Spinach Artichoke and Roasted Red Pepper Cheesy Squares
I don’t often say that I love a savory food, but I will say that I love spinach and artichoke dip to the point that you should not leave me alone next to a bowl of it at a party.
None of the other guests will get any because I can polish off a bowl like nobody’s business.
These squares are like spinach and artichoke dip but in bar form and are jazzed up with cheese and roasted red peppers.
Unlike spinach and artichoke dip which requires crackers, bread, or some sort of dippage tool, that’s not required with these.
And that’s a good thing because I only use crackers as a way to see how much spinach and artichoke dip I can consume.
You don’t even need a fork with these. They’re the perfect walk around and talk party food. And a perfect don’t make a mess all over the kitchen floor food. As a mom, my brain always drifts to how many crumbs or how messy a food is or if it stains.
I was thinking about calling the recipe Spinach Artichoke and Roasted Red Pepper Cheesy Casserole. Butcasserole tends to imply boring, makes a ton and you’ll be eating leftovers for days and days, and everything is a mushy mess.
Between the artichokes, their oil and juices, the roasted peppers, the cheese, there’s nothing boring about these.
The recipes makes a modest sized pan and although the leftover squares can be eaten warm, you can also eat them cold or wrap them up and toss them into a lunchbox the next day. They were just as good cold as warm and in fact, I preferred them cold, probably because I love chilled spinach and artichoke dip.
There is plenty of texture from all the vegetables. Not mushy, at all.
They’re a snap to make. A one-bowl, crack open a few jars, stir, combine, and bake kind of recipe:
Open the jars of peppers and artichokes.
Dice the red peppers, and if there are any large artichokes, dice them if you wish. I wanted chunky big pieces, plus the layers of the artichokes slide apart a bit anyway, so I didn’t do much of any dicing.
Crack two eggs into a bowl and beat them with a fork.
Add the jar of artichokes, juice, oil and all.
Add the red peppers (without the juice)
Add a handful or two of frozen spinach flakes (you don’t even need to thaw it)
Add the breadcrumbs
Season if needed (there was plenty of salt and seasoning from the jarred peppers and artichokes and no additional seasoning was needed for me)
Stir, pour into a pan, and bake
Like I said, this does not make an army-load, which is the case with most “casseroles”.
Nine squares and they were gone in a day.
Even Scott who really isn’t an artichoke guy got past the artichokes and liked these. I told him it’s just like baked eggs with cheese and a few veggies thrown in and you like peppers and spinach.
It’s all about creative marketing.
This is my new favorite party appetizer. And my favorite “casserole” for dinner on a Tuesday night.
Remember when I said I had not made any Red, White and Blue food for the Fourth of July?
Well, this is red, white, and green food. And I plated it with red, white, and blue dishes. How’s that for creative marketing.
Spinach Artichoke and Roasted Red Pepper Cheesy Squares (with vegan and gluten free suggestions)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 12-ounce jar marinated artichokes, oil-packed
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers (7.5 ounces of peppers, the remainder is juice)
1 cup frozen spinach
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a 4-cheese medley)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and black pepper to taste, optional
pinch cayenne pepper, chili powder, dash of Tabasco, garlic powder, onion powder to taste, all are optional (I used none)
Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a 9-by-9-inch pan by lining it with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs and lightly beat with a fork. Add the jar of artichokes in entirety, oil/juice and all (if there are any large pieces of artichokes that are fully intact and you wish to dice them into smaller pieces, feel free – there was only 1 artichoke in my jar that needed dicing and I kept the pieces as-is and fairly chunky and sizable).
Remove the red peppers from the jar, dice into small pieces, and add them to the bowl (discard the juice and do not add it).
Add the spinach (I used frozen and did not thaw it) and stir to combine. Add the cheese and gently stir to combine. Fold in the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Season with salt, pepper, or any optional seasonings, to taste. All brands of artichokes and red peppers vary in the level of salt and other seasonings used; season if necessary or desired, to taste.
Pour mixture into prepared pan, smoothing and flattening it with a spatula so the surface is even. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes, or until surface has set and has turned a bit golden, or to desired level. Note: I baked mine for 50 minutes but because all brands of artichokes and the quantity of oil in the jar, the brand and amount of moisture in the red peppers, how finely the cheese is grated, the amount of moisture in the spinach, and how absorbent the breadcrumbs are can greatly effect baking times; as can desired browning and crisping level. The oven temperature is kept a bit lower, too, which is more forgiving in terms of baking times not having to be exact.
Substitute most any vegetable, fresh of frozen, into these such as corn, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, minced garlic cloves, tomatoes, carrots, finely diced or shredded potatoes; add diced tofu, pre-cooked chicken or meatballs. Anything that needs to be cleared out of your freezer or refrigerator can likely be incorporated.
To keep vegan, use two vegan flax eggs or skip the flax eggs and use about 1/3 cup vegan sour cream or cream cheese; and use vegan cheese. To keep gluten-free, replace the breadcrumbs with almond flour, oat flour, corn meal, or use your favorite gluten-free flour blend.
Spinach & Artichoke Dip (No-Bake, Fat Free, Vegan) – the easiest dip you will ever make in about 90 seconds flat
Stovetop Hot Pepper Jelly (Vegan, GF, Fat-Free) – I love peppers in any form and this is a very do-able canning recipe
Hot Pepper Jelly (Vegan, GF, Fat-Free) – My first attempt at true canning, with a water bath; glad I did it because pepper jelly is worth it but the stovetop recipe (above) is much faster
Spicy Baked Eggs and Hash Brown Casserole – Scott’s idea of a perfect meal; baked eggs and potatoes and toss in some cheese
Do you like spinach and artichoke dip?
If you have a favorite recipe for it, or any spinach or artichoke recipe, link it up. Like chocolate chip cookies, everyone makes theirs a little differently and I always enjoying hearing about the variations since I love it so much.
Do you have a favorite party appetizer, dip, dessert, or something you bring to parties that people go nuts over?
Link it up and if you’re in need for an easy recipe for any Fourth of July, Labor Day, or other parties you’re having, try these squares.
Have a great holiday week!