Thursday, March 1, 2012


Spinach Quiche-Casserole

As we settle into the long, cold, dark days that come with the final slog through winter, we — your pals from The Hairpin and The Awl — will be bringing you some of our favorite casserole recipes (and crockery recommendations).

This spinach casserole is eaten at just about every big family meal on my mom's side, and I'm pretty sure that some people might be breaking plates in revolt if it weren't on the table. We never get sick of it, ever. It's a veggie dish that works as a meal or a side (there are some vegetarians in my family, hence its ubiquity), and it comes from my grandma Marty, who never turned her nose up at a recipe from the back of a Campbell's can, or was ever out of Lawry's. So, you know the type — homegirl loves a casserole. And it gets some greenery into your comfort food, but it's not low fat or healthy in any way, so that probably cancels it out.


2 bags raw spinach, or 2 packages frozen chopped spinach (I used bagged because I'm an overachiever like that)
16 oz tub of cottage cheese (do NOT use non-fat cottage cheese, because that is nasty and tastes wrong. Don't eat it. 4% is the MOST delicious, but 2% can work for this recipe if you insist)
3 eggs
Approx 1 cup cheddar cheese cubes
Approx 10 small (1cm square) butter chunks (I told you, not low fat)
3 tbsp flour
S and P


1. Wilt your spinach in a little bit of boiling water in a large pan. Drain it in a colander and press out the extra liquid with the back of a wooden spoon. Or thaw and drain, if using frozen.

2. Mix the spinach with the cottage cheese, eggs, cheddar cubes, half the butter chunks, and flour.

3. S and P at will.

4. Pour mixture into a baking pan.

5. Dot the top wantonly with the rest of the butter chunks (is "butter chunks" not the best phrase/image/notion EVER? I want to name my firstborn Butter Chunks. Butter Chunks Walsh).

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and cheesy and oozy. I actually had to leave mine in for longer and jack up the heat 10 degrees cause I got a LITTLE too crazy with the butter chunks. Team Butter chunks! Fist pump!

So basically, it's like quiche, but it's NOT, it's spinach casserole! (It's more spinach-y and less eggy/creamy than a quiche.) Serve as a side to chicken, steak, fish, etc., or make a meal of it with a baked potato and salad. Or it also goes well with rice. Stand in the kitchen picking the crusty cheesy parts out of the corners of the pan with your fingers. Shove it INTO the baked potato and eat it with your hands (I did this once when I was six and was subsequently scolded for my hideous table manners, at which point I retired to my bedroom in a huff to beat my fists against my bed, crying "NOBODY LOVES MEEEE!!!" That's how serious this spinach casserole is). Bring it to a potluck and impress your friends. Eat it the next day cold (even more delicious). I've been wanting to experiment with extra goodies and other flavors in this one — balsamic onion and feta? Mushroom and mozzarella? It's hard to argue with the classic, though. It's easy and delicious, and I highly suggest you incorporate it into your rotation. Beware its siren call, however, as it may take over your family like it's taken over mine.

Katie Walsh is serving Pioneer Woman realness.

103 Comments / Post A Comment


I have all of these things in my house right now...and have been looking for a way to use up the cottage cheese. This looks perfect! I'll try it tomorrow.

It kind of reminds me of the spinach rice casserole thingy in the Moosewood Cookbook.


@Cavendish The spinach rice WHAT now? Can I vote for sharing on that?


This article is relevant to all my interests -- eggs and cheese, mostly.


really really well done work@k


It's like a midwest spanakopita! YUM.


I made some similar to this the other day (no cottage cheese though...next time!), but instead of cooking it in one big dish I put it into muffin tins. Delish eggy muffin things! They're perfect for breakfast, or snacks (or always) and you can freeze them too, if you're only one person (which I guess most people are....but you know).


@girlandtonic that is an amazing idea!


@girlandtonic Great idea! I'm going to do that.


