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Sautéed Spinach, mushrooms, and caramelized onions

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Sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and onions, side dish, vegetarian recipe, how to cook vegetables

The flavors of mushrooms, spinach, caramelized onions, garlic, and Parmesan cheese mingle really well in this vegetarian dish. It’s quite versatile: you can eat it as-is, especially if you’re craving some good-tasting, creamy vegetables.  You can serve it alongside some pasta, ravioli or ready made tortellini. It is also great with grilled steak, pork, or chicken.

For me, personally, this is a favorite side dish for grilled meats. The recipe is flexible: you can exclude the creamy sauce and Parmesan cheese, if you’re trying to eat a little bit healthier (even though the recipe doesn’t use much of either). You can also omit onions if you don’t like them, or, if you don’t have time to caramelize them, just saute  them.

Sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and onions, side dish, vegetarian recipe, how to cook vegetables


Sautéed Spinach, mushrooms, and caramelized onions

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Sautéed Spinach, mushrooms, and caramelized onions


    Step 1. Caramelized onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 onions, medium or large, sliced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Step 2. Adding mushrooms and spinach:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 or 15 small mushrooms, sliced (such as button mushrooms, shiitake, oyster, etc.)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups spinach
  • Optional cream sauce
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


    Step 1. Caramelized onions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on high heat in a large skillet, when oil is heated, add sliced onions and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, constantly stirring with spatula. The onions should start to brown, but without burning (a couple of onions may be burnt here and there, but overall they should not be charred).
  2. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking onions for 10 more minutes, continuing to stir, as onions brown even more without burning. At this point add just a pinch of salt over onions.
  3. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes on medium or low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. Total you should have cooked onions for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and sprinkle onions with a small amount of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Using spatula, mix the onions, scraping the bottom of the pan and coating onions with a pinch of balsamic vinegar you just added.
  5. Step 2. Adding mushrooms and spinach
  6. After you have started cooking onions, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in another pan, and add sliced mushrooms (I used shiitake with stems removed, you can use any small sized mushrooms) and minced garlic. Add just a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook mushrooms and garilc covered for about 20 minutes, occasionally stirring.
  7. Add cooked mushrooms to the pan with caramelized onions, add 3 cups of spinach and stir on low heat just until spinach wilts. Serve as is as a side dish or proceed to make a creamy sauce as below.
  8. Optional cream sauce
  9. Add heavy cream, milk, Parmesan cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the mushroom-onions-spinach mixture on medium-low heat and mix. Stir to coat on low heat for about 5-10 minutes until Parmesan cheese melts and starts to coat the vegetables.
  10. Serve as a side dish along grilled meats.

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{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Shashi @runninsrilankan April 28, 2014, 2:49 pm

    Wow – Julia, your pictures are amazing! I never thought spinach, mushrooms and onions could look THIS good!

  • sarah k @ the pajama chef April 28, 2014, 7:56 pm

    i love sauteed mushrooms…and spinach and onions. this sounds so good!

  • Jaclyn April 28, 2014, 9:41 pm

    Beautiful photos Julia!

  • [email protected] April 29, 2014, 1:21 am

    What a yummy, juicy and flavorful dish! 🙂 ela

  • Chris @ The Café Sucré Farine April 29, 2014, 6:20 am

    Sounds wonderful Julia, I could probably figure out a way to enjoy this for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  • Benitra Colvin May 3, 2014, 3:38 pm

    Made this tonight and everyone had seconds. It was delicious and I followed the recipe exactly as written. Thanks for submitting such a tasty meal.

  • Kelley May 10, 2014, 11:28 pm

    Oh my. This looks amazing! Something I must try asap!

  • Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life May 11, 2014, 8:50 pm

    Oh deliciousness! There is nothing as indulgent and delightful to the senses as mushrooms and cream. Add some pasta and you’ve got a complete meal. Thanks Julia!

  • Tash May 12, 2014, 4:00 am

    Hi Julia,
    This is one of my favourite things to toss with plain pasta and, sometimes if I’m in the mood for it, I’ll throw in some chicken too. Technically, if you remove the spinach and use creme fraiche instead, along with chicken and cidre, it becomes the French dish ‘fricassée’, which we ate quite a bit in France (particularly the Auvergne). Yummy!

