Lactose-free Creamed Spinach
However, I recently wrote an article about Rethinking the Kid-Veggie Relationship on US News & Health Report’s eat + run blog, and got some pretty great feedback from other moms and healthcare professionals. One of the points I argued was that, in preparing vegetables for young children, its OK to make them a little more indulgently than you would if you were cooking for just yourself. Using rich sauces, dips and higher-fat cooking methods can help make them friendlier to young palates that are quite sensitive to astringent and bitter flavors.
Having said that, I also advocate for sharing family meals. So, is it possible to strike a middle ground between a richer veggie preparation that kids will find easy to like… without breaking the calorie bank for the adults trying to watch our waistlines?
Creamed spinach has great potential in this regard, though most traditional preparations are so dairy-laden (cream, butter, cheese) that any adults with lactose intolerance aren’t likely to do well with it.
So here’s a slimmed-down (but not super-skinny) recipe for a lactose-free Creamed Spinach that I made recently for lunch for the whole family. Using frozen chopped spinach keeps cooking time fast and makes the texture easier for younger children to handle (no stems or long stringy leaves); I recommend organic, since conventional spinach is a “dirty dozen” vegetable. You can also puree this prepared recipe to serve to babies over the age of 6 months, once you have introduced dairy to them with no reaction. While the recipe does call for some cheese, it’s all hard, aged cheese which is essentially lactose free (rather than younger cheeses like Mozzarella as some recipes call for). I swapped out the usual heavy cream or half-and-half with plain, lowfat, lactose-free kefir from my pals at Green Valley Organics*; this keeps the calories, fat and lactose under better control. No added salt should be necessary; there’s enough in the cheese to season the whole dish appropriately.
Recipe: Lactose-Free Creamed Spinach
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 10 oz package organic, frozen chopped spinach, defrosted per package directions
- 1/4 cup Green Valley Organics Lactose-free Plain Kefir* (shaken well before using to ensure its nice and thick)
- 1/4 cup shredded organic cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded organic Parmesan cheese
- Heat olive oil over medium heat
- Saute shallot in oil, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until translucent and soft
- Add defrosted spinach and mix until ingredients are well-combined
- Stir in kefir and continue mixing to blend ingredients well. Let simmer for a few minutes until some excess liquid has cooked off.
- Turn off heat, and stir in shredded cheeses until melted. Serve!
Approximate nutrition info per adult serving (1/3 the recipe): 150 calories, 10g fat, 10g protein, 7g carbohydrate (of which 2.5g is fiber).
Approximate nutrition info per toddler serving (1/5 recipe): 90 calories, 6g fat, 6g protein, 4g carbohydrate (of which 1.5g is fiber).
* FTC disclosure: I am a paid consulting dietitian for Green Valley Organics Lactose Free. What racket I have going here–I get paid to come up with new ways to use the organic dairy products I was already buying anyway!Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.