@girlandtonic Speaking of eggy muffin things, I'm a massive brunch nerd. Sat and Sun at my house is brunch central. I make baked eggs in muffin tins BUT my secret is to wrap a piece of bacon around the edges of the cup, put a leeeetle pat of butter in the bottom, sprinkle in cheddar, break the egg into the cup (I don't break my yolks but if you are squeamish about runny eggs go ahead), salt and pepper, and a little more cheese. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until the bacon is crispy on the edges and the eggs are a done as you like. Bacon wrapped egg muffin!

Katie Walsh

@girlandtonic Frittata muffin ladies-- do you use muffin cup liner thingies for this? I think I destroyed a muffin tin by just pouring the frittata mixture in. It also may have been the way I cleaned it. Or the fact that it was a chintzy tin.

Lunchtime poll-- to liner or not to liner?


@Katie Walsh I actually made these last night after being inspired on this post. I sprayed my (non-stick) muffin tins with cooking spray and they popped right out. I didn't try to remove them right away. I let them rest for about 10 minutes and that seemed to help them to steam the sides of the tins so they could be removed more easily. Also, I made them in jumbo muffin tins, because I'm greedy.


@OhShesArtsy Baked eggs!! Those are the standard breakfast that I've eaten at my family camp since I can remember. Super easy to make for lots of people AND you can cook them on the BBQ ;)


@Katie Walsh I actually did a pan that was half liner and half not because I ran out of liners. I would say no liner - a lot of the egg sticks to it when you peel it off. I just used a good smearing of oil in each tin and they all popped out without much fuss.


I make baked frittata-ey things all the time, which are sort of this without all the butter. Basically, mix some vegetables (I usually go for onions sauted in garlic, drained frozen spinach, maybe sauted mushrooms or peppers) in a baking dish. In a bowl, hand-beat a reasonable number of eggs with a splash or two of water. Add a more-than-reasonable amount of cheese (feta, grated cheddar, whatever). Pour the eggs and cheese over the vegetables. Bake for a while. Delicious!


@gobblegirl sorry, you lost me at "without all the butter"...


@gobblegirl Huh! My mom does this too, but she starts it on the stove and then once it's kind of made itself a shape she finishes it in the oven. AND VERILY IT IS TASTY.


What if I made this non veggie and added bacon? Because that... that would be exquisite.


@spoondisaster Yes. Everything is better with bacon, but this would be even more so.

I woud like this. Right now.

:Cinnamon Girl:

Dear Edith and Jane Marie and other people in power,

I don't mean to be a debbie downer, but I'm not into the whole recipe thing on The Hairpin. I know there are probably people who don't like things I like on here, but if I wanted to look at food (I don't), I'd follow a food blog.

Sorrrrrrrrry, just had to say my piece. Love you hairpin! Carry on as you see fit!


@.Lauren. I'm intrigued that you don't want "to look at food"? We've looked at way grosser stuff on here. Or food photos on non-recipe posts.

YMMV but I'm liking the recipe posts a lot, for the record.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@itmakesmewonder poorly phrased. I guess it just clutters my RSS and they seem to be popping up with more frequency, which I'm not thrilled about.


@.Lauren. Just commenting to say that I really like these posts.

I get where you're coming from though, @Lauren., because I am SO afraid of the day that the 'Pin starts regularly posting about sports (*sigh*). I saw that request come up a lot in the "What Would You Like To See" thread, and I cried tears.


@.Lauren. The best thing about RSS is that I can skip things without even looking at them. Man, I skip the hell out of stuff about music and makeup and cleaning.

Lily Rowan

@.Lauren. As you'll note at the beginning of the post, it's a special series by the Hawlpin, so it won't be like this forever.


PS: I've got to start making some of this.


@.Lauren. @wee_ramekin but but but I would rather the Hairpin write about everything so I have the power to skip what I don't want to read. Like, I never read things about sports, but maybe if the Hairpin posts about sports I'll read it and discover a new bizarre love for it.

What RSS reader are you using? Can't you just mark things as read without actually reading them, a la gmail?


