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


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!


All kinds of vegetables lend themselves to this kind of preparation green beans, cabbage, carrots, broccoli.


I love green recipes with plenty of spices, aromatics and heat alike. It feels good to eat like this. Thanks Heidi.


Love this flavour combination, Heidi. We're heading into winter here in Australia so there is an abundance of greens both in the markets & the veggie patch - we'll definitely give this one a go (although we might have to wait a few months before we try it with asparagus).

Erin @ she cooks, she gardens

Oooh, I really like the sound of this dish. It seems like it would be really fragrant and just bursting with flavor!

Jen @ keepitsimplefoods

This sounds wonderful. I love spinach. I had a spinach salad for dinner last night and as a kid growing up I ate so much of it that everyone called me Popeye. Yum and with coconut too it sounds fantastic. I'm looking forward to trying this. Thanks for sharing.

Vicki Bensinger

That is an interesting spinach dish, I have a spinach dish I had planned to make and I think I will incorporate some of this dish, sort of a combination of the two. Thanks for the inspiration. ~Brenda

Sense of Home Kitchen

This is the change up my greens need. We are nearly sick of asparagus, but it is still everywhere, so this is a nice way for it to take a back seat a different treatment. Thanks.

Amanda at Enchanted Fig

This sounds perfectly gorgeous, and is just the thing to make the everyday something special. Know I'm gonna love it! - S

Oui, Chef

Heidi thank you for sharing this simple meal. I just had a baby and appreciate tasty and quick meals. There is not much time for extensive food prep these days! I'm going to toss this spinach recipe with some quinoa!

Noelle @ greenlemonade.com

This sounds great! I love to flash cook spinach and this will expand what I do with it, but I have a question about the shallots: Are there three shallots in this recipe? The way they are listed, but not mentioned as being used in two different ways has me wondering. Thanks!

Jane Hasenmueller

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