My best friends have a little girl named Violet. She’s adorable, smart, and funny—and she absolutely loves cheesy spinach. This is remarkable for many reasons, but the biggest one is that she’s not even two and for most toddlers, greens can be a really tough sell. But Violet’s mama is also super smart and she figured out a crazy quick and yummy way to serve up greens that even the littlest eaters love.
Here’s what you need to know about this recipe: You can use almost any leafy green you like (though spinach will be one of the softest/easiest to manipulate for younger eaters) and you can vary the cheese according to what you have on hand. (It’s shown here made with finely snipped kale since we have so much growing in our garden right now and shredded cheddar.) Other than that, it takes less than 5 minutes to make and you might just find yourself needing to make another bowlful…which is what happened in my house the first time I made this recipe because both my daughter and I wanted to eat it all! Here are the full details on the recipe from Violet’s mama Virginia.
“My daughter eats this by the bowlful—the cheese makes the spinach really easy to eat with a fork, which she is starting to get the hang of. Otherwise, we just let her self-feed with fingers and wipe the mess up later. We usually serve it alongside scrambled eggs, but it would also be good on top of toast if your kid is up to mixed textures. And sometimes if I’m really lazy, this is dinner and she just eats a whole bowl.”
Use baby spinach, regular spinach, baby kale, or lacinato (sometimes called dinosaur) kale for best results and easy chewing.
- 1 cup loosely packed baby spinach or baby kale, chopped or snipped with kitchen shears into small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar, mozzarella, ricotta, or crumbled goat cheese
- Place the greens into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Drizzle on the olive oil and lemon juice and heat for 30 seconds.
- Remove from the microwave, top with cheese, and heat for an additional 15-30 seconds until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
- To make this on the stovetop: Heat a nonstick or stainless skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the greens. Stir to cook until greens are wilted, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat into a bowl. Top with cheese, lemon juice, and salt.
These greens are best eaten right after making.
Use baby spinach, spinach, kale, baby kale, or Swiss chard.
Remove the inner stem from greens including kale and chard.
Cut greens into small pieces with kitchen shears.
To make these dairy-free, omit the cheese and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
Double or triple the recipe to feed more people.