If you have a package of frozen spinach that’s been sitting at the back of your freezer for a while but you have no idea what to do with it, here are a few recipes that you can try out. By all means, feel free to experiment with them and customize them to suit your own leanings; these are just a few suggestions of how you can use the stuff.
Just as a note, ensure that the spinach is thawed out before you use it. Yes, that’s pretty much common sense, but it’s best to mention it anyway.
For those of you who like to toss some greens into your smoothies, frozen spinach is pretty much ideal: you don’t have to worry about it wilting in your fridge, and you can even divide it into handy portions ahead of time so you can just defrost it and pop it into your blender when you’re making your favourite drink.
If you’ve never added spinach to a smoothie before but would like to see what it’s like, try this combination: In your blender, combine 1 cup of chopped frozen mango, 1/2 a cup of frozen spinach, 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon of fresh mint, and 1 cup of coconut milk. Puree that until it’s all blended well, and drink while still cold. This is a perfect smoothie for breakfast or as a refresher after a workout.
Rather than cutting and pasting, let’s just send you to the original risotto recipe here. Once you’ve followed all the steps and your risotto is nearing completion, add 1 cup of drained, chopped frozen spinach and stir it in well until it’s warmed through and incorporated into the rest of the dish.
This quintessential Irish dish is usually made with cabbage or kale, but it’s just as easy (and delicious) made with spinach instead.
Peel 2 or 3 large russet potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Add them to a saucepan, cover with water, add a bit of salt, and simmer over medium heat until they’re fork-tender. While they’re simmering, drain a package of frozen spinach (about 2 cups’ worth), chop it very finely, and sautée it in 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat for a minute or two. Add 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of milk, and keep simmering until the milk bubbles. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Drain the cooked potatoes, pour them into a large bowl, and mash them thoroughly. Add the spinach mixture and combine thoroughly. Feel free to add a bit more milk and/or butter if you feel that they’re needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and eat while it’s warm. Leftovers can be made into patties and fried for breakfast the next morning.
*Note: For a vegan version, use Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine) and soy milk instead of the dairy.
Vegetarian Crock Pot Lasagna
Set this to cook in your crock pot before you leave the house to go run errands/take the kids to school, etc., and you’ll have an incredible dish waiting for you when you get home. We’re going to go for the quickest, easiest version available since few of us have much time to spare (or mental fortitude) first thing in the morning.
Drain a package of frozen spinach and mix with a container of ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper ’til you’re happy with the taste. Take a jar of your favourite pasta sauce (store-bought or homemade) and spoon enough of it into the bottom of your crock pot to cover it well. Put down a double-layer of dry lasagna noodles, breaking them as needed to make them fit. Slather the noodles with a layer of the spinach/cheese mixture, and lay a single layer of dry noodles on top of that.
Coat those in sauce, and top them with the vegetables of your choice: sliced mushrooms, eggplant, or zucchini all work really well in this. Top that with a bit more sauce, and add another layer of noodles. Guess what goes on top of that layer? More of the spinach and cheese mixture, topped with a final double-layer of noodles. Coat these with a thick layer of sauce, grate some mozzarella on top, and add some cracked pepper. Turn your crock pot on LOW and cook for 5-6 hours.
Artichoke and Spinach Dip
Have there been any parties since 1950 in which this dip hasn’t been present? Probably not, and with good cause: it’s freaking amazing.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Drain 1 can of artichoke hearts and either put them through a food processor until they’re finely chopped, or mince them by hand. Scoop that into a bowl and add 1 package of spinach (thawed, drained, and chopped finely), 1/2 a cup of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, and half a cup of parmesan cheese. If you like your dip garlicky, add 1/2 a teaspoon of raw, minced garlic. Blend all of these together, add salt/pepper to taste, and pour the mixture into a greased baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until it’s all bubbly and gorgeous, remove from the oven, and then hide somewhere with a bucket of tortilla chips or pita wedges so you can keep it all for yourself.
