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


i really enjoy the simplicity here. thanks for sharing!


Thanks, Heidi. This was delicious. I served it on top of quinoa and put cubed avocado on top. Yum. I just ordered your new cookbook. It should be here tomorrow and I'm excited!

Andi Sutherland

This is what I love about your recipes. Got into the kitchen with this recipe and substituted so many ingredients I made something entirely different - but just as delicious! Followed the process though, and the seasonings - almost! Thanks for the inspiration - at least it gets me experimenting! Cheers x

Ruth Stephens

Oh my that looks simply wonderful! I love wilted spinach, typically I put bacon in mine..lol.. Maybe I'd better try this healthier version!

Rocky Mountain Woman

I think would also be great with the spinach left raw,


This was incredible. I've never liked asparagus, but I've been trying to befriend it since it is an early spring treat (or so I've heard)... and in this dish, the spices allowed the bitterness of the asparagus to mellow in their wake! I had to make some subs, didn't have all the seeds handy or shallots, so used some spring onions to saute (rather than paste) and coriander with cumin. Will make this again and again!


Love this! Sadly, my hubby does not at all like the texture of cooked spinach, but on the bright side, more for me! I loved this mix of flavors and I think I will try the same technique with some different veggies next time.


I have to try this recipe! I liked the spinach.


I made this last night, OMG! It was delicious! I could have eaten the whole thing. I served it with quinoa and walked some up to my sister's house in the side yard. She told me this morning she ate the whole plate, and that was after she had already had her own supper. I did use asparagus too. Thank you so much, I just love your blog! The most interesting food ideas, among other things.

Robin Roncari

I am a huge fan of Indian spinach dishes. There is an amazing restaurant in my hometown of Stellenbosch (South Africa) called Bhukara where they have this pureed spinach as a side dish. Never been able to copy it! But the flavours you used for your spinach sounds like it might get close, so I'll have to try it!

The Food Fox - Ilse van der Merwe

What a lovely combination of ingredients! It looks like a great dinner party dish too. Can't wait to try it.


This look delish! And from a British chick (Anjum) too! Bonus! I have two of her books and love them both to bits!


I can't wait to try this recipe! Spinach is a part of our daily menu, somehow, someway, and the coconut addition sounds very exciting!

Rolanda Connors

Another winning dish from you, Heidi! Thanks for rescuing the spinach in my frig from the same old recipe tonight.


Simple, but not boring, recipes are my favorite. This looks so interesting!

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}

I've followed your blog for a few months now and have been in awe of your ability to throw seemingly random flavours together to make something absolutely delicious. I tried this recipe last night as a side to the pappardelle with spiced butter and it was a happy dinner indeed. Thank you for inspiring us! HS: Sounds like a great combo Reva!


I would have never thought of putting spinach and coconut together but since they are two of my favorite things I'll have to try this one. Great photos as always.

Ciao Florentina

wow! YES PLEASE! great recipe!


I really like the way you showed a way you would serve this as a lunch or supper. One less decision to make tonight. Thx.


Instead of red chilli flakes, powdered black pepper 1]2 teaspoon can be added. while seasoning, pinch of asofoetida can be added.


I was thinking about taking a stab at homemade paneer cheese this weekend and this sounds like the perfect accompaniment. And even if the cheese doesn't turn out, at least I know I'll have a delicious meal anyway. Thanks for sharing!


This sounds like a heavenly combination of flavours. I adore cumin seeds and to pair that with coconut and spinach must be so delicious! I can't wait to try this.

Maria @ Scandifoodie

P.S. Yes, whole dish all eaten up by my lonesome! Fabulous! Btw i added the shallot and garlic with the red pepper flakes and sauteed all of that for about 3 minutes before adding the spinach.

Katherine Deumling (Cook With What You Have)

Oh my god. . eating this for lunch this minute. I fried an egg and topped it with that. I'm going to eat the whole batch in one sitting. So lovely Heidi. Thanks for sharing. Oh and I only had larger, flaked coconut that i broke up a bit in my hand and toasted. completely wonderful.

