The Absolutely Fastest Way to Cook Spinach

“Spinach never seemed to do much for Popeye’s intelligence – but….people who eat substantial quantities of leafy green vegetables are less likely to experience cognitive decline in old age.”

The Week, 20 December 2018

Popeye was eating spinach for the iron, in order to become stronger and be able to stand up to the bully, Brutus. He was usually brainy enough to keep him in check…. but now neither of us are spring chickens, and maybe we should redouble our efforts.

Thankfully, I don’t think any vegetable cooks faster than spinach, and with this method you don’t even get a pan dirty, so increased intake should be a doddle.

If you yearn to be a fancy-pants, you can go Roman and add crushed garlic, pine nuts and raisins (ideally pre-soaked in Earl Grey tea). Alternatively you can veer towards the middle east, retaining the garlic and adding tahina.

Things to do with spinach

  • add ginger, garlic and chilli to the pan before you wilt
  • use it as a colourant to turn a Thai curry emerald or turn a pasta dough green
  • make spinach and walnut pesto
  • add cream and a chicken stock cube and blitz to make a quick creamed spinach
  • add to a cheese quiche
  • use large leaves to line a saddle of lamb and then fill with black pudding, or mushrooms, or sausagemeat

Fastest spinach-cooking method in the West

All you have to do is:

  1. boil a big kettle
  2. empty your bag of ready washed spinach into a big colander and put it in the kitchen sink
  3. pour the water all over the spinach
  4. stir around in the colander to drain
  5. add a walnut of butter and a teaspoon of Marmite, and few grinds of pepper… and even nutmeg if you want… stir in; or, alternatively the juice and zest of half a lemon; or equal parts of sesame oil and thick soy sauce, with some furikake ….


Bob is your uncle.

fastest way to cook spinach
pour the water over the spinach, covering every surface, every leaf you can see
fastest way to cook spinach
simply add butter, Marmite and freshly ground pepper

Nigella Lawson’s alternative approach

I don’t think this approach is faster than mine, but the stabbing element is obviously therapeutic. This is her description:

“I stab each bag frenziedly with a fork (which I very much enjoy) giving each a few minutes’ blast in the microwave, one by one, and trying not to burn myself as I rip the bags open to tip the wilted leaves into the waiting colander.”

Nigella Lawson, Cook, Eat, Repeat
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