a wooden spoon in the center of the skillet

Serve hot with some bread for dipping!

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  1. Why cook the milk and spinach separately, as opposed to chopping/blending first, then adding to the skillet a little earlier?

    1. Hi Willhelm- You need heat to infuse flavors in a liquid. You can absolutely do it however you want, but for the most flavor, wilt the spinach in the milk. XOXO -Monti

  2. This is an amazing recipe. i’ve been trying for the longest to make an Indian dish at home that approximates something from a restaurant and this one is spot-on. I didn’t even use ghee, either, but I’m going to try that to gild the lily next time. and I think I’m going to add cubed tofu to replace the paneer aspect. Yum!

    1. I haven’t tried freezing this one, so I don’t know for sure, but all of the ingredients look pretty freezer-friendly. If there’s any water separation after thawing I’m sure you could just stir it up well.

  3. Absolutely phenomenal recipe! This was so delicious we had to make it two more times and the meals keep for 2-3 days. The flavoring on this dish kept us wanting more and filled us up quickly to our surprise.

  4. Delicious! I also used a can of fire roasted tomatoes instead of using fresh tomatoes and water. This was so easy to make and, as suggested, tastes even better the next day!

  5. Followed the recipe exactly with two exceptions: used another commenter’s excellent recommendation for a can of fire roasted tomatoes instead of fresh tomato + water, and added in a block of chopped halloumi to make this a full meal. I made this in advance as a lunch meal prep and it tastes even better reheated to let some of those spice notes mellow and blend.

  6. I served this with some jasmine rice for a quick lunch and we absolutely loved it! So flavourful and satisfying. Thanks so much for the creative recipe. 

  7. I looks delicious, will try this weekend with friends. Can I cook it un advance? One day before? Thanks :)