Noodling with Popeye

I was never a big fan of Popeye. I could never understand the guy, he seemed to make bad decisions and for the most part he was pushed around. He was in love with Olive, who compared to the other cartoon love interests, was rather homely. He was entirely uninteresting until he had his spinach. Then he could take on the world.

Who thought of this? Elzie Crisler Segar. In 1929 he created the character in a comic strip and in the first four years of publication, spinach sales increased 33%. The idea is spinach became more palatable both to kids and their parents, as they saw Popeye eat it, so they bought more and more. Really? When I was a kid, spinach was a soggy, bitter mop. I couldn’t stand it and Bugs Bunny, Goofy and Superman combined couldn’t get me to like it more.

Only as an adult have I come to like spinach. First of all, most of the spinach I now eat is raw. When it is cooked, it is lightly cooked or included with other ingredients. This recipe, Low Carb Beef Stroganoff takes advantage of spinach to try to make you forget the noodles.

I cannot say that I did not miss the noodles, because I did. The spinach was a nice taste, but not a real replacement for real stroganoff. So I am considering this a variation on the theme instead of a true low carb replacement. With that view, it was pretty good.

I did a little cheating by buying the meat already cut for stroganoff and the mushrooms already sliced.

Like so many recipes, cook the onions first. Then add the shrooms.

Remove the veggies and fry up the meat a little until still a little pink.

Mix it all together and cook.

A beautiful bed for the stroganoff.

Sprinkle a little paprika to give it some color and eat!

Low-Carb Beef Stroganoff


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pound top sirloin, sliced thinly
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon paprika


In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions for about 3 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and keep cooking till the mushrooms begin to lose their liquid. Remove and keep warm.

Add the beef and cook till completely browned; season with salt and pepper to taste as you go.

Drain the fat, if any, and sprinkle the flour over the top of the beef. Add the broth and cook until slightly thickened. Add back the mushroom mixture and mix well. Season again with salt and pepper and add the thyme.

Once hot, turn down the heat and add the sour cream. Don’t let it boil, or the sour cream will turn into nasty little curds like cottage cheese; you don’t want that.

Place 1 cup of raw spinach on each plate and top with the stroganoff. The heat from the stroganoff will wilt it nicely. You can saute the spinach first if you like, but it’s good this way. Sprinkle the top with paprika.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beef, Low Carb, Main Dish, Recipes, Russian, Vegetable

Author:The Ranting Chef

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40 Comments on “Noodling with Popeye”

  1. March 24, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Would Greek yogurt be a good substitute for the sour cream? I have tried to like sour cream but it just doesn’t work.


    • March 24, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      i would think it would be a natural substitution.


  2. March 24, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I love spinach in any form raw or cooked, at the restaurant we use young baby leaf spinach, almost every menu has spinach on it somewhere making an appearance.


  3. March 24, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Your title and dialogue on this one cracked me up 🙂 Agree with Olive being an unusual love interest… but the dish sounds fantastic!


  4. healthydealsnsteals
    March 24, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Love this low carb variation! But your right, I would miss the noodles too. 🙂


  5. March 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    When I was growing up, my mom always made Italian spinach mixed with garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese to go with spaghetti dinners. It was SO GOOD and programmed my brother and me to get really excited over spinach. I’m now at the tail end of pregnancy and spinach has been my trusted companion all along the way. I wouldn’t say I craved it, but it has made its way into most of the dishes I’ve cooked.

    This recipe looks really good! I will have to try it.


  6. March 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    I’m with ya on the Popeye thing…


  7. March 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    That sounds wonderful. Here is Ireland stroganoff is served with rice so I wasn’t aware it was served with noodles.


  8. March 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    hehe, When I was a kid I wanted to try EVERYTHING! Every veggie in the veggie isle! My mom wasn’t too fond of spinach or other vegetables. When we the stuff I would ask her to buy it and she would respond “it’s too expensive, that’s rich peoples disgusting food” CAN YOU BELIEVE SHE SAID THAT! We grew up poor so everything she said I believed.

    As a teenager I decided to try the stuff for myself, since I had my own part time job! hehe… I brought it home and didn’t know what to make with it. I remember my mom was making chicken soup and as soon as she turned around I dumped the whole thing in the soup! haha, she almost killed me but my dad stop her by saying “Elle, it actually tastes good, leave the kid, she’s onto something” YES! I WON THE FIGHT!! That was really the beginning of my mom and I fighting to own the kitchen. Shall I tell you who owns the kitchen now? 😀


    • March 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      Oh I can bet the winner’s name starts with an E and ends with an lena!


