This recipe for Espinaca combines spinach, corn, and mushrooms with cream cheese and green chilies to make this spicy and savory dip or side dish.
Do you need a side dish to round out your menu or a dip to take to your next party?
Try this Espinaca, inspired by one of my favorite items on the menu at Abuelo’s. Sounds like a waitress, doesn’t it?
This recipe is 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, and corn, mixed together and spiced with a chipotle cheese sauce.
Ingredients and Substitutions:
- SPINACH: Frozen spinach is the easiest way to go.
- MUSHROOMS: Fresh sliced button mushrooms are my first choice. Fresh Baby Bellas would be just as good. Substitute canned mushroom pieces if you don’t have fresh. They will be cheaper and easier.
- BACON: 2 slices of bacon is no big deal if you keep cooked bacon in your freezer. Microwaving two pieces of bacon doesn’t take long, either.
Costco sells bags of cooked bacon pieces that are shelf-stable until you open them. They would be the perfect solution for this recipe as well as your next pizza.
- CHIPOTLE PEPPERS IN ADOBO SAUCE: Buy these in a small can. They add a lot of heat and interest to this recipe. Freeze the remaining peppers for future use. (See directions below.)
- ONION: White or yellow onions are best.
- RED BELL PEPPERS: If you don’t have red bell peppers, use yellow or orange peppers. Green peppers will give your recipe a different flavor vibe since they are not as sweet.
- CORN: Fresh would be fabulous, but I generally use frozen corn for convenience.
- PROCESSED CHEESE: Velveeta is my processed cheese of choice.
- CREAM CHEESE: This recipe is spicy enough that you can use low-fat cream cheese if you prefer.
- JACK OR CHEDDAR CHEESE: You could leave this out if you don’t have it. Personally, I like to double the cheese.
***Kitchen Secret for Chipotle Chilies
Chipotle chiles are smoked, dried jalapeños. 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 the freezer. Take out only the portion you need and chop finely for this recipe.
What do I serve with Espinaca?
Pita chips or tortilla chips are ideal if you are using this as a dip. Abuelos serves it as a side dish or casserole with Cheesy Jalapeño Mashed Potatoes.
Need more snack ideas for a get-together?
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- 10 oz. bag chopped, frozen spinach
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or coarsely chopped
- 2 slices bacon, 1/4-inch pieces
- 1-2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped (See note)
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped (approximately 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
- 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
- 5 ounces processed cheese like Velveeta, cubed
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
- Snip a small corner of the bag of frozen spinach. Place on plate and microwave (still in the bag) 3 minutes to thaw. Spinach should still be bright green. Pour into a strainer and mash with a spoon to get as much liquid out as you can. Set aside.
- Saute bacon pieces in a medium skillet until crispy. Remove and pour off all but the smallest amount of grease.
- Saute mushrooms in the same skillet. When brown, add chipotle, onion, bell pepper, and garlic, cooking until vegetables are softened. Season with salt.
- Over low heat, add cream cheese and processed cheese, stirring to melt and combine.
- Stir in corn, spinach, and bacon. Pour into a 1-1/2 quart baking dish.
- 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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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 955mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 14g