Easy, cheesy spinach squares are a retro appetizer that make an equally delicious side dish. The squares may be baked ahead and reheated and freeze well, too.
The look of today’s menu item may remind you of a crustless quiche. In this recipe, however, two eggs serve as a binder for the remaining ingredients rather than the foundation of the recipe.
The result is more dense than custardy, and the flavor of eggs doesn’t shine through. Instead, sharp cheddar stars as the savory accompaniment to the hearty helping of spinach for an effortless party appetizer or family friendly side dish.
This recipe is also one of the reasons my kids loved spinach from the time they were toddlers. When cut into small squares, the little bites are deliciously fun finger food.
The bite-size appeal makes the spinach squares a perfect hot hors d’oeurve, which may conveniently be baked ahead. I actually think the dish tastes better when reheated, as the edges become more golden and crisp.
When freezing, I prefer to bake first, thoroughly cool, and then cover well. If you’re making the recipe as a side dish for one or two people, you may wish to freeze a few leftover squares so you can pull them out as needed.
The spinach squares complement virtually any protein, from steak to chicken, fish and pork. They will bolster a bowl of soup or hearty salad, and a generous piece makes a filling lunch.
Similarly, a generous wedge of the baked spinach will serve as a satisfying vegetarian entree. Along those lines, it’s a great dish when entertaining and serving meat as the main entree but one or two who don’t eat meat. The spinach squares can be served as a smaller side for the meat eaters and a heartier portion the vegetarians–just as you’d serve a frittata or quiche for the main dish.
Those who visit my website or read my newspaper column regularly know I love to provide options, and this recipe is no different! As an alternative to the spinach, you may substitute a 10-ounce box of frozen, chopped broccoli. Either way, simply follow the moisture-removing tip to ensure a perfect outcome.
- 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup milk (non-fat is fine to use)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 3/4 pound (3 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided (see note)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the moisture from the spinach. To do this easily and thoroughly, my favorite trick is to wrap a clean tea towel around it and, literally, wring it out. (If you have never done this, you will be amazed at how much water is in there!) Then, separate the spinach with two forks or with your fingers.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, milk and eggs with a fork. Stir in the onion, two cups of the cheese, and the spinach.
Spread the mixture evenly in a greased, 12×8 baking dish. (Two 9×5 loaf pans have a similar surface area and you could eat one now and freeze one for later.) Sprinkle with the remaining one cup of cheese, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown on top. (Sometimes, I move the dish to the top rack for the final two minutes or so to brown the top a little more. Just watch closely if you do this, so as not to burn.)
When serving as a side dish, I have occasionally made this with one cup less cheese, and it is also delicious. If you prefer a lighter option, simply add one cup of cheese initially, then top with one final cup before baking.
When freezing, I prefer to bake first, cool thoroughly, and then tightly wrap. The spinach squares may be frozen for 3 months, give or take.
This reminds me of a crustless spinach quiche recipe I have from Bon Appetite years ago! I would have to find it to compare. I believe that one had some nutmeg in it. Easy & delicious.
How much fresh spinach should be used? Thanks. Love your recipes!
A little nutmeg would be a lovely addition to this, Kathleen. Thank you for mentioning. A general rule that I have used when substituting fresh spinach for frozen is to use 1 pound of fresh in place of a 10-ounce frozen package. When cooked down and the moisture is squeezed out, both yield approximately 1.5 cups. Hope that helps!
I have made this with butter too and it makes it crispy around the sides .
Thanks for mentioning, Theresa. I love the crispy edges!
Sooo good!I sub’d flour for almond flour to fit my lifestyle! Thank you for the recipe
Great news, Taherra, and thanks for mentioning your successful substitute!
I MADE THIS DISH AND LOVE IT. I ADDED SOME CRISP BACON BITS. DELICIOUS
This is an old favorite of mine, Tom. I’m so happy you discovered it and enjoyed!
Made this, but added about a cup of feta cheese to the mixture and put about half a cup of feta cheese on top. So So So Very Good!
Love the addition of feta, and I am so glad you enjoyed. Thank you for the great feedback!
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One of my good friends and cooking buddies just made this recipe for a recent get together after seeing it in the Sunday paper- it was excellent. I will have to make this soon since our entire family loved it so much! Great way to get the kids to eat more veggies!
Thank you very much for the thoughtful comment, Sarah! I am thrilled your whole family enjoyed them and so appreciate the feedback!
Love this recipe tried it today, keep up the great job, I did not cook the fresh spinach first,but my children love it any way, will try cooking it another time and let you know, but was great . Looking forward for more new things try
Would fresh spinich work as well? we always have fresh spinich and brocoli on hand as we buy at Sam’s club. hmmm I bet this dish would be perfect for left over brocoli also!
This recipe is going to be used a lot! Thank you!
I hope you love it, Linda! And, yes, fresh spinach or broccoli will work, too. Just make sure to cook it first and remove all the moisture. That is the key to great texture and taste. I love having leftover broccoli, too. So many great ways to reuse it!
I love giving my readers options too, so much more fun for them:-) Your baked cheddar spinach squares sound delicious, and would be great for a traveling girl! Hugs, Terra
Thanks, Terra! And you are right…these are the perfect recipe to make ahead and reheat or freeze in individual serving portions, and they stay fresh for quite a number of days in the fridge. Hope you are well, my dear!