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As a child, the dreaded words, “Eat your spinach!” had me pushing the boiled mass around on my plate, trying to figure out how to slip it into a napkin and beat a hasty retreat before being found out 🙂 But as an adult, I learned spinach could be quick sauteed with garlic (delicious!) eaten fresh in a salad, swirled in a soup, tucked into spanikopita, or folded in a fluffy omelet. So much better than boiled! This gluten-free souffle is another way to work spinach magic and is a more lightly textured alternative to creamed spinach. It does have 1/3 cup of half-and-half in it, but that scant bit of dairy is balanced out by 12 cups of fresh spinach and there is no egg yolk, flour or cheese in the recipe. Three whipped egg whites give the souffle its lift. As it bakes, the souffle will puff up a bit, and crown. It makes a good side dish with poultry or roast beef. I like to make it in 2, two-cup casserole dishes, but you can put it all in one 4-cup baking dish if you prefer.
- 1/2 large white onion, cored, peeled and small diced to make 1 cup
- 2 Tbsp butter OR 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus a bit more to grease casserole dish(es)
- 2 large bunches fresh leaf spinach, cleaned and stems discarded, slightly packed down to make 12 cups raw leaves. Note: Once sauteed you will have 1 1/2 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup half and half
- 3 large egg whites, whipped to hold firm peaks
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350 with rack in center position In a large skillet over medium low heat, melt butter OR heat olive oil and add chopped onion. Cook for two minutes, stirring. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Continue cooking until onion is soft. Remove cover and cook 2 more minutes until most of the water has cooked off. Remove onions to a bowl. Add all 12 cups of spinach leaves to skillet (there should still be 1 to 2 Tbsp of liquid in pan), stir until spinach has wilted down. Continue cooking until just cooked through. Add spinach to onions. Line a colander with a linen cloth or paper toweling, add spinach/onions and press out any remaining moisture. Place spinach, onions, half and half, salt pepper and nutmeg in a food processor or standing blender, (or use immersion blender) to puree mixture. Place in a medium-sized bowl to cool. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip egg whites until they hold firm peaks. Using a spatula and a gentle over under motion, fold egg whites into spinach mixture until no white streaks show. You will now have 4 cups of the spinach souffle mixture. Grease two, 2-cup mini casserole dishes or one 4-cup casserole and pour spinach mixture into casserole(s). Place in preheated 350 oven and bake for 30 minutes until souffle has crowned and souffle has pulled away from the sides of the dish. Serve immediately.
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