It’s the crazy, hectic time of year and you just want easy with a “wow” factor. Here it is with these versatile spinach artichoke squares!
Instead of serving the classic combination of spinach and artichokes as a hot dip with chips and crackers, these baked “squares” make an elegant hot appetizer that your low-carbing friends and family will love. It’s also perfect for your holiday brunch and best of all, you may already have many of the ingredients on hand.
I like to keep either canned or frozen artichokes on hand at all times. Frozen artichoke hearts will have better flavor than canned, but they’re not always easy to find and they are more expensive. Avoid using marinated artichokes in this recipe; they’re better used in something like an antipasto platter.
Frozen chopped spinach is one of my favorite “convenience” products. Fresh spinach contains a lot of water and shrinks considerably when cooked. I love to use fresh ingredients whenever possible, however, I can’t tell you how many times I purchased fresh spinach for a dish thinking I had enough and it practically disappeared before my eyes! Because commercially frozen chopped spinach is already cooked, it’s easier to estimate the amount you’ll require for a recipe.
Squeezing the excess water from frozen spinach is not one of my favorite things to do, but a potato ricer comes in handy for this purpose. Simply drop the thawed spinach in small batches into the well and squeeze as if ricing a potato.
I prefer to use Swiss or Gruyere cheese in this recipe, however, I have been known to clean out the cheese drawer when making these by shredding and combining all the bits of white cheese I have on hand such as Mozzarella or white Cheddar.
Besides being easy and delicious, this dish can be prepared ahead of time and baked at the last minute. For a spicy variation, add chopped fresh jalapeno peppers. Enjoy!
Non-stick cooking spray or olive oil
2-3 tablespoons seasoned dry breadcrumbs
2 cans (14-ounce) artichoke hearts, drained and squeezed of excess water (may also use frozen)
1 package (10-ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
1 bunch scallions (white and light green part only), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese
4 large eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese or 4 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray or lightly coat with oil. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts.
Combine the artichoke hearts, spinach, scallions, garlic and cheese in a bowl. Spoon evenly into prepared baking dish being careful not to disturb the breadcrumbs.
Whisk together eggs, mayonnaise, mascarpone or cream cheese, half-and-half (or milk), salt and black pepper. Pour over spinach - artichoke mixture.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool slightly on a wire rack, Cut into small squares, arrange on platter, garnish if desired and serve.