Since so many comfort foods begin with a béchamel, I’ve been wanting to test the best gluten-free flours for the job. I still haven’t managed to do any sort of head to head, but I thought a little healthy creamed spinach experiment was a perfectly logical place to start.
Any dish that only requires a tablespoon or so of flour for thickening is a great candidate to make gluten-free. There are many versatile options out there. I used white rice flour for this mac ‘n cheese. For soups and stews, cornstarch or even some chickpea flour works well. But for this healthy creamed spinach, I went with Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking blend.
In addition to a gluten-free béchamel, I relied on one of my usual health hacks to make this creamed spinach a little better for you. Instead of milk, I made my béchamel with vegetable stock. My mom has been doing this for years in her mashed potatoes instead of using dairy. But what really gives the whole mixture its creaminess is a dollop of yogurt whisked in at the end. The tartness helps cut the background taste of butter from the béchamel, which might not be ideal for many of you. But I find the more I cut these things out of my diet, the more cloying dairy becomes for my palette in addition to my delicate tummy.
I’ve been really digging the comfort classics this season – brisket, mashed potatoes, bourbon, pancakes. The second the leaves start to turn, I want to stick a roast chicken in the oven. If you’re doing the same, a little casserole of creamed spinach would be a perfect accompaniment.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large shallots, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons AP gluten-free flour or white rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 10 ounces spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- Heat the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute the shallots until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another minute. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat. Cook for a minute, then whisk in the salt and broth.
- Simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and carefully fold in until wilted. Stir in the Greek yogurt and taste for seasoning. Transfer to a serving dish and eat immediately.
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