Guilt-free Creamless “Creamed” Spinach

By: Jody Paglia Tanzman, RD,LDN,CLC

Now that the weather has turned chilly and Thanksgiving is on the horizon, I have dreams of cozy sweaters and creamy, comforting dishes. While delicious on the lips, those hearty foods that I’m craving aren’t exactly in sync with my stay-fit-and-healthy lifestyle plan. So I decided to create a more nutritious side dish that mimics the lush mouthfeel of the original.

So, how is this creamed spinach guilt-free you ask? Well, it’s vegan and gluten-free, for starters! It also contains wholesome ingredients, like spinach (duh) and nutritional yeast flakes, which lend a hefty dose of iron and B 12, a vitamin that is often lacking in vegan diets. Just a tad of coconut sugar balances out the bitterness of the spinach and emulates the sweetness of heavy cream. It won’t taste quite like the full fat dairy version, but you can feel virtuous indulging in this delicious dish!

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  • 2 tbsp neutral tasting oil such as 100% sunflower oil or organic canola oil (you can also use a vegan butter)
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) shallots, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened (and unflavored) almond milk
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1.5 pounds (680 g) fresh spinach
  • Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish


  1. Heat the butter or oil in a Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Sprinkle with the salt and sauté until the shallots are translucent, about 6 minutes. Make sure to stir often so that the garlic does not burn.
  2. Sprinkle in the brown rice flour, and then the nutritional yeast flakes. Stir so that the flour is evenly distributed.
  3. Pour in the almond milk. Add the coconut sugar, nutmeg and black pepper. Stir and simmer until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach, turning the spinach in the “cream” to make sure it is well coated. Sauté just until the spinach has wilted.
  5. Taste the creamed spinach and add more salt if desired. Place the spinach in a big bowl with a serving fork, and garnish with the toasted sliced almonds. Enjoy!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Servings: 8

  • Nutrition per serving:
  • Calories100
  • Fat4g
  • Saturated Fat0g
  • Cholesterol0mg
  • Sodium230mg
  • Carbohydrates14g
  • Fiber5g
  • Sugars1g
  • Protein 4g

Yields and nutritional information are estimated and will vary depending on produce size and equipment used.

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Jody Paglia Tanzman, RD,LDN,CLC

Jody is a Registered Dietitian and trained professional chef. She is a graduate of Boston University and received her post-baccalaureate degree in dietetics at Hunter College. She also attended the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. Jody has cooked for numerous well-known restaurants and catering companies throughout NYC, including Gramercy Tavern and the green, sustainable catering company, The Cleaver Co. Jody is a frequent recipe contributor to several online blogs. Her articles on gluten and celiac disease have been referenced on numerous websites, and she is currently at work on a gluten-free cookbook. Jody also works as a Culinary Advisor for Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, creating new, high quality menu items that meet strict parameters for nutrition and wellness. Her most favorite job, however, is being a mom to two boys.

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