      • March 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

        That’s right!


  9. Mishaal
    March 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    This looks rather good. Please excuse a beginner’s question but do you think this would work without the flour?


    • March 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      You could but it really needs a thickening agent. If you are trying to reduce carbs or gluten there are alternative thickening agents you could use.


  10. March 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Poor skinny old Olive would fit right in with our thin obsessed society these days. I’m a little stopped by the flour as well but I bet it’s great. 🙂


  11. roadtrips r us
    March 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    You did good! Gonna try your Low-Carb Beef Stroganoff recipe! Thanks for posting – CJ & TJ.


  12. lnmwonderfulworld
    March 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    I love spinach because I can eat it raw in a salad or cooked. In my opinion anytime you add spinach to anything it becomes more healthy. This looks yummy. Thanks.


  13. March 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Love beef stroganoff and love spinach–looking forward to trying the recipe. And thumbs-up on the Popeye history. Did not know the who and when for PE’s creation.


  14. March 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    Have a fun week cooking up those delicious recipes. 😎


  15. Chuck
    March 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    This looks pretty good. I’ll have to give it a try this week. Thanks!


  16. March 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    This looks good! I usually add some tomato sauce too (that’s how I was taught in the family, and most traditional Russian recipes mention it too). I add a spoonful of either rice or potato flour to make it gluten free. And we eat it over potatoes not noodles (still carbs though) or just plain with a slice of bread to dip in the sauce 🙂


  17. March 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Yes, I remember hating spinach from the can, when I finally saw raw spinach, I didn’t even recognize it. Now, I love eating it fresh. That is a great recipe.


  18. March 24, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    Will you be my new best friend? 😉 Seriously, this looks delicious!! I noticed that you said you always cook onions first, why is that? I was always under the impression that onions would cook faster than mushrooms so I cook my mushrooms first…


    • March 24, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

      Over a medium heat, onions will often take 5-7 minutes to start to get translucent. I find that peppers are good for that length of time too. Mushrooms generally cook a little faster (depends on type and thickness). In all of those cases, good to cook them up before adding lots of liquids (and not frying anymore).


  19. March 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    Mmmm, I can almost smell and taste it. Great recipe.


  20. March 24, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    Awesome! Definitely trying this soon!


  21. March 24, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    I love noodles!!! Could eat them every day. Thanks for stopping by my blog!


  22. pmetro
    March 25, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    it’s a bit of work to make, but spinach pasta noodles would be a compromise to this dish.


  23. March 25, 2012 at 3:18 am #

    Hi there. I nominated you for the sunshine blog award! I hope you will accept it and having a great weekend!


  24. March 25, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    Popeye would love this!


  25. March 25, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Stroganoff is one of those recipes that always seems to float to the back of my “to-make” list. Your recipe looks great (and healthy!). I am thinking of cooking spaghetti squash with it as the “pasta”. We’ll see how that goes! Cheers!


  26. March 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    That’s a nifty recipe.


  27. March 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    hi! thanks for checking out my most recent post. i’m so happy to have come across your blog! my 3-year old son surprisingly likes munching on leafy greens and this recipe (and the Brussels–thanks for that–sprouts one too!) would be great additions to the ones he already knows and likes. : )


  28. nicholettec
    March 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    I’ll have to try this! Looks delicious!


  29. March 26, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Your analysis on Popeye is dead on, but poor olive, she was not homely. I consider myself an olive, tall, lean, hair back…we can’t all be models lol I bet your stroganoff bulk bulk her little butt up some though!


  30. March 28, 2012 at 12:12 am #

    This officially makes me hungry right now. Simply delicious!!


  31. March 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Reblogged this on Charms Health & Beauty.


  32. March 30, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Reblogged this on Rapunzel's Adventures and commented:
    This sounds amazing and with only two table spoons of flour, it’s pretty low on the grainy carb’s scale. I would also substitute Greek yogurt (unflavoured) for the sour cream (more protein, less cream). I will have to give it a try.


    • March 30, 2012 at 9:34 am #

      I’ve linked to your blog on mine. I hope that’s alright. Reading through your posts, there’s some great recipes in here that I can’t wait to try!



  1. Quick Blue Spinach « Rantings of an Amateur Chef - March 28, 2012

    […] kitchen and finding the ingredients to try something new. You may recognize the spinach from the Low Carb Beef Stroganoff and the blue cheese from the Bacon, Blue Cheese and Apple […]


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