Moroccan Spinach with Preserved Lemons, Garlic and Paprika Topped with Goat Cheese

© 2012

This is a fabulous side dish and went very well with the Steak Richard if I do say so myself. It is a wonderful way to fix spinach, is unique and packs a lot of flavor into a side dish. If you don’t try this dish then shame on you.

This recipe originates from a spinach salad made by Hassan M’souli in Moroccan Modern. We prefer it as a hot side dish. Also, his original dish calls for sweet paprika. We like the smokiness and added depth of character and flavor with La Chinata Smoked Hot Paprika.  You get the nice earthy flavor and body of the baby spinach coupled with the floral characteristic of the parsley and cilantro, the hint of celery from the celery leaves with the saltiness and lemoniness from the preserved lemon, coupled with the acid from the lemon juice, perfume of the garlic and the depth of flavor from the paprika.  All of this is then creamed out by the goat cheese. This dish is is stunningly delicious!


  • 2 lbs baby spinach
  • 1-1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped celery leaves
  • 5 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked Hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 preserved lemon
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 inch log of goat cheese, cut into 4 equal slices
  • 1 egg, whites only, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp Za’atar (recipe below)


Before you start, make the Za’atar.

Za’atar is a spice blend widely used in North Africa and the middle east. It is sprinkled on food as a seasoning but is also served with bread and olive oil as a breakfast dish and is the primary ingredient in Man’oushé, commonly called Lebanese Thyme Pie. Although you can buy this blend at Mediterranean Food Stores, make your own as it is MUCH better.


  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme leaves
  • 2 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp ground sumac

Toast the sesame seeds over medium heat until slightly colored making sure not to burn. When cool, place the sesame seeds and dried herbs in a mortar and crush with the pestle until a fine powder is achieved. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for 3 months.

For the Spinach: Chop the celery leaves, cilantro and parsley.

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Combine the spinach, celery leaves, parsley and cilantro in a large saucepan or wok. Stir over high heat for about 4 minutes until wilted tossing frequently.

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Transfer to a colander with a bowl underneath. Press the greens to remove the liquid collecting the liquid in the bowl.  Remove the greens to a salad bowl and set aside.

Take the reserved juice from the greens and put into a small sauce pan. Add the garlic, paprika and chile powder. Boil uncovered over high heat for 3 – 5  minutes.

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Add the oil, lemon juice and preserved lemon and reduce 25%. Reduce heat to low just to keep warm.

Reheat the greens in a microwave. Place 2 cups of the greens in a ring mold. Remove the mold and top with the sauce.

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Cut the goat cheese log into 4 pieces, dip into the egg whites then into the Za’atar. Lightly oil a non-stick pan and fry the goat cheese slices for 2 minutes on each side. Place on top of spinach. Serve and enjoy.

© 2012

3 thoughts on “Moroccan Spinach with Preserved Lemons, Garlic and Paprika Topped with Goat Cheese”

    1. You can find it online and may be able to find it at a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern market. It’s tangy but not absolutely necessary, especially with the preserved lemon.

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