Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms is an easy and savory side dish, excellent served with beef, chicken or fish. Originally published in October 2016, updated and republished in June 2021. Disclosure: some of the wines suggested as a pairing were provided as a complimentary sample.
We typically keep a 16 oz. container of greens in our fridge. More often than not, those greens are deployed in a tasty salad, like this Smoky Maple Greens and Cabbage Salad. But I do like to cook up a side with baby spinach sometimes, and this Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms recipe is the latest example. Good news is the spinach and mushrooms dish doesn’t take much longer to cook than making a salad.
Recently I’ve also enjoyed this recipe with fresh spinach from our local farmshare.
Sometimes I’ll simply sauté spinach with a bit of garlic and olive, making for a quick side. But sautéing spinach with mushrooms adds a depth of flavor that made it a good partner for the grilled steak and other meats. This also made the sautéed spinach and mushrooms a good partner for red wine–more on that to follow. Topping the dish off with a bit of cheddar cheese also added some good savoriness to the recipe.
About the recipe
The method here starts with a basic approach to sautéing mushrooms, something I will often do to create a sauce to top meat or fish. I melt a little butter in a large skillet, then soften some shallots and garlic before adding the mushrooms.
The mushrooms are first cooked until they “sweat”–that is, some of the moisture begins to visibly get cooked out of the mushroom. The mushrooms get finished by simmering in red wine and herbs. The spinach gets added to wilt at the end of cooking, and you are ready to serve the sautéed spinach and mushrooms with your entree.
This is a recipe where there are a lot of options to mix things up based on what ingredients you have available, and still follow the same basic recipe process. Below I highlight the major ingredients and options for variation.
Mushrooms: The recipe calls for sliced button mushrooms. For ease of preparation, I often by them pre-sliced. But the sliced mushrooms don’t keep as long; if you aren’t making this soon after shopping, I’d recommend buying whole mushrooms and slicing them yourself. I have also used baby bella mushrooms in this recipe, and they add nice flavor.
Spinach: We often have packaged baby spinach on hand, and this sautéed spinach recipe is a great way to use it when it is starting to look a bit tired. But the last time I made this recipe, I used fully grown spinach from our local farmshare. The large spinach really shrinks down! Don’t be afraid to start with a lot; we used the whole bunch.
Butter: We call for butter, but have also used extra virgin olive oil at the start of the recipe as well as when adding the spinach. When going for the butter option, we typically use Earth Balance spread, which we are more likely to have on hand than dairy butter.
Red wine: Any dry red wine will do. You can use a wine you might be opening for dinner if you can spare a glass! When I have leftover wine–yes, it does happen sometimes–I save it for cooking.
Step by step
Below find some step by step photos. Jump down to the recipe card for full instructions.
Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium heat to get things started.
Sauté the shallots in the melted butter. When they start to soften, you are ready to add the mushrooms.
Start to cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally.
Stir the red wine into the skillet after the mushrooms have begun to sweat. This video has a breakdown on the process of sweating mushrooms if you’re not familiar. Oh yes, I am pouring the wine right from the bottle here, measuring the amount I need by eye.
Gradually add the spinach into the skillet and sauté. Spinach starts out bulky but cooks down quickly. Adding it in a few batches keeps the raw spinach from spilling out of the pan.
Finish the dish by sprinkling some shredded Parmesan cheese or cheddar, if desired.
What to serve with this recipe
What to serve with sautéed spinach and mushrooms? I will cover wine in a minute. Here are some ideas for some main courses that would be good to serve along with this easy side dish (Cooking Chat recipes unless otherwise noted):
- Easy Grilled Steak Tips
- Rotisserie Style Chicken from That Skinny Chick Can Bake.
- Oven Roasted Sirloin Steak
- Meatloaf Recipe with Crackers from Pip and Ebby.
- Simple Pan Seared Salmon
OK, I don’t pair to the side dish per se. But the mushrooms are red wine friendly, and this is a good side dish for steak. So red wine is my first inclination.
We originally had the Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms with a bottle of 2013 Flora Springs Trilogy ($80), which I got as a courtesy sample from the Napa Valley winery. I picked this wine first and foremost to have with our grilled ribeye steak. If you are going to open a special bottle of wine like the Trilogy, you also want to have sides that will complement the wine. In other words, no steamed spinach please!
The Trilogy wine has a complex flavor profile with some blackberry and currant fruit, along with menthol and oak. The Trilogy is a pretty wine, with rose petals on the finish. It was great with the steak, as you might suspect, but also went along nicely with the spinach and mushrooms. The earthiness of the mushrooms and the cheddar cheese definitely make the side dish tie in nicely to the wine as well as the steak.
Now, the Trilogy is great but you don’t have to spend $80 to find a nice pairing for this recipe. Other good quality Cabs or Cab blends would also work here. Pinot Noir is also a good choice to pair with the mushrooms in the dish…you might consider plating this sautéed spinach and mushrooms along with roast chicken or turkey, and serving it with a Pinot.
Rosé and white wine options
When remaking this dish recently, I was serving it along with some pan seared sea bass and garlic scape pesto pasta. So a big red wine wasn’t the way to go!
Instead, we opened a very good Provence rosé, the 2020 Peyrossol Cuvee des Commandeurs (appx. $25). I get watermelon and bubblegum on the nose, some salinity on the palate, which was nice with the fish. Definitely a good rosé, and worked with our meal.
If you are serving the spinach and mushrooms as a side for a light meal, and want to open a white wine, I would go for a Chardonnay or a white Rhone blend. The fuller bodied whites tend to work better with the mushrooms.Print
Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms
Spinach and mushrooms sautéed with a bit of butter, shallots and herbs for an easy and tasty side dish.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Yield: 3 servings 1x
- Category: Side dish
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1 tsbp butter or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp shallot (about 1 medium) minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 10 ozs button mushrooms, sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup red wine
- ½ tsp dried sage
- ½ tsp thyme
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves
- 2 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese or Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat.
- Add the shallots, cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute more.
- Start to cook the mushrooms: Stir in the mushrooms, add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until they begin to sweat, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the red wine, thyme and sage. Cook until the wine is mostly absorbed, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Sauté the spinach: Add the olive oil, then gradually stir in the spinach. Sauté for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted.
- Serve: Plate the sautéed spinach and mushrooms, sprinkling a bit of the optional cheese on top if using.
- You can use a small onion instead of a shallot if you like.
- We sometimes use olive oil instead of butter to start the sautéing.
- Baby bella mushrooms can be used instead of button mushrooms.
- You can also use fully grown spinach in this recipe. It cooks down even more than baby spinach, so you can start with 5 or 6 cups of spinach in this case. Or simply use a full bunch, which is what we did.
Keywords: spinach, sautéed spinach, side dishes, vegetable sides