Food, Recipes

Vegan Salad Recipes: Turkish Spinach with Dill (Ispanak)


Vegan Salad Recipes: Turkish Spinach with Dill (Ispanak)
Do you ever have those days where things just go wrong? This morning, I started off making an unwanted trip to Whole Foods (forgot to buy something there yesterday), and got my arm and chest scratched by my normally sweet cat. Then I realized I forgot yet another item so made my way again to farmer’s market to get some dill for this recipe. Then, once I was done and ready to take photos, my camera stopped working. So *not* the day I’d envisioned for my first day-off after working 9 days straight.

Sometimes things just don’t go your way. I guess the only thing to do is remember all the times when they did go your way (such as when I dropped my camera lens off a cliff and it wasn’t even scratched) and stay cool, stay cool.

The photos are not as comely this time (my iPhone 4 camera is barely passable, but I like holding onto things that work fine). But the great news is that the recipe turned out great! I made this Turkish spinach with dill inspired by an amazing dish called Zeytinyagli Ispanak I had at Beyoglu on the Upper East Side. They serve this with yogurt sauce, which I of course asked to take off. This is by far one of my favorite ways to eat spinach, ever! It’s soft and almost creamy but not soggy or mushy, and dill marries perfectly with spinach, onions, and garlic. I honestly think spinach is normally a little boring, but this dish makes it incredibly elevated while being perfectly simple. It’s one of those magical vegan side dishes that I could eat and eat, just like my cucumber noodle salad. With such simple flavors, the trick is to prepare it well–here’s how!

Turkish Spinach with Dill (Ispanak)


Prep Time: 05 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 1/3-1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • to taste sea salt
  • to taste fresh black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1. Wash spinach very thoroughly using a large bowl and a colander. Make sure you do at least a few rinses, since gritty spinach is no good!
2. Drain, trim, and chop the spinach roughly.
3. In a large saute pan with lid, heat the oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add onions. Saute lightly stirring for about 6-7 minutes, or until completely translucent.
4. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
5. Add about half the spinach, salt, and stir. Put the lid back on for about a minute. Open the lid and add the rest of the spinach. Putting it in by batches keeps them from becoming mushy.
6. Cook for another 2 minutes or so until dark green, shiny and soft. Remove from heat and add into the large bowl that you used to wash the spinach. Add fresh dill, combine, and put in the fridge (or freezer) to cool completely.
7. Adjust seasoning to taste with more sea salt and fresh black pepper. Add more fresh dill on top and garnish with lemon. Bon appetit!

Photo: Peaceful Dumpling

Juhea Kim
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Juhea now lives in NYC with her Oreo cookie cat, Zeus. When she is not writing, she enjoys running in Central Park, yoga, and teaching Barre classes. Follow Juhea on Instagram @peacefuldumpling, Google+ and Pinterest.
  • KathyKale

    Delicious. I have been using Gaham Masala spice when I cook spinach and onions. The dill was so refreshing. I did add a squeeze of lemon too.


    • Juhea Kim

      yay! i’m so glad you liked it! garam sounds like an excellent addition. I saw some recipes online that called for nutmeg in this recipe (though I didn’t detect it at the restaurant). Garam would add that slightly sweet / nutty / savory flavor!

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