Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Spinach with garlic, raisins, pine nuts, and red pepper flakes might seem like a weird combination, but let me tell you, it’s absolutely terrific and quick to put together.


I’ve been making this dish forever. Where did I first discover it, I wonder. Maybe in a Spanish or Italian restaurant, or one of my cookbooks. It’s been part of my repertoire for decades as a side or tossed with spaghetti or linguine.

And just like that I’m thinking about pasta. I love pasta too much. When I lived alone, I think I ate pasta several nights a week. I say “I think” because I really don’t want to admit how much pasta I used to eat. A pasta like this is so easy to put together. Sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese are fantastic additions. Lordy, I’m daydreaming now about pasta and I’m not even hungry.

Focus, Deirdre. Okay, usually when we receive a bag of spinach in our CSA, we use it for salads, but last time, the spinach smelled so good and looked so rich and earthy that I could think of nothing else except this recipe. Jim says he doesn’t like fruit and other sweet things in savory dishes but he gobbled this up.

I added the leftovers to an omelet. The raisins and pine nuts were strange surprises while I ate, but it worked for me. A good deal of our leftover greens end up in my breakfast omelets. They’re more like frittatas that I finish on the stove top by putting a lid on the pan. I cut them in thirds and put them in pita bread for a breakfast sandwich. Sometimes, strike that, usually I add a little cheese to the top of the omelet because I can’t help myself. This is how I live.

Spinach with Garlic, Raisins and Pine Nuts recipe | Grabbing the Gusto

Spinach with Garlic, Raisins and Pine Nuts | Grabbing the Gusto

Spinach with Garlic, Raisins and Pine Nuts

You’ll need a ramekin or small bowl, and a large pan.

  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion or 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3-4 smashed garlic cloves—I cut them in half first to remove the germ then smash them.
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 10 to 14 ounces spinach
  • Salt and pepper

Soak raisins in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Drain. Dab them dry with a towel or paper towel.

Heat olive oil over low to medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, pine nuts and raisins. Cook until the garlic goldens. Increase the heat to medium and stir in the spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it wilts. Season with salt and pepper.


4 years ago on Gusto: Modern Colcannon

2 thoughts on “Spinach with Garlic, Raisins and Pine Nuts

  1. megmeyer411 says:

    I feel like I’ve had this before…maybe at Jaleo? Anyway, thanks for the recipe – it sounds great, Deirdre!

    1. deirdrereid says:

      Yes, Meg, I think I’ve had it there before too and maybe that’s the source. Thanks for prompting my memory!

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