Breakfast/ Eggs

Dairy-Free Baked Eggs with Creamed Spinach

baked eggs with spinach in ramekins

I love eggs baked in ramekins. They’re cute, easy to eat, and fun. I usually bake eggs in a circle  of cooked bacon tucked into each ramekin. It’s easy to do, and makes everyone smile. However, one of my children is now a vegetarian, so I had to find a suitable meat-free alternative.

Fortunately, I discovered a recipe in Cooks Illustrated for eggs baked in a nest of creamed spinach. You make the spinach nests first, bake them in the ramekins, then crack an egg into each cooked nest and return them to the oven just until the egg whites are set. Take the ramekins out of the oven and let them sit until the hot spinach nests finish cooking the eggs, while keep the yolks deliciously runny.  The recipe calls for a very hot oven, so you need to watch carefully so the spinach doesn’t burn or the eggs overcook.

The well-researched recipes in Cooks Illustrated  are usually foolproof. However, they’re not gluten- or dairy-free, so I had to make adjustments. I substituted canned coconut milk for heavy cream, dairy-free butter for the stuff that comes from cows, and vegan parmesan cheese for the real thing. My version likely tastes different from the Cooks Illustrated original, but these baked eggs are delicious.

Frozen spinach works fine for this recipe, although you could use fresh baby spinach if you’re a stickler for freshness. The vegan Parmesan cheese and spinach have such strong flavors that they mask the coconut milk, which lends richness to the dish. Grease the ramekins well with vegan butter or vegetable shortening so the spinach nest doesn’t stick.

If you enjoy washing dishes, you can do what the scientists at Cooks Illustrated recommend, i.e. crack each egg into its own dish while the spinach nests are baking, then pour each egg into each baked, filled ramekin. This will get the eggs back into the oven a wee bit faster, but to me the extra dishes aren’t worth the effort.

The eggs cook quickly in an oven set to 500 degrees F, but you must put the ramekins in a glass baking dish. If you’re using a metal baking pan, reduce the heat to 425 degrees F.

Dairy-Free Baked Eggs with Creamed Spinach

By Springhouse Turtle Serves: 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes

These baked eggs look adorable tucked into their creamed spinach nests. They taste great too!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons dairy-free butter
  • 1 large (or 2 medium) shallot, minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup grated dairy-free parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • Vegetable oil for greasing the ramekins
  • 8 large eggs
  • Chopped chives (optional) for garnish

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

2

Grease 8 ramekins with dairy-free butter or vegetable oil, and set aside.

3

In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk over medium heat until it's just below a simmer.

4

While the coconut milk is heating, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the shallot, stirring until it's translucent, about 3 minutes.

5

Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

6

Slowly whisk in the heated coconut milk, and turn the heat up to high.

7

Bring the coconut milk mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, until it thickens, about 2 minutes.

8

Turn off the heat and stir in the vegan Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, mustard, nutmeg and cayenne, then gently fold in the spinach.

9

Divide the spinach filling evenly among the ramekins.

10

Use a spoon to press the filling halfway up the sides of the ramekins, leaving an indent in the center for the egg.

11

Place the ramekins in a large glass baking dish (use two if they don't all fit) and bake for 7 minutes.

12

Remove from oven and crack an egg into the center of each ramekin.

13

Sprinkle each egg with a pinch of salt.

14

Return the ramekins to the oven and bake for an additional 6-8 minutes.

15

Remove from oven, let sit for 10 minutes, garnish with chopped chives, and serve immediately.

Notes

To make this dish ahead of time, cover the spinach-filled but unbaked ramekins with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for up to 3 days. About half an hour before you're planning to eat, take them out of the fridge, and bake them in the oven at 500 degrees F (or 425 degrees F if you're using a metal baking dish) for 11 minutes. Remove them from the oven, crack an egg into each one, and put them back into the oven until the whites of the eggs are set but the yolks are still runny, about 6-8 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Springhouse Turtle Eats

Create a nest out of creamed spinach in each ramekin, bake it until it’s set, crack an egg into the nest, and bake again.

creamed spinach formed into a nest in a ramekin

The eggs will finish cooking outside of the oven because the ramekins and spinach filling are plenty hot. Don’t let them sit for too long or the yolks will solidify. These eggs taste best when you break into the yolks, and they’re slightly runny.

eggs baked with spinach in ramekins

Springhouse Turtle Eats

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