This is a take on an absolute staple of my childhood. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve eaten this, since it’s stupidly easy to make; even when I was eating pastry willy-nilly the ready rolled stuff regularly made an appearance. But what really makes this delicious is the fact that it’s completely impossible to make a dry flan involving spinach. Seriously – give it a go. I dare you to try and make a dry flan when it has this much spinach in it.
I mean, raw spinach is 91% water so… you probably won’t have much luck.
This dish is vegetarian, completely maxed out on protein*, and (due to the aforementioned crustless nature of the beast) is also gluten-free. It’s also good and cheesy, due to the addition of Parmesan, and one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make. Other than basic seasoning, it has four ingredients.
We’ve pretty much exhausted my foreign language bank there, so let’s move on. No wait – Spanish! Cuatro! Okay, now we can move on.
Crustless Cheese & Spinach Flan (Vegetarian, Gluten-free)
Serves 4 (3sp per portion, or 5sp for half the flan)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Flan or pie dish, lined with greaseproof paper/foil** (round dish, roughly 25cm diameter); microwaveable mixing bowl; sieve; a unending desire to consume as much cheese in one sitting as humanly possible.
- 500g fat free cottage cheese
- 300g frozen spinach
- 1 tbsp Parmesan (you can increase this if you want it cheesier – I wouldn’t blame you)
- 2 eggs
- Lots of black pepper, and a pinch of salt
I’m not even going to number these instructions, because it’s just too easy a recipe to require such frippery. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Defrost your spinach in a bowl in the microwave according to packet instructions, then pop it in a sieve and get as much water out of it as you can (use the back of a spoon if you’re struggling). Dry the bowl if there’s any excess water in there, then add the spinach back in with all of the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. When I say lots of black pepper, I mean lots of black pepper. Trust me when I tell you that black pepper will only make this more delicious. Pour the mixture into the lined dish, smooth out the top, then bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top and firm. Cut into quarters and serve with new potatoes and salad/greens — or do what I do most of the time and eat half a pie to yourself and nothing else.
This is surprisingly juicy, versatile, and delicious hot or cold. Who needs pastry?!
(Trick question, I know pastry is its own food group)
*I am aware that “lotsa protein” is not actually equivalent to “super healthy”, but this kind of happens to be both.
**The foil is easier to work with at the start, but harder to work with at the end. So really it depends on whether past you wants to make allowances for future you.