Creamy Coconut Spinach with Squid

If I didn’t live in Hawaii I’m pretty sure that I would have skipped right over this recipe.  I’m the first to admit that spinach, squid and coconut milk doesn’t necessarily sound like the most appealing combination.  But luckily we have a very similar dish in Hawaii, squid luau, which comes standard on most Hawaiian buffets that I know and love.

The original recipe used taro (also called luau in Hawaii) leaves, but I’m guessing that few of you have access to fresh taro leaves like I do.  But the spinach is an excellent substitution and even easier to use and cook.

What to eat it with?  Because Hawaiian plate lunch combinations are ingrained into my brain, my vote will always go to kalua pork, rice, and lomi salmon.  Forget pineapple chicken- this is the true taste of the Pacific.


Creamy Coconut Spinach with Squid

Yield: 6-8 side servings


* 2 pounds baby spinach leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 Tablespoons butter
* 1 onion, diced
* 1 pound calamari/squid, cut into thin rings
* 13.5 ounce can coconut milk (about 1-2/3 cups)
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar


Bring one cup of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the spinach, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and drain.

In a large saute or frying pan heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent. Add the calamari and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the drained spinach, coconut milk, the remaining salt and the sugar and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to simmer until most of the liquid had evaporated.

    Pin It

8 Responses to “Creamy Coconut Spinach with Squid”

  1. #
    emilialiveslife — March 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Wow, this looks amazing (though, if I am being honest, I'm not too sure on the squid…). Though I love spinach, I would try this with taro if I could, I'm sure it's delicious as well. Can't wait to try this out! :)


    • CATE — March 18th, 2012 @ 1:19 am

      I suppose it is something of an acquired taste :) If you feel iffy on the squid, feel free to cut it back by 50% or even 75% the first time or two just to get a sense of the flavor combination.


  2. #
    Ana_ILTdP — March 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I love this combination, I have never seen it or even thought about it, but it's genius, everything combines perfectly!


    • Cate — March 18th, 2012 @ 12:33 am

      Thanks- and hope you get to give it a try :)


  3. #
    MyFudo™ — March 19, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Coconut has never failed to impress me…this is really a flavorful dish. Worth trying. Can't wait =)


  4. #
    Jenn Kendall — March 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    this is such an interesting recipe, i definitely want to try!


  5. #
    5 — March 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    It looks delicious!


  6. #
    Julian — November 17, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Thanks for the recipe, had it with corn, carrots and quinoa. The juice was a great accompaniment to the sides. My only concern was that 20 minutes was too long to simmer after, you’ll lose all the goodness from the spinach etc. my recommendation is to simmer for 5 minutes no more afer the coconut milk goes in. Lovely simple recipe though, enjoyed it with a nice Reisling.


Leave a Comment