Why Garlic Spinach And White Beans Is Our Go-To Healthy Side Dish
How many times have you settled on an entrée only to scratch your head and wonder, “what the heck do we serve with it?”
Often times we’re looking for something that is both nutritious and filling, which can be a tough combo. But that’s the beauty of garlic spinach and white beans. You get all the healthy nutrients from a leafy green vegetable, and the ‘keep you full longer’ power from the legumes.
Time and time again, we find ourselves pairing everything from rotisserie chicken to pan seared scallops, even chicken milanese with a simple vegetable side dish like this.
Bonus? It’s super inexpensive and has a total prep + cook time of 10 minutes. Yes, please!
Ingredients for Garlic Spinach and White Beans
- Garlic cloves, thinly slices
- White beans, such as navy beans, great northern beans, or cannelini beans (any beans that are white and creamy!)
- Baby spinach
- Fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Capers, drained
As with most vegetable side dishes, we recommend finishing them with a drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt. You’ll be amazed how this can liven up a dish!
How To Make Garlic Spinach And White Beans
- Heat a saucepan with olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add garlic and sauté until fragrant and light golden brown, about 30 seconds.
- Add drained beans and sauté about 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add spinach.
- Pour in lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Cook until spinach is just wilted, about 1-2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in chives, parsley, and capers. Serve immediately or set aside and eat later at room temperature. Just before serving, sprinkle with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and a drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil.
Can This Be Made Ahead?
We prefer to eat this hot, mostly because sautéed spinach and garlic is (in our minds) superior to room temperature cooked spinach, however it’s totally safe and more than fine to leave this out and eat at room temp!
Garlic spinach and white beans also reheats exceptionally well in a microwave just before serving, so there’s that option too.
What To Serve With Sautéed Spinach
Garlic spinach and white beans is a simple (but flavorful!) weeknight vegetable side. Doesn’t take much to round out the meal, just a quick protein. We listed our favorites above, but there is no shame in a store-bought rotisserie chicken, which saves us on at least 2 or 3 occasions each month.
Are Spinach And White Beans Healthy?
Oh hell yes they are! Garlic spinach and white beans is totally our idea of health food. Spinach is rich in vitamins A, C, K and is loaded with iron and magnesium.
White beans, on the other hand, are packed with fiber and protein, helping to keep you fuller longer. Together they make one hell of a healthy side dish that is nutritious and overwhelmingly good for your body. We’ll take it!
Cannot express how much we love sautéed spinach with garlic (a staple in our home for over a decade), but the addition of white beans, lemon juice, and fresh herbs takes this over the top. Try it tonight and thank us tomorrow!
If you make this Garlic Spinach and White Beans recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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For more healthy side dishes, check out the following recipes:
- Roasted broccolini
- Sicilian cauliflower
- Golden beet salad with horseradish
- Tandoori roasted carrots
- Roasted butternut squash with za’atar
Garlic Spinach with White Beans
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 (15 oz) can small white beans rinsed and drained, such as navy beans or great northern beans
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice about ½ large lemon
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt
- pinch of black pepper
- 1 Tbsp chives thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp parsley chopped
- 1 Tbsp capers drained
- Flaky sea salt for serving
- High quality extra virgin olive oil for serving
- Cook the garlic. Heat a saucepan with 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add 3 cloves sliced garlic and sauté until fragrant and light golden brown, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in beans and spinach. Add 1 can drained beans and sauté about 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add3 cups fresh spinach.
- Finish, then serve. Pour in 1 Tbsp lemon juice, then season with ¼ tsp Kosher salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cook until spinach is just wilted, about 1-2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in1 Tbsp chives, 1 Tbsp parsley, and 1 Tbsp drained capers. Serve immediately or set aside and eat later at room temperature. Just before serving, sprinkle with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and a drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil.
- White beans we’d recommend for this recipe: navy beans, great northern beans, cannelini beans. Note that some brands of canned beans have more starch than others, and might break apart during cooking — this won’t affect the taste, just the appearance.
- We do not recommend substituting with garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black beans, or other dark bean.
- Swiss chard is a great replacement for spinach! Remove rib stems, chop finely, and sauté these first for 3-4 minutes until tender. Then begin sautéing garlic, white beans, and chopped swiss chard leaves.