EasyPeasy / Entree / Gluten Free / Vegetarian

Spinach & Ricotta Bake

Beautiful, succulent spinach has been coming each week in the CSA. After eating it frozen for months, it is delightfully refreshing to enjoy it fresh in salads, steamed, creamed and as the base of a cheesy quiche-like meal. No salad required, it is a meal in one dish! The basis of the bake is that the ricotta and eggs are blended together, much like a quiche, the difference is that there is no crust and no cream! Truth be told, spinach is available in the produce aisle fresh throughout the year, but there is nothing like the flavor of freshly picked spinach, and if you can get to a farmer’s market, you will find it in the June/July offerings. Get it before we are back to frozen!

When this recipe was made, frozen was what we had, but we are making it again with fresh spinach while it’s coming from the CSA.

Spinach as a health food.

Spinach, as eaten by Pop-Eye helped him to keep those oversized biceps of his pretty solid. Now, I don’t know that I am going to pry open a can, toss it down the gullet, and have arms of steel, but there are lot of healthy nutrients that can be derived from adding spinach to your meals. Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Manganese are at the top of the nutrient list. Calcium and Iron have been known for quite some time, and Magnesium and Manganese, while have always been on the list, have only started to surface in the last few years as being of such high nutritional value. Both are attributed to helping with lessening hypertension and rates of diabetes (Wikipedia.org). Magnesium can aid in sleep disorders and muscle spasms, and Manganese can aid in bone health and additionally has antioxidant values. Plus it tastes good.

Different Dishes

Classic Spinach & Warm Bacon Dressing

When I was in high school, and since you have no idea when that was, unless you know me personally, I used to go with my high school best friend to a restaurant ‘upstreet’ on Saturday’s for lunch. I can recall what the place looked like, but not the name. It was a black and white, lined with mirrors and attempting to be chic type of place. Anyway, they had this spinach salad with warm bacon dressing that was served in a huge glass bowl. It had red onions, mushrooms, and a sliced hard boiled egg. The best part that it would be served with a sauceboat on the side of steaming hot bacon dressing. The whole gimmick of course being that you could pour it on by yourself and it would soak into the spinach leaves and soften them. Cool.

It seemed so food fashion forward back then. I still order it if I see it on a menu.

SPINACH SALAD WITH WARM BACON DRESSING from Once Upon a Chef

Creamed Spinach

If you are a steakhouse fanatic, or even if you are a Pescatarian, like me and skip the cow, creamed spinach is one of those side dishes that you take a few spoonfuls of before passing the bowl. Creamed spinach should be creamy. The only seasoning added, salt and pepper. It is simple, rich and should taste like spinach and cream, why ruin it with anything else?

Spanikopita

Every Greek menu has Spanikopita on it. It is phyllo dough filled with feta and spinach and then folded into a triangle. I have attempted them a few times, but my phyllo skills are not really photo worthy, so they have not made the blog yet. Shereen, from Cooking With Shereen makes it look super easy. When you master it, send me a photo, I would love to hear how it went. If you want to cheat and not make individual spanakopitas, you can make them in a pan by layering the phyllo and spreading the feta/spinach mixture in between.

SPANIKOPITA from COOKING WITH SHEREEN

Artichoke Spinach Dip

Does this one have bread bowl written all over it? Dating myself again, but this was a dip that at some point someone decided to serve in a hollowed out loaf of round bread, and to this day, it’s a party staple. Any round loaf will do. Using a knife, slice off the top of the loaf, save it for serving, as it makes a nice accessory on the side of the opening. Cut into the loaf and remove a bowl size section, make the dip, and instead of using a bow, fill the hole with the dip!.

Spinach & Ricotta Bake

Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 20-30 min Cooking Time: 30-35 min

Ingredients

  • 16oz/500g fresh or frozen spinach (if frozen, steam, drain, cool)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 12oz/350g Ricotta cheese
  • 4oz/125g fresh goat cheese, room temperature
  • salt and pepper
  • 2oz/60g sharp Cheddar, grated
  • butter or oil to grease the baking dish

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350°F/175°F.

2

Butter or oil a 9"x13" (23x33cm) baking dish.

3

FROZEN SPINACH DIRECTIONS: Steam spinach until defrosted, drain water and cool.

4

FRESH SPINACH DIRECTIONS: If using large leaves, chop or rip into small pieces. Small leaves will be fine as it.

5

In a large bowl (big enough to hold cheese and spinach), beat eggs.

6

Blend eggs, ricotta and goat cheese.

7

Add drained or chopped spinach. Coat thoroughly with the egg/cheese mixture.

8

Season with salt and pepper.

9

Pour into baking dish

10

Sprinkle grated Cheddar on the top - add more if you want it to be extra cheesy.

11

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is lightly golden.

Notes

Serve with fresh bread, you need nothing more. Maybe a glass of chilled Chablis...

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