three cheese spinach squares

Posted by on Oct 1, 2011 in tasteovers by jackie | 0 comments

three cheese spinach squares

Makes 15 servings: 1 square each

Wow, talk about flavor. This is full of it! Savor these cheesy squares as a comforting app or perfect-sized snack. Or, if you’re anything like me, enjoy a double portion as a divine entrée from time-to-time. Serve it to kids, too. It’s one veggie dish that everyone will find delish. Hooray …  comfort food that you don’t need to feel guilty about. Enjoy!

Calories Saved: 50

1 tablespoon unsalted organic butter, melted
3 large organic eggs
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) plain almond or other plant-based milk
1/3 cup plain fat-free or low-fat Greek yogurt
1 large shallot, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes, or to taste
1 cup whole-wheat pastry or garbanzo bean flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
20 ounces chopped frozen organic spinach, thawed and well drained*
1/2 cup minced fresh crimini mushrooms
10 ounces organic extra-sharp or sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1/4 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons fresh grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 9- x 13-inch baking pan with unbleached parchment and brush with half of the butter (preferably using a silicone brush).
  2. Add the eggs to a medium mixing bowl and whisk until lightly beaten. Add the almond milk, yogurt, shallot, garlic, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, hot pepper flakes, and remaining butter and whisk until well combined. Stir in the flour and baking powder until evenly combined. Stir in the spinach, mushrooms, and Cheddar and Feta cheeses until evenly combined.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly into the pan and sprinkle with the Romano cheese. Bake until cooked through and crisped and golden on top, about 35 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a rack to cool. Cut into 15 squares, and serve at room temperature or warm.

*Squeeze well over a bowl to collect spinach juices. Use the juices like stock for another recipe, such as pilaf or soup.

Per serving: 160 calories, 9g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 65mg cholesterol, 370mg sodium, 9g total carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 1g sugars, 10g protein

The “Before” Recipe

spinach squares
found in my mom’s old recipe file

Makes 15 squares

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
16 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
16 ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion or garlic powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Brush with half of the melted butter to coat. Beat eggs well in a mixing bowl. Add the milk, flour, Cheddar cheese, spinach, baking powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, and remaining butter. Spread the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Cut into 15 squares, and serve.

Per serving: 210 calories, 14g total fat, 9g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 80mg cholesterol, 460mg sodium, 9g total carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 1g sugars, 12g protein

Tasteover Tips

  1. Use just the amount of butter that’s needed for function and flavor
  2. Combine plain almond milk and fat-free Greek yogurt as a creamy but better-for-you replacement for whole milk
  3. Replace white flour with whole-wheat pastry flour for nuttier flavor and whole grain goodness
  4. Try a higher flavor cheese (think the 3 S’s: sharp, stinky, or smoky) so you can use less while actually boosting flavor
  5. Boost freshness with fresh shallots and garlic instead of using onion or garlic powder
  6. Up flavor essence with sweetly-spiced nutmeg (which pairs well with spinach) and “heat”
  7. Heighten volume by increasing amount of spinach
  8. Add savory flavor (called umami) while increasing volume with mushrooms

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