@wee_ramekin Oh my, yes. These are awesome. I get that some people don't like some things--I have yet to do more than go "Ehn?" at a music post--but that's why we have clever little fingers to scroll right the hell past things we don't care about. If I hadn't forgotten to thaw all the beef I needed, I'd be eating the hell out of another round of beef-and-yogurt casserole right now. Instead, I think this is getting Vulcan recipe-melded with a kohlrabi-and-ham bake recipe to be dinner (out of kohlrabi, at loose ends with the spinach).


@realtalk This is what I'm hoping! Like, I was never all that interested in ... [there are things but I can't think of them right now] and then we got a great post and it kindled a new bizarre interest for me!


@realtalk See, yes, this is why I would totally love the Hairpin to talk about sports. Because the commenters on every sports site are idiotic assholes (even when the writers are not) and I have been wishing for a while that there was a Hairpin type place to talk about sports sometimes with smart ladies and some guys too.

Bed Monster

@thebestjasmine Yeah, I agree with this. I LOVE sports. My parents immigrated here, but my dad picked up a love for pretty much all sports pretty quickly. By the time I was born, he only really watched football, but he has a fierce love for it. And I have that fierce love, but it also spreads to basketball. I'd be open to somebody making me truly appreciate baseball, too. There really is something magical about discussing sports with ladies, and I'd love to see that happen here because I feel like there'd be some great commentary!

Jane Dough

I'm totally going to make this.

anna to the infinite power

Oh gawd, I love this, I love the REALNESS of these recipes & the homey histories, however mundane. My new oven jsut got hooked up and I am seriously psyched to make Jane's broccoli chicken curry thing!! I love this with a love that approaches the "Ask A"'s and the historical old time hollywood shit. Love. Love Love Love. My mother is a horrible cook and this fills a void.


PIONEER WOMAN REALNESS. Oh how I laughed and laughed.


@snackabee I imagined Katie being a faux-Ree-Drummond and I giggled a lot.

Katie Walsh

@automaticdoor If there was a Drag Ree Drummond, I. Might. Die.


@Katie Walsh A Pit Crew of Marlboro Men.


@Katie Walsh I think what bonnbee posted last night is as close as I've seen so far. (Bonnbee, why did you delete that comment?? Or did it get eaten? What? Did Ree threaten you? Are you being held hostage, tied up with kitchen twine and a jump rope? We gonna have to get you from Oklahoma? My boyfriend's from there, we could totally save you!)


@automaticdoor Are talking about Barbie Ree?? I don't think I deleted anything???? Ree is currently holding me hostage and force-feeding me butter and homeschooling me! Hellllppppppppppp


@bonnbee Then where did your comment gooooooo??!?! It was a thing of beauty! (I have the original in my email if it needs to be copypasta-ed back here.)

NOT HOMESCHOOLING YOU! Aside: Seriously WHAT IS WITH THAT in Oklahoma, omg. My bf was homeschooled. Well, that's actually a misrepresentation. He decided to homeschool himself for high school. It worked, apparently--he took a bunch of community college courses, graduated from OU in three years including a semester at Oxford [wtf] and now is at a fancy-pants law school. He's like a unicorn snowflake: only child who lived with a single mom in Oklahoma who was homeschooled and is pretty normal! He has better social skills than I do! (I'm not sure how much that says?)

EDIT: I take back "pretty normal." He's reading over my shoulder and arguing that he would rather be a "snowflake unicorn." Fine, but I think he lost his claim to "pretty normal." *eyeroll*

Edit #2: "Oklahoma" caught his eye on the screen and that's why he started reading. To be fair, I have my own buzzwords, like "Florida," "DC," "law school," "politics," "feminism," anything involving terrible celebrity news or personal gossip on Facebook...


I have a group of friends who does a similar dish, only with a can of mild green chilis instead of spinach. Really though, the egg and cottage cheese make a good fluffy base for just about anything you want to toss in.


You guys, my New England family makes this exact same recipe. ~*~Katie, are we twiiiiiiiins?~*~

I tried to make a healthier version of it, and one thing you can totally do is substitute olive oil for the butter. I can't taste the difference, but it is assuredly healthier to use olive oil than butter (right?).

The other thing I have done is sprinkled a TON of nutritional yeast on the top of the casserole after putting it in the pan, to kind of give it a panko-y crust on top. That is good.

