Creamed spinach is in my opinion the most delicious way to eat this green vegetable. Spinach has this ability to shrInk down, and becomes soft and melt-in-your-mouth-like, so what a better way to showcase it than to let it do all of that into a delicious vegan béchamel sauce.
When I made vegan creamed spinach for my husband for the first time, he did what he frequently does with many of the recipes I put in front of them. He transformed it into a hybrid by saying something like, “you know what would be good with this sauce? If you poured it all over a big bowl of pasta”.
Sometimes his hybrids sound just weird, but with this one, all the lightbulbs went off and I tried it immediately.
Oh and adding vegan cheese that will melt and bubble on top? Yes please!
Without further ado, enjoy the video, recipe and printable below!
CREAMED SPINACH PASTA CASSEROLE
Yield: 4-5 servings | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes
- 17-18 oz (0.5 Kg) of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible (to thaw quickly add to boiling water until the leaves separate, then drain, cool and squeeze)
- 3 cups dried penne pasta (use gluten free pasta for the GF version)
- 3 tablespoons non-dairy butter
- 3 shallots, finely minced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or 1 tablespoon cornstarch dilluted in a bit of water for the gluten free version)
- 3 cups non-dairy milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 dashes of nutmeg
- Your favorite vegan cheese shreds for broiling the top (optional)
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until al dente, then drain and set aside.
2. While your pasta boils, melt the non-dairy butter in a pan on medium heat, add the shallots and garlic, a pinch of salt and let them cook for a few minutes until fragrant and softened, making sure the garlic doesn't burn.
3. Add the flour (if making the GF version skip this step), and stir, let cook for a few seconds.
4. Whisk in the non-dairy milk and raise the heat. Bring the mixture up to a boil and whisk frequently (if making the GF version, add the cornstarch dilluted in water at this stage while you whisk).
5. Let the sauce reduce and thicken, it can take up to 10 minutes so be patient, whisk frequently so that the bottom doesn't scorch.
6. Once thickened, season with salt and pepper to taste, add 2 or 3 dashes of nutmeg, stir, and add in your squeezed spinach, mixing until everything is well incorporated.
7. Once your pasta is ready, drain it from the water that it boiled in and add it to the pan with your sauce.
8. Turn on the broiler or top of your oven at 400ºF (205ºC) and move the oven rack one notch higher than the center.
9. Add the contents of the pan to an oven-proof casserole dish and top with the vegan cheese shreds.
10. Place the pan under the broiler and broil for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy!
Directions for heating if making the casserole ahead of time:
If you're making the casserole ahead of time and want to warm it through, simply pre-heat your oven at 350ºF (180ºC) and bake for 20-25 minutes, then turn on your broiler at 400ºF (205ºC) and broil until the cheese has melted, approximately 5-8 minutes.
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