My new cheesy creamed spinach is rich, creamy standout side dish deliciousness, y'all. Browned Cajun trinity veggies and garlic, sprinkled with tapioca flour to help the cream and trio of cheeses transform into the perfect consistency. Then, seasoned spinach is stirred into the casserole right before baking to browned, bubbly soul-warming scrumptiousness in less than an hour. Yep and yay...
Sometimes You Really Just Need One More Special, Stand Out Dish, Y'all...
As I'm writing this, I'm also mentally preparing my final holiday dishes for this week's upcoming feast. Like every year, I've gone back and forth a few times on the main dishes and sides. I'm going big on the stars of the show, of course.
And, I'm also pulling out a few accompaniments that won't take long to make, but still stand on their own as something definitely holiday special. Indeed.
So, while practicing for the main event, I developed this new original cheesy creamed spinach. I used frozen spinach because it's just sooo much easier than fresh for this particular dish. And, I also started the casserole with my trusty Cajun trinity veggies, jarred pimentos, and garlic for a punch of earthy flavor in each bite.
Then, I went a bit over the top with the addition of a hefty amount of half and half, freshly grated Parmesan, hand-shredded pepper Jack, and softened cubed cream cheeses. For the finish, I baked it to add that deep, smoky flavor that only a skillet trip to the oven could give me.
And I have to say that it honestly turned out amazing, y'all. This easy cheesy creamed spinach has everything you're looking for in a standout side. Its presentation is stunning, with all of the beautiful colors balancing out harmoniously. And the taste, y'all. It's super smooth and creamy, with pops of spinach-y cheesiness that pull through into make-ahead bliss for more stress-free holiday and family dinner planning.
How to Make Cheesy Creamed Spinach
Begin by chopping the Cajun trinity veggies, thawing the spinach, and grating and chopping the cheeses. Then gather the few remaining ingredients and preheat the oven.
Now, season the spinach with the spices, then toss to combine and set aside.
Next, pour the chopped Cajun trinity veggies and the butter or oil into the skillet.
Brown the veggies, then add the garlic and cook for just another minute. Then, sprinkle the tapioca flour over the mixture, and stir until combined.
Add the milk and the cheeses to the skillet. Stir often while the cheese melts.
Finally, stir the seasoned spinach into the mixture, removing any excess liquid that comes out of the thawed frozen spinach before adding it to the pan. Then, bake the cheesy creamed spinach until browned and bubbly.
And that's it y'all!!
This cheesy creamed spinach is on the table in less than an hour including prep time. And, all of the flavors intermingle perfectly throughout the short baking process. So, after a quick rest, this easy gluten free casserole is ready to stun alongside anything you pair it with, including holiday favorites and Sunday dinner regulars. Yep. This is definitely the recipe to add just one more flavor-banging side dish to your event, y'all.
Share this cheesy creamed spinach with those who are just as spectacular as they are simple. Much food love, and see y'all on the yum side...
Cheesy Creamed Spinach
For the Seasoned Spinach
For the Cheesy Creamed Spinach
- 3 tablespoons butter or oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped celery ribs
- 1 4-ounce jar pimentos, drained and chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups half & half
- 4 ounces cream cheese, chopped into small squares
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
- salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pour the frozen chopped spinach into a colander positioned inside the sink.
- Run cold water over it for a couple of minutes, moving the spinach around in the colander throughout the process to ensure that it all thaws out equally. Let sit, repeating the running water bath, if necessary, to completely thaw out the spinach.
- Let the thawed spinach sit in the colander until drained well, pressing down with a large spoon to release the water, as needed.
- Pour the thawed spinach into a large bowl.
- Season the spinach with the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley flakes, then stir until well combined. Set aside.
- Brown the Cajun trinity of chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery in a large ovenproof skillet in the butter or oil over medium-high heat, about 10 minutes.
- When browned, add the minced garlic and cook for one additional minute.
- Turn down the heat to medium-low.
- Sprinkle the tapioca flour over the browned veggies and garlic, then stir until all of the mixture is fully combined.
- Pour the half & half and three cheeses into the skillet.
- Stir the mixture often until the cheeses melt.
- Add the seasoned spinach, pouring out any excess water from the spinach before adding to the skillet.
- Stir until all of the ingredients are combined. Taste a slightly cooled spoonful of the mixture, adding salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste, then stir again until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Use oven mitts to carefully transfer the hot skillet to the preheated oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the creamed spinach casserole is browned and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven, then let rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving. The mixture will be puffed up a bit and runny, but will fall as it cools, creating a perfectly creamy, cheesy texture.