Espinaca–Side Dish or a Dip

espinaca post pic 2.jpg

I am a reformed spinach hater. As a child, my only exposure to the green stuff was Popeye spinach at school. Straight out of a can. No further explanation needed.

As a young adult, I discovered spinach salad. It was a beautiful color and so fresh. Spinach souffle was mighty tasty, too.

Then I ate at Abuelo’s–a very nice Mexican restaurant in these parts where I met up with Espinaca. Sounds like a waitress, doesn’t it? But no. It’s a wonderful Mexican (probably Tex-Mex but I don’t know for sure) version of spinach. It has so many of my favorite things–mushrooms, red bell peppers, spinach, corn and cheese–mixed together and spiced with chipotle sauce.

If you are looking for a deliciously different dip for your next party, check out the variation at the end.

espinaca dip

Note: Chipotle chiles are smoked, dried jalapenos. They can be purchased in a can packed in adobo sauce. Since this stuff is potent and powerful, I drop each individual whole pepper with a portion of sauce onto a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper. Freeze, then remove frozen pepper portions to a zippered plastic bag and return to freezer. Take out only the portion you need. and chop finely for this recipe.

Espinaca--Side Dish or a Dip
Recipe type: Vegetable
Serves: 6
Spinach, corn and mushrooms combine with cream cheese and green chilies to make a spicy and savory dip or side dish.
  • 12 oz. bag chopped, frozen spinach
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or coarsely chopped
  • 2 slices bacon, ¼-inch pieces
  • 1-2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped (See note)
  • ½ onion, finely chopped (approximately ½ cup)
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 5 ounces processed cheese, (I prefer 2% Velveeta) cubed
  • 3 ounces cream cheese (I prefer reduced fat--can't taste the difference in this recipe)
  • ½ cup grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
  1. Snip small corner of bag of frozen spinach. Place on plate and microwave (still in bag) 3 minutes to thaw. Spinach should still be bright green. Pour into strainer and mash with a spoon to get as much liquid out as you can. Set aside.
  2. Second: Saute bacon pieces in medium skillet until crispy. Remove and pour off all but the smallest amount of grease.
  3. Saute mushrooms in same skillet. When brown, add chipotle, onion, bell pepper and garlic, cooking until vegetables are softened. Season with salt.
  4. Over low heat, add cheese, stirring to melt and combine.
  5. Stir in corn and bacon. Pour into 1½ quart baking dish.
  6. Sixth: Sprinkle grated cheese on top and heat in microwave or oven at 350 until heated through and cheese melts.
Leftover idea: Fill a flour tortilla with 2-3 tablespoons of espinaca and sprinkle with cheese. A quick trip to the microwave makes a very tasty lunch or snack.


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Patti March 5, 2010 at 9:35 am

Thank you so much for this recipe. I LOVE Abuelo’s Espinaca and was wondering how I could recreate it. Now I can!!


Sue January 22, 2010 at 8:29 am

What a great hint about the canned chipotle chilies! I love to use them, but never need the whole can. Thanks.


Katrina January 21, 2010 at 11:18 pm

That looks so good! I love spinach. Just had some creamy spinach soup tonight that was really good.
(I always only buy 2% cheeses and the less fat cream cheese. I can’t tell a difference.)


Susie January 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm

yum…i would choose to eat the whole thing as a dish! would make a great food while watching the cowboys play. since the season is over now, let’s remember this recipe for next year!


Mimi January 21, 2010 at 10:20 am

I’m always on the lookout for side dishes to serve with Southwest/Mexican foods this looks fantastic.


MaryMoh January 21, 2010 at 8:09 am

Wow…love all the ingredients. Great as a dip. I love it!


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