Spiced Spinach with Walnuts

Spiced Spinach with Walnuts Recipe

Simply stated, this is a spinach recipe you should try. It's an adaptable dish that downshifts seamlessly from main attraction to supporting role depending on the quantity of leftovers at hand. The jist: a hot pan filled with all manner of things that work well with spinach - toasted walnuts, shredded mint, lemon, a host of spices, and a good amount of leeks that are cooked until silky tender. Loaded with spinach greens and healthful spices like turmeric and cumin - this is the sort of preparation I favor, in part, because it adds such a nutritional punch to my day while still being interesting, satisfying, and easy to pull together.

A Good Spinach RecipeA Good Spinach RecipeA Good Spinach Recipe

Most of you realize, the majority of my cooking never makes it onto this site. I general share the recipes I love most, the gems, the one's I'm confident you might enjoy taking for a spin in your own kitchens. This fits the bill - I prepared it twice this week and loved the possibilities the leftovers inspired. This spinach became the stuffing in both parathas and calzones. It was added to a bowl of brown rice and then topped with a single egg omelette, finely shredded. And then again, topped with pan-fried tofu as a main dish, but freshly steamed tempeh would have been another nice option.

Before I go, a quick thank you - I was so happy to see how many of you made the broccoli soup last week! It's always exciting for me to see the recipes I feature here make the jump into your kitchens (the whole point, really). Hope you enjoy this one as much. xo -h


A Good Spinach Recipe

Be sure to wash the leeks well of dirt and grit after slicing them. You can make quick work of it by using a colander.

3 tablespoons sunflower oil, ghee, or clarified butter
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 large leeks, trimmed & thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon chile flakes, or more to taste
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
40 fresh mint leaves
4-5 massive handfuls of spinach, very roughly chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup crumbled feta, fresh ricotta, or fresh paneer

In a large skillet or pot heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and leeks, and cook until tender - just barely starting to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Stir in the chile flakes, cumin seeds, turmeric, and oregano, and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Add the mint leaves and the spinach, in batches if needed, stirring constantly. Cook until the spinach begins to wilt, and brightens - just a minute or so. Squeeze the juice of one of the lemon wedges into the spinach, stir well, taste, and adjust with more salt if necessary. Serve topped with the walnuts and crumbled cheese.

Serves 6.

Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 12 min

Print Recipe

For new recipes & inspirations

Your Comments

June 25, 2014

oh, yes, YES! This is the sort of no-nonsense, nut + bolts recipe I adore. The real deal. Essentials, well done. Versatile, adaptable, fundamental.

The reason I come back, time and again.

Thank you.



June 25, 2014

Loving all the flavors here!


Jules @ WolfItDown
June 26, 2014

Mmm, I love a good spinach dish, and this sounds wonderful! Do you reckon creme fraiche could substitute the ricotta?
Suppose I could take it on and give it a go. This looks great :D I also love the addition of nuts/almonds, it's just that little extra bit that goes a long mile and makes it look a little more special :)

I hope you have a fantastic day ^ ^ x


June 26, 2014

This looks so good. Simple, beautiful and delicious. Do you think it would work with frozen spinach as well? I can never go through my spinach fast enough, so I am freezing half of it before it can go to waste...


June 26, 2014

Perfect. You have such a knack of finding/creating/sharing recipes that people (and by that, I mean me!) want to eat. This is everything I could want + more.


Filipino Food
June 26, 2014

Thanks for sharing this delectable recipe. I love this ::)


definitely need this in my life. Such a great salad!


June 26, 2014

Beautiful. Love the simplicity of this - such few, yet interesting ingredients combined. Cannot wait to try. Thanks, Shannon x


Jo from yummyvege
June 26, 2014

Love spinach recipes! Where I live spinach is a traditional dish but it usually comes with pork fat in it :( So can't wait to try this veggie version. I'm intrigued by the mint in it too.


jenna @ just j.faye
June 26, 2014

Yum! This looks delicious. I love anything to do with spinach... and walnuts. This recipe will be perfect for when I get my next CSA box!


June 26, 2014

Looks yummy, but I can't abide cooked spinach on it's own too much icky green water. Raw or inside something for me!


