Everybody loves creamed spinach, even folks who hate spinach! Here’s a luxurious baked version that I love serving with oven-roasted pork tenderloin, though it pairs just as well with steak, pork chops, or any other protein on your plate. Splurge on a little mid-week comfort food and make this with your dinner tonight!
This spinach bake is a cross between creamed spinach and a spinach soufflé, and in my opinion it’s the best of both worlds. While it seems like the kind of side you'd only serve for special occasions, it makes a dull weeknight oh-so-much better.
I particularly love this recipe because, thanks to a couple of shortcuts, it’s super quick and every bit as good as a fancy steakhouse version. I much prefer using frozen spinach because it’s much easier than buying pounds and pounds of fresh spinach, only to have it cook down to nothing. Just be sure to squeeze out every bit of water after thawing (I use a couple of clean kitchen towels to wring it within an inch of its life.)
Instead of going through the hassle of making a béchamel with flour and milk, I find that cream cheese makes a fine substitute. It doesn’t overpower the spinach, and it provides a wonderfully rich texture. To add even more flavor and some welcome crunch, I like to sprinkle some breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan on top and finish it off in the oven. A little contrast (and extra cheese) is always welcome.
If you're looking for an excuse to eat your veggies (or just clean out your freezer), I'd say this recipe's a very good place to start.
Creamy Spinach Bake
3 (10-ounce) packages frozen spinach
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 to 3 large garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Thaw the spinach according to package directions. Wring out with paper towels or a clean dishcloth until very, very dry.
While spinach is thawing, melt the butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 20 seconds. Add the thawed spinach, cream cheese, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper and mix until well combined.
Transfer the mixture to a medium baking or gratin dish and top with bread crumbs and Parmesan. Bake until warm and golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
(Image credits: Nealey Dozier)