Spiced Coconut Spinach

The perfect simple, spinach side dish - toast a few spices, add a pile of shredded spinach to the skillet, and finish things off with a burst of lemon juice and some shredded coconut.

Spiced Coconut Spinach

This is a quick post for an easy, fast and spinach-packed side dish. It's the type of thing I get excited about - simple, but bold on flavor. Even better, all the ingredients come together in one pan. I stumbled on this recipe for Coconut-laced Spiced Spinach as I was flipping through Anjum Anand's book new book, in early 2011. Not much more than ten minutes later, we were sitting down to the table with it as part of our meal. I’ve cooked variations of in endlessly in the years since.
Coconut Spiced Spinach Recipe

Spiced Coconut Spinach: The Technique

The key here is having all your ingredients cleaned, prepped and ready to go. You toast a few spices, add a pile of shredded spinach to the skillet, and finish things off with a burst of lemon juice and golden-toasted coconut.
Coconut Spiced Spinach Recipe

A Few Ideas

I think I'm so excited about this in part because it is so versatile. While it makes a great side - I also like it in, on and under lots of things. Case in point, alongside one of these special quesadillas. It's also great on an open-faced veggie burger, in tacos, in a wrap, over brown rice or farro, etc. I also like to make a meal of it with some grilled tofu, paneer, or fried egg. Let me know if you end up making it, and what you do with it! 
Coconut Spiced Spinach Recipe

The Spice Profile & Variations

The cumin is really nice here, I’ve dialed it up over the years. My advice? Don't skimp. The same goes for the red pepper profile. I’ve added more over time, but it’s one of those things where you really just want to add it to your liking. I talk through some other ideas in this list of variations as well.

  • Add-ins: I often add other extra quick-cooking vegetables to the skillet along with my spinach. Segments of thin asparagus work well, as does small broccoli or cauliflower florets.
  • Herb It Up: If I have any fresh herbs on hand - chopped cilantro, basil, chives, and/or dill - adding them after the spinach has cooked is a nice way to experiment with the flavor profile.
  • Swap your chiles: Use a chopped serrano chile in place of the red chile flakes for a greener spiciness.
  • Burst of Ginger: Mince a small knob of peeled ginger along with the garlic-shallot paste if you love ginger.

Coconut Spiced Spinach Recipe

Cooking Spinach

The main thing to remember - resist the urge to overcook the spinach. You want to cook it just long enough for it to collapse, cook through, and brighten up. And keep in mind it continues to cook after you pull it from the heat.

Hope you like this as much as I do. And thank you Anjum for the inspiration - I'm really enjoying the Ayurvedic angle of this book.

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Spiced Coconut Spinach

5 from 2 votes

As I mention up above, this spinach makes a great side. I can also imagine it on an open-faced veggie burger, in a taco, in a wrap, etc. Or make a meal of it with some grilled tofu, paneer, or fried egg. You can easily make this vegan by using oil instead of ghee/butter.

  • 1 shallot
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, clarified butter, or sunflower oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup finely sliced asparagus, optional
  • 8 oz / 225g freshly chopped spinach, well washed, stems trimmed
  • squeeze of lemon plus zest
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened wide-strip coconut, lightly toasted
  1. Place the shallot and garlic on a cutting board, sprinkle with the salt, and chop/mash everything into a paste.
  2. Heat the oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Add the seeds and let them toast a bit. Stir in the red pepper flakes and let cook for a minute. Stir in the asparagus if you're using it, let cook roughly another minute, then stir in the garlic-shallot paste and all of the spinach. Keep stirring until the spinach starts collapsing a bit, and brightens up - barely any time at all - perhaps a minute.
  3. Finish with a bit of fresh lemon juice and the coconut.

Serves 2-3.

Inspired and adapted from the Coconut-laced Spiced Spinach recipe in Anjum Anand's Eat Right for your Body Type: The Super-Healthy Detox Diet Inspired by Ayurveda.

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


Looks like a great side dish! I love the addition of coconut on top.


So good, so healthy! Yum!


Well this is not veggie... but I just made some salmon "burger" patties tonight (made with almond flour)- and this spinach topping might give them a really interesting twist. I'll check it out with leftovers tomorrow. I like the versatility here.

Niki (of SI)

i love the flavors you used. veggies + coconut is always a winner for me. I make rice with coconut milk and add veggies like asparagus and green beans...need to try this...just skip the rice and go for the coconut and veggies. looks PERFECT!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

Very interesting. I think I'll give this a shot. I'm glad the asparagus is optional though.


This sounds really good, but I'm confused about the amount of shallots to use. Three shallots total?


This is so my kind of recipe. I love spinach so much. I've never thought to combine it with coconut!

Michelle | Gold-hearted Giel

Way to kick spinach up in an absolutely amazing way! This looks SO good!


Not only do I love toasted coconut but I like all of the items that you paired this spinach dish with. We've been eating quite a few spinach salads for lunch and this would be a nice way to change things up a bit. Thank you 101.

Snippets of Thyme

I like the combination of spinach and coconut :)


I like making spinach as a side dish because it's so unbelievably quick to cook. This coconut version sounds like a must-try and a winner.

Nisrine M.

This sounds so great. I'm not a super huge fan of cooked spinach but may that is because every time I've had it the cook, over cooks it. Wen I make this, I promise I won't over cook the spinach.

Gwenever@Apron Apeal

hi heidi, is anjum's new cookbook a vegetarian one? i thought it might be since it's based on ayurveda, but went to the amazon page and couldn't tell from the description. if it's not, could you tell me how many of the recipes are meat based? thanks! janki HS: Hi Janki - Anjum's book isn't vegetarian. That said, it is HUGE. And there are endless vegetarian recipes in it. I was just tagging recipes to try from it again this afternoon, and kept thinking to myself I'll never be able to get through them all!


Really? You say these flavors worked well together? I'll have to believe you since the other recipes on your site have all been fav's of ours. I love spinach and I have some shaved coconut I'll try to make work. Coconut oil would work well, yes?


i can DEFINITELY handle the heat and would love the extra cumin and pepper. what a heavenly side dish!

Heather (Heather's Dish)

Lately, I've been experimenting with creamed vegetable quiches, and I think this would be an excellent addition to a creamed sweet potato and cabbage quiche! But, I really love it as a side dish - so simple and healthy. Thank you for sharing!


It is so easy to get into an Italian rut with greens -- olive oil, garlic, a dash of hot pepper. It's a GRAND rut, but there are so many more options. I've not taken my greens down the Indian road in some time, and have never included coconut in the mix. I can't wait.


I would never think to put those flavors together but it sounds delicious! Your cooking philosophy sounds like mine: simple, but never boring!

Amanda (Eating Up)

Anjum anand's recipe is very close to kerala's thorans. For this one, just search for 'spinach thoran'. I love making thoran with red chard. Your prep looks great !


I love your recipes. I thought of you this weekend when I dined at the Palm Springs restaurant, John Henry. I had am amazing salad- warm grilled eggplant(sliced very thin like carpaccio) topped with diced tomatoes and chopped garlic and a chiffonade of basil drizzled with an oil and vinegar dressing. It was so simple but soooo tasty. You have to try it!

Linda M

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