How to Use Up All Your Spinach Before It Wilts

For when you just can’t eat another boring salad.

7 min read

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Have a nearly wilting bunch of spinach in your fridge? Take a look at these easy, green-y recipes. Because spinach cooks down to a fraction of its original size, it’s easy to use it all up when you think outside the salad bowl. Get ready to make Popeye proud: Here are six ways to use up that bag, box, or bundle of spinach.

Stir it into stir-fries.


To add fresh spinach to your stir-fries, start by making sure your spinach is as dry as possible to prevent a soggy stir-fry. You can achieve this by spinning washed spinach in a salad spinner or pressing it between kitchen towels. Once spinach is dry, chop or tear the leaves into small pieces. As soon as your stir-fry is done cooking, add the spinach to the pan or wok all at once. Stir until just starting to wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately. 

Wilt it into soups.


You can easily bulk up your favorite brothy soups like vegetable, minestrone, or chicken noodle with fresh spinach. Once your soup is done cooking, remove the pot from heat and add in as much spinach as you see fit. Stir until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes, and serve immediately.

Spin it into smoothies.


Surprisingly, fresh spinach can go undetected in just about any smoothie. For green smoothies that don’t taste green, follow a ratio of 1 cup spinach to 2 cups fruit to 1 cup liquid. For a classic strawberry-banana smoothie, blend together 1 cup spinach, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, and 1 cup milk of choice. For mango smoothies, blend together 1 cup spinach, ½ cup milk of choice, ½ cup orange juice, 1 cup frozen mango chunks, and 1 banana.

Steam it for spinach quiche.


A classic quiche is the perfect way to get a whole lot of fresh spinach out of your fridge and onto your breakfast, lunch, or dinner plate. To make a spinach quiche, begin by rolling out 1 store-bought pie dough and transfer onto a 9-inch standard pie plate. Chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment. Return to the oven and bake about 5 minutes more, until just starting to brown. Set aside.

Place 5 ounces fresh spinach in a steamer basket and set over a pot filled with 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a simmer, cover, and steam for about 1 minute, or until spinach is wilted. Transfer to a kitchen towel and allow to cool slightly, then wring the excess water out of the spinach. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1½ cups whole milk or heavy cream, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. To assemble, sprinkle 1 cup grated cheddar or Gruyere into the pie crust. Top with steamed spinach and then pour the egg mixture into the crust. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the center is just set. Serve warm or cold.

Purée it for palak paneer.


Palak paneer is a popular Indian dish with cubes of paneer (a soft, non-melting cow cheese) simmered in a puréed and spiced spinach sauce. This version comes together quickly with easy-to-find ingredients for a flavor- and nutrient-packed weeknight dinner. Begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 pound of fresh spinach to the boiling water. Cook for about 30 seconds, until all the spinach wilts. Drain spinach into a colander. Transfer the spinach to a food processor and blend for about 20 seconds, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of ghee, butter, or refined coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup of diced onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons minced ginger and 2 tablespoons minced garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add 2 teaspoons garam masala, ¾ teaspoon ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. Add puréed spinach and ½ cup heavy cream. Stir to combine and salt to taste. Add in 12-16 ounces paneer cubes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve with basmati rice.

Blanch it for gomae.


This Japanese-style spinach salad makes a versatile side dish with just a few ingredients: blanched spinach tossed in a dressing of toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, and rice wine. To make the dressing, toast 3 tablespoons sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, shaking the skillet occasionally, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. If you have a mortar and pestle, this is the time to use it. If not, pour seeds into a resealable plastic bag, press out air, and seal. Using a rolling pin, crush seeds until mostly mashed, leaving some whole seeds remaining. Transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon mirin. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

To blanch spinach, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Stir in 8 ounces fresh spinach and cook for 30 seconds, or until wilted. Use a slotted spoon to transfer spinach to a bowl with ice water. Grab one handful of spinach at a time and squeeze out as much water as possible with your hands. Chop spinach into 1-inch pieces and transfer to the bowl with dressing. Toss until spinach is well-coated. Chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.


  • Photography: Paul Quitoriano

  • Food Styling: Mary Rupp

  • Art Direction: Sarah Ceniceros Gomez