June 26, 2014

I may try it with swiss chard, the garden is currently overflowing with it and my spinach is pretty much done.


I'm not one of those who already make the broccoli soup but it's been at the top of my list since last week for when I return home. And this spinach recipe has so many amazing ingredients in one dish that I am drooling right now!


Sue O'Bryan
June 26, 2014

Looks delicious and I must say, what a beautiful serving dish!!!


Jenny Sommer
June 26, 2014

This looks so delicious! I have lots of Swiss chard growing in my garden. Could I replace the spinach with the chard?


Kelly Turnbull
June 26, 2014

Goodness gracious Heidi. This looks absolutely fantastic. I am hoping to make it tonight. Thank you !


That looks amazing. I love mixing greens and walnuts, this looks like something I'll need to try soon.


Mariela Alvarez
June 26, 2014

Love any recipe with the use of "massive handfuls of spinach" as one of the ingredients. Might have to borrow that one day. Perfect, just perfect!


That is really and interesting combo. I have used the leeks with arugula and sauteed mushrooms on top but I haven't tried mint. Since we have mint in the garden I'm pinning your recipe so I can try it. Thank you for sharing.


June 26, 2014

This looks incredible... can't wait to try it.


bev @ bevcooks
June 26, 2014

Oh goodness gracious.


June 26, 2014

Pinned! I cannot wait to try this, perhaps if I get my hands on some spinach at the farm market, today. I was blown away by the Deborah Madison Lentils. I made them last week as well as your turnip greens tart (but with beet greens) which was incredibly impressive (linked and pictured in a greens-washing post on my blog). Inspiration at every corner. Did you make paratha dough?


June 26, 2014

I love sauteed spinach...I can't wait to try this version a little more exotic than what I usually create. Thank you...happy nesting!


June 26, 2014

Just made it for the family. Used chard instead of spinach. Sauteed tofu with ginger and soy as accompaniment. No rice. Everyone had seconds! None left for lunch tomorrow.
You have an avid reader here in Paris, Heidi. Next time you visit we should dine!


June 26, 2014

Will prepare tonight but already can tell that I LOVE this spinach dish and the variations are perfect for an aging single diner. The broccoli coconut soup is also a new favorite of mine. Before that, the yoga bowl was a revelation: never cooked mungs before, and pairing it w/ quinoa was wonderful. Your shared gems are very appreciated Heidi!


June 26, 2014

Healthy, and refreshing, you can't ask for anything better than this!


June 26, 2014

I love how simple and delicious this is! I might toss it with a handful of linguine and call it dinner. :)


Sammi @Sammi Sunshine
June 26, 2014

We love spinach at my house! This recipe is a must.


June 26, 2014

Threw in some mushrooms with the leeks and topped my spaghetti squash with it. Yum. Thanks Heidi!


Kerrie Peacock
June 26, 2014

I would never had thought to combine all these ingredients but I would love to try this!


June 26, 2014

Made this tonight, and it was so delicious! I omitted the cheese, and added some sweet potatoes because I had to use them up. Loved the turmeric and cumin seeds with the mint. Next time, I'm thinking about using some buttery cashews to top it off. I can also imagine this being a great garnish for some creamy soup. Thanks for giving me a new favorite! I also baked up your Bay Leaf Pound Cake to bring to a work party tomorrow. Very excited to try it, and my house smells terrific!


June 27, 2014

Had almonds,so used those. Fantastic.Making again to top pizza tonite,kids loved it to!


June 27, 2014

Love it - the recipes that are the biggest 'keepers' in our house are those ones with many leftover possibilities


Angel Reyes
June 27, 2014

This looks great. You know, is the same with me. I post a recipe per week or so, but I'm cooking all the time. I trust this one is great!


June 27, 2014

Oh my god what an awesome dish. We enjoyed it last night and was immediately added to my favorite recipes book. Thanks Heidi for the inspiration and amazing tastes.


Kelly Turnbull
June 27, 2014

(Forgive me if this is the second time you've received this. I tried to post this last night and the server failed - twice. ) I did make this spinach dish last night. If there was a food hall of fame this recipe should be in it. It was as wonderful as I thought it would be. Honestly Heidi, I don't know how you get your creative juices flowing, but it is very much appreciated. I will be making this dish many times over.

