#MeatlessMondays – Get strong as Popeye the Sailor with a crustless spinach tart

Vegetable tarts, pies and gratins are an easy way to get those 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, without having to go out of your way. Without even knowing it, Peruvians got it right when they started introducing lots of these savory pastry recipes into their diet. Dishes such as pastel de acelga, pastel de alcachofa (the artichoke version of pastel de acelga), vegetable flans and empanadas, and timbal de espinacas -the recipe I’m sharing today-, are a very common snack or appetizer, enjoyed both when eating out and when preparing food at home.

The good thing about these veggie tarts, other than being cheap and easy to make, lasting for several days in the fridge, and tasting delicious, is that they are a kind of veggie in disguise, similar to what I said about the coliflor arrebozada. Latin Americans have found wise ways to make eating vegetables fun and tasty, so that people learn to eat them and love them from a very early age. I remember loving this type of food since I was a kid, eating it at room temperature out of my lunchbox at school. I wasn’t the only one; everyone around me seemed to enjoy these salty treats as much as I did. This probably had to do with the eggs, cheese, milk, and crumbly crusts that were usually a part of the preparation, which gave them a completely different appearance, taste, and feeling, than the depressing act that eating a cold and crunchy salad represents for kids.

You can make this crustless spinach tart with any fresh, frozen, or even stale bread, making good use of food that you are ready to discard. And if you cut it in small squares, it is also a perfect bite to serve as an hors d’oeuvre at your next dinner or cocktail party. There is no doubt that everyone’s tastebuds (and bodies) will be pleased with the delicious dose of greens.

 

Timbal de Espinacas - Crustless Spinach Tart
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, plus extra for buttering the pan
  • 4 slices bread
  • 500 gr spinach
  • ½ onion
  • 150 gr grated cheddar cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ cup cream (half & half)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat the Oven to 350F.
  2. Butter an ovenproof dish. Cut the bread slices in small pieces. Transfer half of them into a bowl, and cover the bottom of the buttered pan with the other half.
  3. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for one minute until just wilted. Drain with a strainer, pressing with a spoon to get rid of all the liquid.
  4. Chop the spinach and add it to the bowl with the chopped bread.
  5. Chop the onion. Heat ⅓ of the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add to the bowl along with the cheese and eggs. Stir everything with a fork.
  6. In the same frying pan you used for the onions, warm up the remaining butter with the half and half, until the butter melts. Do not let it boil.
  7. Put the warm liquid into the bowl. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir well with the fork.
  8. Pour the mixture over the buttered pan lined up with bread pieces. Put the pan on a larger ovenproof dish or baking pan. Pour some water into the larger pan, until it reaches half way the height of the smaller pan.
  9. Bake like this for 40 minutes. Take out of the oven, and let cool a little bit on a cooling rack before serving.

 

 

Comments

  1. How yummy. I love spinach!

  2. I love spinach and this just looks so good!

  3. I love eating my vegetables this way! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  4. This looks awesome and my mouth is watering just looking at the photos. I love spinach and am always looking for new ways to use it. You got me with this one! I can’t wait to make it. Does it work best with stale bread so it doesn’t fall apart?

  5. If I weren’t on this no bread, no carb or dairy tint for a week, I’d mark this to make. I know spinach anything. So good for you and a great way to get my greens in.

  6. I have to laugh at Bren’s comment about being on a no carb restriction which I am also on after having hosted my papis for more than a month. However, I am going to file this away for my cocktail party or brunch files. Nutrition packed and easy!

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