  • Jackie May 30, 2014, 11:05 pm

    Made this recipe tonight and it was amazing.

    • Julia July 8, 2014, 3:06 pm

      Thank you, Jackie! I am glad you enjoyed this recipe!

  • Gabrielle November 25, 2014, 6:56 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I made it tonight for my boyfriend and me, I substituted a pint of half and half to make more sauce, and added seared steak tips and pasta. It was amazing!

  • Mary Ann December 6, 2014, 12:59 pm


    This recipe looks fabulous!! I am making it tonight! Love your photos.

    Mary Ann

  • Tanya January 19, 2015, 10:38 pm

    This looks amazing! Could you add red wine to this similar to your Mushroom Sauce recipe?

  • Ayanna Wiggins January 27, 2015, 10:42 pm

    This looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it. Now that I’ve tried a few of your recipes I make sure to keep certain cheeses on hand (and always heavy whipping cream or half and half). I was always a fan of whipping cream but never knew that half and half was an awesome staple to have on hand for creamy sauces. ..YUM!

  • Anastacia Waller January 29, 2015, 5:30 pm

    This looks AMAZING! Cooking it today! Thanks so much for sharing. Hope it turns out as beautiful as your photos look 🙂 I will definitely be trying out more of your recipes!

  • sammie February 6, 2015, 1:16 am

    I made this tonight and it is absolutely delicious.. I made it exactly to receipe with one exception, when it called for salt I only used it at the end and very very little , otherwise I used Mrs. Dash table blend.. I only wish I had made more as my husband also loved it..

  • helen March 25, 2015, 10:03 pm

    Wow! This was YUM! I cut back a little on the onions, but it was still so tasty! Really does make a complete dinner option when served over rice….! I will definitely make this one again, Everyone loved it!

  • Dawn April 13, 2015, 7:22 pm

    I just made this tonight. I did not do the creamy version, but I did add a cup of Orzo to it. I wanted a complete side with veggies and carbs in one…smells delish

  • Amber U. May 25, 2015, 9:04 pm

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight. It was the main dish with the cream sauce. My husband is still raving about it and can’t wait to have the leftovers tomorrow! I am so doing this one again soon!!

  • April August 23, 2015, 11:26 pm

    Recipe was good but website is HORRIBLE. If you Want people to look at your blog then you need to stop all the ads and redirects. I couldn’t even leave this message let alone look at the recipe without being redirected 30 times. Most frustrating thing ever. I will not be using your website again until it is more user friendly.

  • Arron heslin August 24, 2015, 1:56 pm

    Truly stunning flavor thanks for the recipe

  • Lori C August 24, 2015, 6:57 pm

    I made this tonight with a few minor adjustments…added 6 cups of spinach (instead of 3), about 1 lb of cubed grilled chicken, about 1/4 of a cup of additional parm., and light cream (instead of heavy). Hubby & I ate it as a main dish…there was NO leftovers. Excellent recipe 🙂

  • Ruth January 9, 2016, 6:34 am

    Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to serve this on grilled chiabatta as a starter or as a light lunch x

  • Sandy F February 22, 2016, 10:09 pm

    It was absolutely delicious. Followed the recipe. Will make again.

  • dee March 7, 2016, 6:14 pm

    Just made this (without addition of cream) and sliced some leftover steak at the end and added it in. Served with rice. It’s delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

  • Jennifer April 3, 2016, 7:30 pm

    I literally just finished eating a plate of this, made with the cream sauce and mixed with fettuccine noodles. So good. Amazing flavor. I’m going to love eating the leftovers this week…if I can resist eating the rest of it tonight!!

  • ranjan December 28, 2016, 3:54 am

    Its really yummy n adding onion gives a relly good taste

    • Julia January 2, 2017, 11:30 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Susan Irving April 20, 2017, 4:22 pm

    This looks so wonderful…..but I’m wondering what type of onions should be used……white or yellow, or does that not matter??

    Thanks so much

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