Also, this recipe is really easily doubled or tripled, with only a bit of extra cooking time.

Lastly, everyone I have made this recipe for loves it.

The End.


@wee_ramekin Nooch! Great idea!


@wee_ramekin Oh, I forgot to add that I mince up a small- to medium-sized yellow onion and put it in. It's really good and adds just a hint of sweetness.

Also, you can add red chile pepper flakes - however much you want. That's good too.

Katie Walsh

@wee_ramekin We must be TWINS. Food twins. I wonder if this recipe can be traced to a Betty Crocker cookbook both our grandmas had. Also, I NEED to make this nooch/onion version, dang girl!


@Katie Walsh Twinsies from another....Pinsies!!

Anyway...I am intrigued by one major difference. Your recipe uses *chunks* of cheddar, while mine uses a bag of shredded cheddar. I think I'll try your way next time I make this!


@wee_ramekin I get completely flummoxed if a savory recipe calls for neither onion nor garlic. (I learned to cook from my Spanish-Cuban father, what can I say?)


Actual chunks of butter. This is why I love the hairpin.


@thebestjasmine It is amazing. I make the classic Fannie Farmer mac n' cheese which is also all about the butter (and cream/milk and cheese) and it is similarly perfect.

nevernude cutoffs

Condragulations, Katie Walsh, she who serves up Pioneer Woman realness. I will be trying this Spinach Quiche-Casserole. I hope it never has to sashay away.

I would love every food feature from now on to have countless references to Ru Paul's Drag Race. (Though they all may in my head)

Katie Walsh

@nevernude cutoffs It is a combination of all my interests colliding at once!!

nevernude cutoffs

@Katie Walsh Indeed! It's like being on uppers, downers and candy corn!

Katie Walsh

@nevernude cutoffs Between Sharon, Phi Phi and Latrice, this season is rapidly expanding my catch phrases.

nevernude cutoffs

@Katie Walsh Agreed. Can't forget Willam though- "Swiffering the floor with his taint" is something I'm trying to work into everyday conversation, with terrible results.

Katie Walsh

@nevernude cutoffs I immediately joined Team Willam upon hearing that comment. Too good.


@.Lauren. I actually totally get what you're saying because I'm all like, cooking, what? BUT, I actually am really into this casserole series because casseroles are really easy, and the only type of cooking I like is extremely easy cooking.

Actually, now that I think about it, I would be down for a series that was Cooking for Dummies style, because I need to learn someday. Like, what implements do I need? I think I have all the wrong ones.


@ennaenirehtac Getting started cooking isn't that complicated if you lower your expectations. Like, it's perfectly okay to throw everything in a pan and sautee it until it's done and then serve that over some rice/noodles/potatoes/whatever and eat the hell out of it. Casseroles are kind of the baked equivalent of that.

@ennaenirehtac Things you need:

1 pot big enough to boil a lot of water. Nope, bigger than that. Look at the really big one. There you go.
1 big everyday skillet/pan.
A set of wood stirring things, a spatula, a pancake flippy thing, and tongs. Purchase these at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond.
One really big knife (no, bigger. no, the biggest one. THERE YOU GO.)
A colander/strainer.

@ennaenirehtac oh AND the best place to get kitchen shit is a local hardware store. Not Home Depot, but the tiny city hardware store that's tiny and cramped and sells everything. Every city has one and they are awesome and great for stuff like glass baking dishes, potholders, and kitchen accessories. If you're ever in the greater DC area, Strosnider's is the best. In Boston, there's a tiny little place in Brookline that's amazing. ACE Hardware usually is great.

nevernude cutoffs

@S. Elizabeth Whaaaaa? What's this Brookline place? I've gone to China Fair for a few things and it's not terrible, although it is kind of scary.

@nevernude cutoffs http://www.yelp.com/biz/city-housewares-brookline

And there's a great hardware store right next to it.

