I am always a little amazed at how much my picky eater loves spinach.
There are so many things that she doesn’t like, for so many reasons, but if I add spinach, herbs and lots of garlic, she’ll eat it. It’s a good thing too since we still have loads of spinach growing in the garden.
We started with one cheap packet of seeds about 18 month ago and the spinach has survived freezing ice, searing hot winds, several rouge chicken attacks, snails, slugs and a distinct lack of water and care, and is still going strong. It has to be one of the best value plants we’ve ever grown.
For a quick, easy, and cheap family meal we’ve come up with this simple cheesy spinach and herb pasta bake.
Last night we made our spinach pasta bake in little ramekins because my kids love having their own personal pot of dinner, but this works just as well in a big baking dish. And don’t scrimp on the herby crumbs, they are the best bit!
- 500 gm packet of pasta, cooked.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- a bunch of fresh herbs
- 3-4 spring onions chopped (shallots)
- garlic (to taste)
- a big bunch of spinach
- 1/2 – 1 cup of sour cream or cream
- 1 cup of grated cheese, tasty or mozzarella
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- a few slices of crusty bread, toasted
- extra herbs and garlic
- Cook your pasta as per the instructions on the packet. We use tubular pasta but you could use any shape you like.
- While the pasta is cooking heat the olive oil in a pan, add the garlic (as much or as little as you like) and onions, and cook for a minute or two over a medium heat.
- Add the herbs (we used basil, mint, rosemary and chives because that is what we have growing in the garden at the moment) and cook for another minute or two.
- Wash your spinach well and chop into into smallish pieces. Add the spinach to the pan and cook over a medium heat until it is cooked through and soft.
- Add 1/2 cup or more of sour cream (or regular cream) depending on how creamy you like your pasta.
- Add both the cheeses and stir through until everything is melted and combined. Add a splash of milk if it is a bit thick.
- Mix the spinach and cream mixture through the pasta until it is well coated.
- In the food processor whiz up the toasted bread, herbs and garlic until they form large crumbs.
- Grease ramekins or a large baking dish and preheat your oven to approx 180 Celsius.
- Fill the ramekins or baking dish with the pasta mixture, top with a generous amount of herby breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or util the crumbs begin to brown.
This easy dinner is now a regular on our menu plan.
I’m planning to just switch out the spinach for zucchini when the we get to that point at the end of summer when we’ve grown more zucchinis than we know what to do with! And there are so many other veggies you could use in this recipe, and a little ham of bacon would be a great addition too.
What surprising foods do your kids like?