It sounds like a fussy dish that requires a lot of work, but this Greek snack is actually super-easy to make. Cut phyllo pastry lengthwise into 2 or 3 long strips per sheet, and use a pastry brush or spatula to slather olive oil all over it. Drain a container of frozen spinach, chop it up finely, and mix it with a tablespoon of minced onions, and about half a cup of feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust the onion/cheese if you think it needs a bit more.
Place a heaping tablespoon of the spinach mixture in one corner of a phyllo sheet, and fold the bottom over to create a triangle. Keep folding back and forth in those triangle formations until you have a multi-layered triangular pocket of pastry with the spinach mix nestled happily in the centre.
Stuffed Mushroom Caps
If you’re ever at a loss for something to bring to a potluck party, just make a batch of these little guys and you’re set.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Take a dozen or so button mushrooms and pull the stems off. Wipe the tops clean with a dry cloth and then place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drain a package of frozen spinach, mince it very finely, and spoon it into a medium-sized bowl. Add in 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of grated cheese (Fontina works amazingly well here), a pinch of thyme, and salt/pepper to taste. Beat an egg and add that to the bowl, then stir all ingredients until they’re well mixed.
Fill each mushroom cap with this mixture, and then bake them for about 25 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through. Crack pepper on top and serve warm.
*Note: You can make an even simpler version of this by making a box of instant stuffing and adding the chopped spinach and a bit of cheese to it to use inside the caps.
This is one of those fabulous breakfast dishes that never goes out of style. To prep, just thaw a few tablespoons of frozen spinach, drain them well, and chop very finely. Mix this with 2-3 tablespoons of cheese, such as feta, chèvre, grated cheddar or gouda, or even brie. Season with salt and pepper.
For a single serving, crack 2 eggs into a bowl and beat well with a bit of salt and pepper. Feel free to add a dash of cayenne or Tabasco sauce if you like things spicy. Heat a small dab of butter in a non-stick pan (over medium heat), and stir it around with a spatula. When the butter begins to bubble, pour in the eggs and let them cook for a couple of minutes, pushing slightly on the edges with your spatula. When the edges of your omelet are firm and a light golden brown, sprinkle the spinach mixture on one side and use that spatula to fold the other side over to make a pocket.
Let this cook on low heat for a minute or so to allow the cheese to melt, and serve immediately.
Tomato, Spinach, and Tortellini Soup
Soup one of the easiest dishes to make, and this one is perfect for a quick meal after work or school.
Sautee one small onion in a bit of olive oil until it turns translucent. Add about 6 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken—your choice), 2 chopped tomatoes, 1 cup of drained canned chick peas, and 1 cup of drained, chopped spinach. Simmer this on medium heat for about 5 minutes, and then add a couple of handfuls of fresh or frozen tortellini, and crank the heat up a bit. When it gets to a rolling boil, turn it down to low and simmer until the pasta is tender.
Season with salt and pepper, and feel free to adjust the flavours to suit your own tastes by adding things like a tablespoon of chopped fresh basil, or some grated Parmesan cheese. If you’re not feeling well, add some cayenne pepper or sriracha for a warming kick.
Creamed Spinach with Croutons
Although the thought of creamed spinach might scare a few people off, this is actually a really lovely side dish that’s quick and simple to make, and is perfect for using up bread that might be going stale.
Take a few slices of bread, cut them into cubes, toss them with butter, salt, garlic powder, and a bit of pepper, and bake them at 350F until they’re golden. Set them aside. Drain and press 2 cups of frozen spinach, chop it finely, and then sautée it in butter with about a tablespoon of minced onion until the onion goes translucent. Add a pinch of nutmeg, a light splash of lemon juice, and a bit of salt/pepper. Remove from the heat, and stir in a few tablespoons of sour cream. If it seems a bit too thick, add milk a tablespoon at a time until it’s a consistency that you like. Serve with the croutons sprinkled on top as an accompaniment to grilled chicken, or roast beef.
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