Marquise de Morville

@nevernude cutoffs China fair is great to just look at things, or buy a pot you could use as a bathtub. I was tempted to buy a crocodile/dinosaur piñata, too.

nevernude cutoffs

@Marquise de Morville Give in to this temptation!! Now I want one.
@S. Elizabeth Thanks for the hot tip- I've definitely passed that place, and never went in. I think there's one in Central Sq. too.


@ennaenirehtac STROSNIDER'S HOLLA! I am glad to know they are still in biz.

@nevernude cutoffs It looks really weird/crappy on the outside, but go in. I swear to you, it is AWESOME and amazing. Slightly pricey, but mostly because it's convenient and a small family-owned business. The guys who work there are super nice and helpful and there's a cute dog who hangs out there.

@MrsLlama STROSNIDER'S HOLLA BACK. They're still in business and going strong. My parents live right near one and it's always packed. My mom now does most of her christmas shopping for me there (cute pot holders! cute kitchen stuff! neat makeup storage containers! adorable towels! Calphalon pans!).


@S. Elizabeth Yay! Mom and Pop for the win!


so this looks SUPER AWESOME TASTY, but i have an...aversion...to cottage cheese. i think it is THE WORST. mostly because the texture freaks me out. my question is: if i make this, will the cottage cheese like, hide in there? as in, can i make it and eat it and not be able to tell that it includes the abhorred dairy product? cause that would be great. and/or is there something that people substitute for cottage cheese? SOMEONE MAKE THIS AND TELL MEEEE.

Katie Walsh

@allofthecrafts The texture Is decidely not cottage cheesy.


@allofthecrafts also concerned by grossness of cottage cheese, the definition of squick


@allofthecrafts emmapeterson@twitter You guys, don't even worry. I make the casserole all the time, and I can say with authority that the cottage cheese melts upon cooking and does not retain its shape. There shouldn't be any texture issues.



miss olsen

Casseroles were not in my mom's repertoire, so I've been enjoying this series in an anthropological way. That said, the only thing my grandfather from Wisconsin ever made was something called "Chicken Green Noodles." Do any of you more casserole-hip folks know about this? Could you point me to a recipe? The google results are puzzling.


@miss olsen Chicken... with pesto sauce... and noodles? That is the only thing I can begin to assume. Well, that or chicken and pasta and spinach in alfredo sauce. Maybe?

miss olsen

@Hekatompedon Ooooh pesto is a brilliant idea. On further reflection I think the green noodles were those spinach-flavored/colored fettucine you see sometimes? So it's just a chicken casserole made with green noodles. I'll give it a try, and mix in some pesto. Anticipating delicious Italianate comfort food.


Love love love the recipes. Cooking is one of the cheapest, easiest, most satisfying ways to improve the quality of your life. So not kidding.

This recipe has been a family fave for years. Two suggestions: for a grown-up spicier version, add a TON of black pepper and a little cinnamon. Also, save the leftovers for a weekend morning next to bacon and toast - easiest fancy brunch ever.

Inspector Tiger

oh noes, we don't have cheddar in my country (true story, though I have tastet and loved it), I would substitute feta but that would change the whole recipe, right? Is there some alternative to cheddar, gouda, maybe?


@Inspector Tiger I don't know where you are (so I don't know if this helps), but I often use emmental for cheddar, as it is hard to find in Germany.


@Inspector Tiger Please use Gouda, it's the greatest! Or what the person above me said. Or Edam?


@Inspector Tiger I've found cheddar in Karstadt and Kaufland before. Also expat-type and sometimes bio (organic) shops. It is more expensive, and more likely to be British/Irish cheddar than American style. Sometimes for cooking I mix the good stuff with a mild (and cheaper) gouda, and that turns out really well (extra-stringy!)

a small sea

@Inspector Tiger I sort of wish my country/region didn't have cheddar. Down south, the standard is American (Uh-murh-a-kin) cheese and if you want to be fancy-schmancy, then you get cheddar. Okay, that's a big of an exaggeration but seriously, gouda is so delish and I wish I could eat it ADED. Which is All Day Er'ry Day. Do people outside my immediate friend group use that as an abbreviation? It could be a thing, right?

