This easy to make delicious and healthy spinach casserole, includes a crunchy topping, melted feta and a touch of parmesan. This is perfect for a main dish, a side dish and/or brunch.
Spinach and feta are truly one of those great food combinations. We see it in the famous spanakopita where they are combined along with crunchy phyllo but also with spanakorizo the traditional Greek spinach and rice dish which must be eaten with a chunk of feta.
Spinach is one of those much loved leafy vegetables, it’s added in pasta, in dips and in salads. Cooking it, as is done mostly in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, has the added benefit of shrinking, that means that it is easier to eat much more!
The Flavors of Spanakopita in a Casserole
This dish came about because I was looking to make a somewhat easy dish that included 2 of my favorite ingredients: feta and spinach. Oh and it had to be easy! So what about a spinach casserole but healthier and more Mediterranean? I used ingredients typically used in a spanakopita along with parmesan and a few eggs as well as herbs. Because there is no phyllo, I felt it needed something starchy to give it a bit more texture and substance, so I made this easy topping. I used whole grain wheat and barley breadcrumbs and mixed them with some olive oil with a fork until I had a coarse meal, similar to the method used to make a streusel topping. I basically made a gratin and it took less than 30 minutes!
The result was not only pretty but delicious! In every bite you get melted cheese along with flavorful spinach and herbs and the crunchy topping. And this is in fact a healthy dish as opposed to many spinach casseroles that contain cream, butter, and lot of cheese. This felt filling and rich but not heavy.
We had this for lunch, but it would make a great breakfast or brunch dish. It combines everything you need: vegetables, protein, good fats and flavor. You can assemble it the night before and just bake it the next morning.
There have been several studies examining the nutrients in spinach. Generally (thanks to Popeye) we associate spinach with iron. Yes, spinach contains iron although many factors affect how much you actually absorb. Cooked spinach increases the amount of iron and calcium available for absorption. There is also the issue of oxalic acid, this is an inhibitor that is believed to block the absorption of iron and calcium. However when spinach is cooked, the oxalic acid is broken down and does not block the absorption of nutrients.
The absorption of iron can be increased when consumed with vitamin C rich foods such as squeezing some lemon or accompanying with a small tomato salad.
Research has also shown that although there is loss of some nutrients in vegetables when cooked (such as vitamin K), in many instances fat soluble vitamin levels are increased as well as the antioxidant ability.
Apart from iron, spinach is a good source of vitamins, A and C, folate, magnesium, and calcium.
SAVE FOR LATER AND PIN IT!
Photos by Elena Paravantes© All Rights Reserved