This is such a cool dish because spinach artichoke dip is usually reserved for parties and restaurant appetizers. That stuff is too tasty and addicting to have limits like that. This casserole combines spinach artichoke dip with chicken and rice (or cauliflower rice) to make it a filling meal.
I got the idea for this casserole because a friend asked me for spinach-based entrée ideas. I told him it was just an idea and I didn't have a recipe but he really wanted to make it. Since I was working and couldn't do any recipe testing, he trusted me enough to text him a recipe that might work... and it actually did! I had all the ingredients on-hand so I made it the next day to try it out myself.
This recipe calls for frozen spinach to make things simple but you can use fresh too if that's what you have. After sautéing the cauliflower (if using), add a little fat to the skillet. Once that is heated, add 10 oz of fresh, washed spinach and sauté that until wilted. I usually buy all my spinach frozen because I have a hard time storing it but I just learned a lot of really helpful purchasing and storage tips (as well as just about anything I've ever wanted to know about the vegetable!) I had no idea it wouldn't store longer than three days. I wish I could figure out gardening because both spinach and herbs crap out so quickly. It would be so nice to grow both of them and just pick what I need.
My favorite part about this recipe is the crunchy plantain chip topping. I usually dip plantain chips in my spinach artichoke dip because I can't eat corn chips. If you can't find plantain chips at the store, it's really easy to make your own:
Peel the plantains and cut them in half. Next, use a mandolin (or a very sharp knife and mad awesome knife skills) to very thinly slice the plantains. Toss in some melted coconut oil or other fat and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 13-16 minutes, or until crispy. Sprinkle with salt and place on a paper towel to cool.
Spinach artichoke dip can be an entree too! This chicken casserole has a dairy free spinach artichoke dip baked right in.
- 1 lb chicken, cooked and shredded
- 2 C cooked rice or grated cauliflower
- ½ Tbsp fat of choice for greasing pan
- Additional 1 Tbsp fat if using cauliflower rice
- 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed & drained
- 10 oz jar of artichokes, drained & chopped
- ⅓ C mushrooms, diced small
- 8 oz dairy free cream cheese or soft cashew cheese for paleo option, cubed
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- ¼ C chicken broth
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 4 oz bag plantain chips, crushed
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- If using cauliflower rice, sauté in a little bit of fat until translucent.
- Add the spinach and artichokes to the baking dish and season with a little of the salt, pepper, and garlic. If the chicken is unseasoned, salt and pepper it. Add the chicken, rice, and cheese to the dish.
- In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, chicken broth, mushrooms, and some pepper to taste (add salt if the broth is unsalted). Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Pour this mixture over the ingredients in the baking dish. You can strain out the mushrooms if you like. Stir to combine everything.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the center is hot and it starts to bubble around the edges. Top with crushed plantain chips and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes to allow the topping to toast a bit.