Cheesy Baked Spinach Casserole is for all you spinach lovers out there! This easy casserole is a dump-stir-and-bake dish that’s packed with hearty spinach, sharp cheddar cheese, and a touch of nutmeg. It’s the perfect healthy side dish for just about any meal.
Cheesy Baked Spinach Casserole
Next to all the piles of mashed potatoes, casserole dishes full of carb-loaded stuffing, and cream-laced green beans, you need something a little lighter. Something a little green. And something you can actually feel good about eating.
Cheesy Baked Spinach Casserole is just that.
(If you’re looking for a more indulgent spinach casserole, we’ve also got you covered with this Creamed Spinach Gratin topped with chive biscuits.)
This cheesy spinach casserole is cheesy, packed with hearty spinach, and totally delicious. However, if I’m being completely transparent, if you’re not a spinach lover, then this spinach casserole is probably not for you. This is for all those baked spinach lovers out there – hi, I’m one of them.
Ingredients in Cheesy Baked Spinach Casserole
Spinach. For this particular recipe, I find it easier to buy frozen spinach. It’s easy to defrost and skips the step of cooking the spinach down, which is nice.
Garlic. A little garlic goes a long way here. You want the spinach to shine through, so we only use one large clove. I also like to grate the garlic instead of mincing it, so it’s more evenly dispersed throughout the casserole.
Cheddar cheese. Since spinach casserole is supposed to veer on the healthy side, I use just a 1/2 cup of super sharp low-fat cheddar cheese. I find that 2% milk sharp cheddar cheese has the same sharp flavor as a full-fat sharp cheddar cheese, so don’t worry about sacrificing taste.
Nutmeg. I love the combination of warm, spicy nutmeg with spinach. It gives the spinach casserole a slightly nutty undertone, and adds just a little something special to it.
Cottage cheese. This may seem like an odd ingredient, but it adds a tanginess and fluffiness to the spinach casserole I adore. I also love that it adds a hefty dose of protein to it as well. I like to use 4% fat cottage cheese because that’s what my kids eat, but you can use your favorite.
Salt. Coarse kosher salt. And a little bit goes a long way. Both the cottage cheese and the sharp cheddar cheese have salt innately in them, so we only need to add a little bit extra. Add in what the recipe states, and then salt to taste just before baking.
Egg. Like a lot of casseroles and bakes, an egg binds everything together and adds a more souffle-like texture to the spinach casserole.
How to make Baked Spinach and Cheese
Get all the moisture out of the spinach. When working with frozen spinach that’s been defrosting, it’s super important to get all of the excess moisture out.
I like to defrost the spinach in a colander under warm water. Use your hands to squeeze all excess water out of the spinach and then transfer to a bowl.
Mix all the ingredients. Ok, here’s the hard part guys. Add all of the remaining ingredients into the bowl with the spinach, and mix together until everything is combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bake. Pour the spinach filling into a greased baking dish. I like to use a small 9-inch oval baking dish. Bake until bubbly and hot, about 30 minutes.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- It is SO important to get all of the moisture out the spinach. Instead of using your hands, you can also use a dish towel to soak up any excess moisture.
- Swap out your favorite cheese for cheddar. Parmesan or gruyere would be great. Because there’s only a half cup, even full-fat cheese won’t add a lot of fat and calories to each serving.
- If you want a little bit more warmth from spices, add in a little bit of cinnamon.
- For extra creaminess, add in a few tablespoons of softened cream cheese.
- 1 lb frozen spinach
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup shredded low-fat sharp cheese
- 2 tbsp plain breadcrumbs
- 1 large garlic clove, grated
- Mixing bowl
- 9-inch casserole dish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch oval baking dish or equivilant with non-stick cooking spray.
- Defrost spinach in the microwave or under warm water. Use your hands to squeeze out all the excess moisture in the spinach. Add to a medium mixing bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients to the spinach. Mix until combined. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.