Introduce your kids to the deliciousness of quickly cooked greens in this Cheesy Baby Spinach Recipe. It takes about 5 minutes to make and has a soft enough texture for toddlers to be able to chew well! And: The cheese on top really helps to sell it with any green food skeptics.

cheesy greens on divided plate with pink fork

Quick Baby Spinach Recipe with Cheese

My best friends have a little girl named Violet. She’s adorable, smart, and funny—and she absolutely loved cheesy spinach when she was a year old. This was remarkable for many reasons, including that greens are often a tough sell with kids.

But Violet’s mama Virginia is also super smart and she figured out a crazy quick and yummy way to serve up greens that even the littlest eaters love.

My daughter eats this by the bowlful—the cheese makes the spinach really easy to eat with a fork, which she is starting to get the hang of. Otherwise, we just let her self-feed with fingers and wipe the mess up later. We usually serve it alongside scrambled eggs, but it would also be good on top of toast if your kid is up to mixed textures. And sometimes if I’m really lazy, this is dinner and she just eats a whole bowl.

How to Cook Baby Spinach

There are many quick ways to cook baby spinach, but doing it in the microwave means you can have wilted spinach in about 30 seconds, you don’t need to clean a pan, and the nutrients are sealed in since the cooking time is so fast. But if you’d prefer not to use a microwave, you can also make this on a stovetop.

This is a nice option for an iron-rich food that’s crazy fast to cook.

Ingredients You Need

To make this quick and healthy side dish, you’ll need

  • Baby spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Shredded cheese
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt

TIP: You can use shredded cheddar cheese, mozzarella, fontina, gouda, Havarti, or a pizza or taco blend. It’s really quite versatile!

how-to-make-cheesy-greens-step-by-step process

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at how to make this simple spinach recipe. Scroll down to see the full recipe at the bottom of the post.

  1. Gather your ingredients. (photo 1)
  2. Cut the greens with a pair of kitchen shears into thin strips. (photo 2)
  3. Place the greens into a heat-safe bowl and top with the oil and lemon juice. Warm. (photo 3)
  4. Top with cheese and warm just to melt. Add salt if desired. (photo 4)

How to Cook Spinach in the Microwave

I know that using a microwave can get a bad rap, but it’s actually a remarkably fast way to cook greens like spinach. This is a nice way to make a small amount of greens at a time.

Tip: Microwaves don’t emit large doses of radiation. They also preserve nutrients in food while cooking, despite commonly held beliefs that they do the opposite.

Can I make this recipe on the stovetop?

Absolutely! There’s a variation in the recipe, but you’d just change the order of the steps slightly and warm the oil in a pan, then add the spinach, then the cheese and lemon juice. It’s a quick and easy way to make cheesy greens like these.

toddler divided plate with cheesy greens

What other greens can I make this recipe with?

If you’d like to change things up or you find other greens at your market, you can make this recipe using full size spinach, baby kale, regular curly kale, lacinato (or “dinosaur”) kale, or Swiss Chard.

If using kale or chard, remove the leaves from the stems and use the leaves only.

What should I serve this baby spinach recipe with?

This easy spinach recipe pairs well with many things including chicken, quinoa, eggs, meatballs, and more. It’s a healthy side dish that you can pair with almost anything that your family likes.

Best Tips for Success

  • These cheesy greens are best eaten right after making.
  • Use baby spinach, spinach, kale, baby kale, or Swiss chard.
  • Remove the inner stem from greens including kale and chard.
  • Cut greens into small pieces with kitchen shears.
  • To make these dairy-free, omit the cheese and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
  • You can double or triple the recipe to feed more people in your family.
  • You may also like Spinach Baby Food, Sauteed Carrots, Roasted Broccoli, and Steamed Cauliflower.

I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe so please comment below to share.

cheesy greens on divided plate with pink fork

Quick and Cheesy Baby Spinach

Use baby spinach, regular spinach, baby kale, or lacinato (sometimes called dinosaur) kale for best results and easy chewing.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 6 minutes
Cuisine American
Course side
Calories 94kcal
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup loosely packed baby spinach or baby kale (chopped or snipped with kitchen shears into small pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar (or mozzarella, ricotta, or crumbled goat cheese)
  • Salt (to taste)

Instructions

  • Place the greens into a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Drizzle on the olive oil and lemon juice and heat for 30 seconds.
  • Remove from the microwave, top with cheese, and heat for an additional 15-30 seconds until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
  • To make this on the stovetop: Heat a nonstick or stainless skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the greens. Stir to cook until greens are wilted, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat into a bowl. Top with cheese, lemon juice, and salt.

Notes

  • These greens are best eaten right after making.
  • Use baby spinach, spinach, kale, baby kale, or Swiss chard.
  • Remove the inner stem from greens including kale and chard.
  • Cut greens into small pieces with kitchen shears.
  • Dairy-free: Omit the cheese and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
  • Double or triple the recipe to feed more people.

Nutrition

Calories: 94kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 18mg, Sodium: 129mg, Potassium: 187mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2984IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 152mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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