Inspector Tiger

thanks! I think Emmentaler is a bit to "strong" in taste for me, but I'll try with gouda und see how it goes. I'm in Austria, btw :)


@Inspector Tiger Well, I am pretty much at the opposite of the German-speaking world from you (in Münster), but I occasionally see cheddar slices at Lidl, under the name "Irish." It's not bad stuff.


I don't really eat eggs anymore and only eat cheese on occasion (I'm a half-ass vegan, mostly) but the idea of stuffing all of this into a baked potato just sounded so delightful. And like it would be a great hangover cure.


I remember the first time my mom made quiche when I was in junior high, I got so angry. I thought it was pie, but it was full of disgusting egg and I yelled, "Why did you ruin this nice pie with a bunch of gross egg!?!"


THANK YOU! My mom had this recipe but she lost it and I've been dying to make it!

The only difference is that we shred the cheddar and put more on top so it's basically cheese and butter with a little spinach in it.


I love that you have bags of Kroger spinach in your photo! I can actually buy those.

Maybe I'll do this for the office Thanksgiving potluck (thinking way, way ahead).


To VEGANize, just use a 16-oz block of crumbled, firm/medium tofu in place of the cottage cheese. Omit the eggs (or use more crumbled tofu, maybe an additional half-block.) Use non-dairy cheese such as Daiya (mm), or homemade cashew cheese to sub for the cheese. Use Earth Balance or another vegan dairy product as your "butter." Cook approximately the same amount of time at the same temperature.

Katie Walsh

@agreenballoon THANK YOU! I had no idea how to veganize this (3 separate dairy products!) and this sounds actually delicious.

Hello Dolly

I always do my grocery shopping on pay day, and I plan out my dinners for two weeks. I had no idea what I was going to do for dinner next week and now I do! Thanks, Katie!


It's in the oven! With roughly all the ingredients! So excited!!

Katie Walsh

@Inkcrafter Yeah! Let me know how it goes!


@Katie Walsh
Turning on the oven helps! WHATEVER THERMODYNAMICS.
Other than THAT setback, this is awesome. I did bread shreds on top along with the butter, so it came out really crunchy and buttery and awesome.
I love a good veggie dish with protein and fat! Thank you so much!

a small sea

@Inkcrafter MINE TOO. It still has 27 minutes though. I wish it would hurry up because I want to go over to a friend's house but my cats can't seem to handle taking things out of the oven/do other simple favors for me so I must wait another 27 minutes. Which will then turn into 10 more minutes because I'll want to taste some and then probably burn my tongue and then make myself wait til it cools to re-try it again.

New Hoarder

So I would never make this because I don't cook (maybe I can force Mr. Hoarder to do it), but I am eating Stouffer's spinach souffle today, yay!

Heather M

Hey hey this is basically the "quiche" that my grandma, mom, and I all make. The only difference is in the cheese: you use ricotta instead of cottage, and you create a "crust" out of munster (use it to line to casserole and decorate the top with it. My mom used to spell out my brother and my initials in munster on top.) Also, sprinkle in some parmesan. Classic!

a small sea

@Heather M I used too much spinach and then felt like I needed to balance it out but I had already used all the cottage cheese (because I never eat it normally, ick) so I used ricotta because of your comment and I bet it's gonna be so tasty! The munster crust sounds good too! Never enough cheese!!

Sarah Pin@twitter

Made this for the vegetarians in a group of eleven people tonight. The non-vegetarians also got into it, and we ended up with a lot of leftover pizza meant for them.

I used what was evidently too much butter (one whole stick), and ended up very carefully draining a bunch off the top after it had cooled a little.

Katie Walsh

So happy to hear everyone is trying this recipe!

Just wanted to update: I showed this post to Grandma Marty this weekend and she was delighted with all of your comments. I asked her where she got the recipe, and she says it's from her mom Geri, my great-grandma, who spent her entire life in Bismarck, North Dakota. That is some legit midwestern realness!

Seo King@facebook

All of you who confessed to not washing your produce before eating it are invited over to my house for a potluck. We'll have salad, stir-fry, fruit cup, smoothies, and a tablespoon of grit each.link


Keep up the fantastic work vigrx results


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