HS: Thanks Kelly! So happy you enjoyed it. And thanks for checking back in.


Derek the Zen Chef
June 27, 2014

I really love walnuts and will be trying this recipe soon, although I just cannot find feta cheese here in Busan, so it will have to wait until I cross the ocean back to the states. Thanks for sharing it! DH


June 28, 2014

The spices made this unlike any other spinach dish I've ever had. LOVE the chili flakes! My only disappointment? It did not serve 6... I ate half of it!


June 28, 2014

There's something really astounding about walnuts and spinach (or anything green, really).


June 29, 2014

Spinach is coming in abundance in our CSA, and a good friend just dropped off vacation leftovers at our house, including half a tub of ricotta. Will Do!


June 29, 2014

An east- west kind of mixture.


June 29, 2014

Made this the other night and it was fab! Couldn't get leeks, so used onions, but that worked fine. Topped it with paneer and it was soooo good! Although I somehow oversalted... Great alternative to traditional palak paneer.


June 29, 2014

The combination of spinach, cheese and nuts is tempting.


June 30, 2014

Trying this tonight!
Would love to see your calzones & parathas recipes some time..


June 30, 2014

I made this for dinner tonight and it was fantastic. Easy, quick, and wholly nutritious - everything a weeknight dinner should be. I served it with some plain quinoa, and used basil instead of mint (it was all I had). Brava Heidi, this one's a keeper.


Kathryn SImone
June 30, 2014

My partner said this was the best salad he has ever had! I agree... I bought fresh ingredients, fresh organic spinach and followed the instructions - which I usually don't.... it was 5 star. I used chipotle pepper flakes and it was delicious! So many flavors popping out. Truly gourmet yet simple.


June 30, 2014

Thanks, Heidi! This was so delicious- my fiancé and I made it twice this weekend for a group of 9, once with cheese and once without and it went over "big"! It got me thinking that I need to cook with leeks much more. We also made your lentils from a couple of days ago and the broccoli soup, and loved them all. Your blog is my go-to for new recipes, as the flavors are always bold and different. As a beginner cook, I appreciate that your combos never disappoint! Thanks!


June 30, 2014

I prepared this for dinner tonight, and it is delicious! Like Marie's experience, this made two complete dinner portions. I think the six serving reference would be if it is being served as a side with other dishes. Excellent recipe--thank you!


July 2, 2014

Heidi, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS. I barely even shared it with anyone...I snuck a bowl (or two) for myself before putting it on the table for dinner. I enjoyed it with Greek yogurt instead of the ricotta this time around, and now am craving more---but we ate it all! Oh well, will have to make again...thank you so much for sharing (and for giving me another recipe where I can use my whole cumin seeds!)


July 3, 2014

Made this for dinner tonight. Served it with freshly baked loaf of rustic bread Wow was that delicious! Portion wise it was more like two as a main meal with just enough left for lunch tomorrow. Beautiful. Thanks so much!


July 6, 2014

This dish looks delicious -- and it uses many of my favorite ingredients!


July 7, 2014

This looks so delicious. I've been looking for a new way to prepare spinach. I love spinach but was getting bored of it just steaming and adding garlic.


July 11, 2014

Hello there :) A little tip I have for cleaning the leeks, seeing as slicing it with the soil particles between the leaves can dull the knife's blade: when trimming, leave the root end together (cut off the small roots, but leave the "stump"; I think it's a modified stalk, but I'm really not sure), then slice the whole leek lengthwise. Fill a bowl (or sink) with water, stick the leeks in, holding the root end, and swish them around. Rub between the leaves with your fingers in places where dirt is stuck, then shake the excess water off gently when finished. I usually do this in sink, and then, once the grit falls down, I use the water for spinach or other leafy greens (put in, swish around, let the dirt settle, take out; repeat with clean water if needed). I hope that will help someone :)

(I've just stumbled upon this recipe, and I'll surely pick up some more spinach next time I'm at farmer's market, even though the season's pretty much ending here.)