Katherine Deumling

awesome recipe - i am always looking for interesting things to do with spinach.

laura @ glutton for nourishment

this would be great to use in an Indian tofu scramble recipe with spinach, but use this spinach recipe instead. and served with curry potatoes


Exactly what I was looking for. Thx for the, as always, clear and inspiring post.


This flavor combination sounds wonderful, especially with throwing a fried egg into the mix!

Anne @ Baking Me

I love cooking up my spinach in some coconut oil but, as much as I love it, I NEVER thought of cumin, or shredded coconut! Thanks for the great idea!


I will happily eat spinach in any shape, form or size. Add coconut to the mix and I'm practically swooning! Also, the simplicity of the whole thing doesn't hurt either!

Katy from DiningwithDusty

I am having friends to dinner - planning on making the the curry noodles (Big Slurp....) from Super Natural Cooking, and I think this might be a nice side. I'll let you know!

Kathleen Curran-Cheng

I am always looking for something new to do with spinach. This sounds like a winner with my husband; he loves spicy foods. Thanks

Kathy Wolf

This sounds delightful. I love simple versatile dishes that whip up in minutes. That is perfection.

France @beyondthepeel

Oh my, this sounds good! I have everything to make it too, except for the spinach, so I'll use some kale instead, yum!


Great idea! It might even work (cold or hot) with chickpeas or lentils as a main dish. How about sauteeing the garlic and spices and tossing with uncooked chopped spinach as a salad?

Donna at Cooking + Praying

No matter how low the heat, my mustard seed become crunchy but too bitter to eat. I've solved the problem by substituting mustard oil in the recipes calling for seeds and adding Nigella (black seeds) when required for color and crunch. I'll be using it in this recipe as well. You might like to try it too.

jan dash

This is so unique, but it looks great! My husband loves cooked spinach, I'll have to try this twist on it.

Rachel @ Rachel's Recipe Reviews

Since i am now addicted to your special quesedillas, this whole meal looks awesome! I love the coconut.


Sounds delightful. I am always looking for new ways to cook greens, I am sure it be great with other greens like kale or chard too. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


This sounds like a lovely way to cook spinach! I've been a bit of a rut lately with my vege side dishes, so I'll definitely be giving this a try! I love the addition of cumin and coconut. How delightful!

Brooke (The Flour Sack)

Mmmm, love the mustard and cumin seeds! And how versatile this is. Our local asparagus is going to be ready very soon and I've started some spinach in my garden. How awesome would that be to use a bunch of my local ingredients.

Heidi @ Food Doodles

This is like no spinach I've ever had... and it looks amazing! Can't wait to try it!


Fabulous flavour combinations here, way to rock-star spinach up. I love the sound of it over farro too, yum! Heidi xo

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

I have come to love fresh spinach...so flavorful and I bet this coconut pairs nicely....asparagus is another of my favorites so I am excited to create this dish. Thanks Heidi...

The Healthy Apple

Totally inspired Heidi. I love to make a quick creamed spinach so today I threw in some toasted coconut and mashed garlic, spooned it over a pile of lemony quinoa and it was divine. Thank you~


Thanks, Heidi. I've been needing to change up my spinach routine for a while now. I love creamed spinach, but it doesn't quite feel like the season for it anymore.


Well, that is exciting. Off to buy the spinach now.l

Sarah S.

Looks lovely! I'm going to make it tonight with some cardamom brown buttery rice! Thanks.

The Grazer

I have this wonderful husband that cannot get enough spinach. Seriously it is all he wants to eat since the day I met him. I have never thought of adding a bit of coconut but this is a wonderful idea!


I made this for lunch today...It was as promised...quick, easy and DELICIOUS! I only had ground mustard and cumin, but it was still delicious!!! I will make this often!


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