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Greens for Garlic Lovers: an Easy Recipe

Spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil.

Sauteed Spinach with Garlic and Olive Oil
Spinaci Saltati all’ Aglio e Olio

Spinach was supposedly the favourite vegetable of Catherine de’ Medici. Dishes served on a bed of spinach are known as “Florentine”, reflecting Catherine’s birth in Florence. (Source: Wikipedia)

This green vegetable dish is one of our favorites. We make it in one pound batches and savor regularly for breakfast with roasted roots and scrambled eggs as well as with any dinner. We have been wowed by it in Tuscany, especially dining at Trattoria ZaZa, a popular historic restaurant in the bustling Piazza del Mercato Centrale in the heart of Florence. We go there every year when we stay in Florence before or after our Gentle Yoga in Tuscany retreat! Relatively easy and quick to prepare, it will fill your home with intoxicating aromas of sizzling garlic.

You can substitute any of your other favorites greens like varieties of kale or mustard greens. You can add a bunch of watercress to any of these sautéed greens dishes.


20 cloves of garlic
1lb. baby spinach
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

13” cast iron skillet and cover
cutting board
chef’s knife

Chop garlic cloves.
Heat olive oil on low-medium flame until heat vapors begin to rise.
Add garlic to oil.
Spread garlic evenly in pan.
Turn heat to low.
Cook 1 – 2 minutes.

minced garlic sizzling in olive oil in cast iron skillet

Add all the spinach (it will be heaping).

heap of fresh spinach in cast iron skillet


Cast iron skillet on low heat with cover on.

After three minutes, stir.

Spinach after three minutes of cooking.

Cook on lowest heat, covered, until spinach has softened. I like to cook them till they’re quite soft at a low heat or even a simmer, covered for 25 – 30 minutes rather than the usual quick 15 minutes. Stir only once after it has cooked down.

Fully cooked spinach with garlic.

Serve and enjoy!