Laurie Colwin's Creamed Spinach

A classic comfort food dish, brightened up with the addition of Vanns Celery Salt and pickled jalapeño.

Laurie Colwin

Creamed spinach is about as classic as you can go on a side dish, but this version, adapted from beloved food writer Laurie Colwin, spices things up a bit to cut through the creaminess of the dish with some pickled jalapeños and Vanns Celery Salt. It may seem like an unexpected combination, but the Celery Salt is perfectly subtle, just adding a bit of green brightness to the otherwise heavy dish. Monterey Jack cheese and buttered breadcrumbs round out the dish, which is equally at home as part of a fancy dinner or as a vegetarian main dish to be served with a simple salad on the side.

Spices used in this recipe

Peppercorns, Black, Grinder
Celery Salt
Salt, Kosher


  • 2 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 5 Tbs. butter, divided, plus extra for buttering pan
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • Vanns Black Peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp. Vanns Celery Salt
  • 6 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 pickled jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • Vanns Kosher Salt, to taste
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs, preferably homemade


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F and butter a shallow 4-6 cup baking dish.
  2. Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of drained water, discarding the rest. Set water and drained spinach aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook over medium-low heat until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes, until fragrant. Stir in flour and cook an additional 3 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid brownings.
  4. Slowly pour in the reserved spinach liquid, stirring as you pour. Stir in the evaporated milk, black pepper to taste, celery salt, and cheese. Stir until evenly combined and cheese is beginning to melt.
  5. Add the jalapeno and spinach and stir to blend. Taste mixture for seasoning and add kosher salt if needed. Pour spinach mixture into prepared baking dish.
  6. Melt remaining 1 Tbs. butter and stir into breadcrumbs until evenly combined. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the spinach mixture. Bake dish for 45 minutes, until browned on top and bubbling at the sides.

Serves 6-8. Adapted from Laurie Colwin.


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