Easy creamy spinach pasta sauce that works for salmon, pasta, chicken, scallops, shrimp and more!
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Read on for useful tips and step-by-step video and process pictures (1 min)
Spinach Cream Sauce
Our recipe delivers in just minutes and is truly multi-purpose. Whether it is tortellini with spinach cream sauce you are craving or creamy spinach chicken – dinner will be ready pronto!
Based on a classic technique it calls for heavy cream, a handful of flavorful ingredients to infuse its base with savory goodness and fresh spinach. It is very stable, can be reheated without problems (unlike butter based sauces) and is quite light despite its luxurious, suave texture which might lead you to believe otherwise.
Chef and home cook tried and true it can easily become one of your favorite recipes. You will need the following few ingredients and less than fifteen minutes to prepare it.
Ingredients for Creamy Spinach Pasta Sauce
Olive oil. We recommend extra virgin for its more robust flavor.
Onion & garlic. Both of these aromatic ingredients are needed to form the savory dimension of the sauce.
White wine. To give an acidic, flavorful depth to the base of the sauce. You can use a beer like saison, Munich helles, pilsner or American craft lager instead, or simply a bit of vegetable or chicken stock.
Chicken base (or stock). If you use chicken base you save yourself a few minutes of reducing the base for the sauce, because it is already Stock will obviously take a bit longer, but it is a perfectly fine strategy if you do not have chicken base on hand.
Heavy cream. Do not attempt to make this recipe with regular cream or half and half. Heavy cream has the right fat content in order not to break during simmering. Its stability is essential.
Spinach. If using baby spinach you can add it whole, if regular spinach take care to remove the stems and also give it a rough chop before you begin the recipe. You may use frozen chopped spinach as a last resort – this will add a few extra minutes to the total time.
Salt and pepper (optional red pepper flakes). To season, to taste.
Make the base. In a sauce pan over medium heat sauté the finely chopped onion until soft. Add the minced garlic and sauté another 40 seconds or so. Add the white wine and the chicken base and gently stir to combine. Allow a couple of minutes for the wine to reduce by about half.
Add the main ingredients. Add the heavy cream, then simmer the sauce to thicken it just a bit. Carefully add the spinach, fold it into the sauce and allow it to wilt – about 2 minutes.
Season. After you are satisfied with the consistency of the sauce, taste it and season with salt and pepper as needed.
TIPS: If using chicken stock instead of base, first allow the wine to reduce, then add the stock. It will take some extra time for the chicken stock to reduce by about two thirds. Only then add the heavy cream. You can add up to 1/2 cup more heavy cream to the same base than the recipe calls for without diluting the flavor too much (see Recipe Card).
Salmon with Spinach Cream Sauce
The easiest way is to pan sear salmon fillet (use this recipe) at the same time you are making the sauce. Simply start the salmon on the stove, then transfer it to the oven to finish cooking while you are getting the sauce ready.
Spinach cream sauce also goes great with grilled or oven roasted salmon.
How to Use This Cream Sauce with Spinach for Pasta
You can either ladle the ready sauce over al dente cooked noodles, tossed in a bit of olive oil and then plated OR you can discard the pasta water, keep the noodles in the pot where you cooked them and add the sauce to them. The second method will give a chance to the pasta to absorb the flavor infused cream better.
A bit of grated Parmesan and a pinch of red pepper flakes round up the perfect creamy spinach fetuccine bowl!
How to Make Creamy Spinach Chicken
To make chicken with spinach cream sauce first handle the chicken.
- Bring your choice of breast, cutlets or skinless thighs to room temperature, season with salt and pepper and dredge in a bit of flour, shaking off excess.
- In a large pan, over medium-high, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and brown the chicken on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side (depending on the type of cut), until all pieces are nice and golden brown. Set aside and keep warm.
- In a separate pan make the spinach cream sauce as per the recipe. Pour it over the browned chicken, cover the pan and simmer on medium until the chicken is completely cooked through.
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Spinach Cream Sauce for Salmon, Pasta, Chicken, Seafood
Recipe for multi-purpose creamy spinach sauce - suitable for pasta, salmon, chicken, seafood like shrimp and scallops, even crab and lobster meat. Easy to make on the stove top in just a few minutes.
- 1 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin recommended)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine (to deglaze pan)*
- 1 tsp chicken base**
- 1 cup heavy cream***
- 4 cups spinach (baby spinach (whole leaves) or regular (roughly chopped, stems trimmed)
- salt and pepper, to taste for seasoning
1. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the finely chopped onion until soft, then stir in the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 40 seconds.
2. Deglaze with the white wine, then add the chicken base and gently stir to combine. Allow a couple of minutes for the wine to reduce by about half.
3. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce a little bit. Carefully add the spinach, folding it into the sauce. Allow another minute or two for it to wilt.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*you can substitute with beer (like saison, pilsner or American craft lager) OR stock (chicken or vegetable).
**substitute with equivalent bouillon cube (about 1 cube, crushed) or 1/2 cup chicken broth. If using broth note that the time to reduce will increase, you will need to simmer for a bit longer until liquids in pan are reduced by about 2/3.
***you can increase the heavy cream by up to 1/2 without altering the rest of the ingredients, you may need to season a bit more aggressively in the end, depending on your taste. Be sure to use fresh heavy cream. Its fat content is perfect for simmering and it creates the beautiful texture of this sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 259Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 187mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g
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