5 Tips for Using Frozen Spinach
It never ceases to shock me that the bunch of spinach I initially have toppling over the rim of a saute pan can wilt so dramatically… so dramatically, in fact, that what’s left is enough spinach to feed one person instead of the four people I intended it for. That’s why having frozen spinach on hand at any given time is a good idea—it’s a smart way to make up the difference. Honestly, the greatest benefit of frozen spinach might just be the volume you get in each bag or box. It stretches a lot further and it’s super convenient. Before spinach is packed and frozen into block form, it is washed and blanched in order to protect it’s bright green color and fresh flavor. Blanching is a process where food is partially cooked in boiling water and “shocked” in cold water to immediately stop the cooking process. So when you defrost your frozen spinach, it has already been wilted down and cooked to some degree. The best way to defrost frozen spinach is to warm it in the microwave for a few minutes or warm it over low heat on the stove in pot and strain excess water with a mesh sieve or colander. Depending on your grocery store’s freezer section, you can typically find frozen spinach either chopped or as whole leaf. Whichever form you prefer, I’d definitely suggest keeping your home freezer stocked with a package or two, because sometimes, frozen just does the job better than fresh. Here are a five foods that make the most of what frozen spinach has to offer.
Spinach and artichoke dip is a tried and true (and almost mandatory at some gatherings) appetizer for good reason. Briny artichokes mixed with cheese and spinach is totally addictive. Make a batch to serve at your next tailgating party using frozen spinach and canned artichokes. If you wanna change things up, try mixing your spinach with bacon and greek yogurt for a cool and creamy Blue Cheese-Bacon-Spinach Dip. If you want a heartier dip, this Sausage, Bean, and Spinach Dip is the way to go. As it turns out, bits of spicy sausage crumbles and pinto beans make a great match for spinach.
When it comes to stuffing various food vessels with veggies, spinach is always a top choice because it’s nutrient packed, provides nice color, and its flavor is delicate, thus never overpowering the item it’s stuffed into. Prime example: Stuffed-mushrooms. These delicious bites can be served as finger foods at a party and are easy to prepare ahead of time. If you are making about 20 are more stuffed mushrooms, frozen spinach—which, once thawed and drained, is way easier to stuff than fresh—really comes in handy. If mushrooms aren’t your thing, stuffing onions with spinach and lamb is also a fantastic thing to do. Chicken breasts are also a viable candidate for spinach stuffing. Simply cut a slit in the middles of the chicken breast and stuff with with a combination of spinach, dill, and feta cheese.
A frittata is a baked egg dish that you can sort of wing without a recipe. A combination of eggs, cream, freshly chopped veggies, and frozen spinach bake together beautifully in a cast-iron skillet. Put a crust on it using store-bought puff pastry to make spinach quiche. A fluffy omelet is another classic breakfast staple for which (thawed and drained) frozen spinach would be practical to use when making a more than a few at a time.
Spinach and pasta always go hand and hand. The leafy green is featured best in between lasagna layers with ricotta cheese and oregano. The spinach-ricotta combo is also excellent to toss with fettuccine, garlic, and zesty lemon juice. For good measure, you might want to go ahead and try out this creamy baked pasta with cheese dish too.
Spinach is a great addition to soup just before it’s ready to serve. The most you have to do is stir it in and allow the spinach to wilt ever so slightly more. Spinach is the highlight to Italian Wedding Soup and our Turkey Soup Provençal recipes. In case you prefer a smoother soup, you can also blend frozen spinach with an avocado for a naturally creamy and thick soup.