With the addition of Swiss chard, kale and/or beet greens, your classic creamed spinach gets a nutritional upgrade without skimping on flavor!
I am one of those people who adores the Thanksgiving menu. In fact, my daughter and I thoroughly enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers for days after the big event. It’s not only about the turkey, but also about the delicious side dishes.
Why this recipe is so awesome
My family is blessed to not have any food allergies or health problems. But I am borderline anemic. Luckily my body tells me when my iron is low before I need a blood test as I usually get a craving for red meat or creamed spinach.
Spinach is very high iron, which helps with my body’s ebb and flow of iron. But even when my anemia is under control, I still love this dish. I am not a cold salad person, but I much prefer my vegetables cooked.
I make this dish with just spinach or sometimes mix in kale, Swiss chard or even beet greens. I use fresh or even frozen greens. I like to add a bit of kick with the addition of hot sauce, which you can add more or omit depending on your personal taste.
And spinach greens or any greens always goes down better in a creamy cheese sauce! See my Creamed Kale and Spinach Greens Web Story for a quick visual guide to making this recipe.
Ingredients you need
- Assorted Greens: You can use spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens or even collard greens. You can also use fresh or frozen greens.
- Onion and Garlic
- Heavy cream: This makes the sauce thick and creamy. You can also substitute with half-and-half.
- Cream cheese: I like the neutral flavor of cream cheese but you can also use goat cheese or flavored cheese spreads like Alouette or Boursin.
- Parmesan cheese: This adds a big on pungency and saltiness to the cheese mixture. You can use parmesan, romano or pecorino cheese.
- Mozzarella cheese: Another mild but very melty cheese. I sometimes switch it out with Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheeses.
- Seasonings: hot sauce, ground nutmeg, salt, pepper
- Crushed crackers: Any time of crackers will do, but I prefer more plain varieties like saltines or ritz. You can also use gluten-free crackers, omit crackers altogether or top with chopped nuts or almond slices.
1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add butter. When the butter has melted, add onion. Sauté for 5 minutes until onions soften.
2. Stir in garlic and let is cook for one minute. In batches, stir in chopped greens and cook until softened and wilted, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Stir in cream cheese, breaking it down into smaller pieces until melted and fully incorporated into the greens.
4. When mixture is smooth and creamy, stir in heavy cream, hot sauce and seasonings.
5. Turn off heat and stir in cheeses.
6. Transfer mixture into a shallow 4-cup baking dish and top with crushed crackers.
7. Bake for 30 minutes at 375F until top is lightly browned and sauce is bubbly.
Expert Tips and Recipe FAQS
I almost always choose fresh vegetables for my cooking, but this is one time where you can skip fresh. If you don’t feel like chopping your vegetables or are in a time crunch, you can easily use frozen greens instead. Just mix it in frozen, let it thaw out and make sure the water has evaporated before you add the cream cheese.
This recipe uses cream cheese and heavy whipping cream to make the base of the cheese sauce. You can top with gluten-free crackers, omit the crunchy topping altogether or add slices or chopped nuts instead.
I love a good steak or prime rib roast with my creamed spinach. But honestly, you can serve anything with it, like a roast chicken, holiday turkey or even a pork roast.
Some people use flour to thicken the cheese sauce. I like to use heavy cream and cream cheese. You can also use half and half. If you are using frozen spinach, be sure all the water is cooked off before adding the cream and cheeses.
You can prepare the creamed spinach mixture and transfer to the casserole dish. Once cooled off, cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate overnight. The next day, top with crackers and bake at 350ºF for 45-minutes or until bubbly.
- 1 TBS unsalted butter
- ½ cup diced onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 16 oz fresh spinach, kale, Swiss chard or beet greens (chopped)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup crushed crackers
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-heat and add butter.
- When the butter has melted, add onion. Sauté for 5 minutes until onions soften.
- Stir in garlic and let is cook for one minute.
- Stir in chopped greens in batches. Cook until softened and wilted, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in cream cheese, breaking it down into smaller pieces until melted and fully incorporated.
- When mixture is smooth and creamy, stir in heavy cream, hot sauce and seasonings.
- Turn off heat and stir in cheeses.
- Transfer mixture into a shallow 4-cup baking dish and top with crushed crackers.
- Bake for 30 minutes until top is lightly browned.
You can use only spinach or a combination of your favorite greens like kale, Swiss chard or beet greens.
To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free crackers or top with almond slices.
To make this keto-friendly or low carb, omit cracker topping or top with almond slices or crushed pecans or walnuts.
You can use half-in-half instead of heavy cream.
Once transferred to a casserole dish, you can cover and refrigerate dish overnight. The next day, top with crackers and bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes or until cheese sauce is bubbly.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 564mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 9g
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