Lightened Up Cashew Creamed Spinach
Yields: about 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
A comfort food favorite, this creamed spinach is anything but traditional. The sauce base is made up of cashews, cauliflower, vegetable broth and a bit of cheese, making for a healthy twist on a delicious creamy dish!
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw cauliflower
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, plus 1/4 cup
1 tablespoon butter, plus a bit to grease dish
1/2 cup white or yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound frozen chopped spinach
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups cheese blend (Fontina, Asiago and Parmesan), plus 1/4 cup for topping
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Defrost frozen spinach and remove excess water. Set aside.
3. Heat one cup of cauliflower, one cup of cashews and 2 cups vegetable broth chicken broth in a sauce pan on medium heat. Bring to a boil, and let cook for 10 minutes until soft.
4. Place cashew cauliflower mixture (carefully) in a high-speed blender. Start on low and blend until well combined.
5. While the cashew and cauliflower sauce is in the blender, heat 1 tablespoon butter in the saucepan with the thawed chopped spinach, diced onions and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes until onions are translucent. Add additional 1/4 cup broth.
6. Pour cashew cauliflower sauce back into saucepan (no heat) and add 2 cups of cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
7. Mix everything together.
8. Lightly grease a dish (7’’ x 10’’-ish) and pour spinach mixture into dish. Top with remaining cheese.
9. Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes until bubbly and cooked through. Enjoy alone as a side or as a sauce with rice or pasta.
Believe it or not, the kids have asked for this dish multiple times since making it for Christmas. The cashews, cauliflower and broth take the place of heavy cream, butter and flour, making for a healthy and gluten free veggie filled dish.
Cashews are rich in vitamin E, dietary fiber and have no cholesterol. When softened and blended, they act like a cream, creating the perfect healthy swap. Cauliflower is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and some B vitamins. It is also low in calories and virtually fat free.
This is a great side dish for entertaining as well as just an ordinary weekday dinner. It is creamy enough, with a bit a flavorful cheese that satiates the savory taste buds, while keeping nutrition in check. I didn’t use any flour or create a traditional roux, as it used in most creamed spinach dishes. This is a big deal for people with gluten sensitivities or intolerances, as most recipes that have a creamy base have some element of flour.
We just eat this plain as a side dish, however it could easily become a dip or even a sauce over pasta. This is a perfect example of not only swapping out less nutritious ingredients for healthier ones, but also adding in extra nutrition as well.