Posts Tagged With: Spinach

Winter Recipes: Braided Spinach and Ricotta Bread

The Traditional, Twisting Challah

The Traditional, Twisting Challah

When this tumultuous week first began, I had high hopes of baking a traditional challah bread in recognition of this being the week of Chanukah. However, upon an initially innocuous run to the store for some last minute baking supplies, I had a rather unfortunate (but thankfully painless) run in with a hit-and-run driver. So, with my trip to the store rather forcefully postponed, I’ve finally been able to get back into the kitchen! Now, with the holiday week ending tomorrow, I made a last minute decision to try a wonderfully braided bread recipe that’s inspired by challah, but, after reading up on this ancient loaf, most certainly can not claim to be challah bread. However, keep an eye out for my (most likely woeful) attempt at weaving challah bread in the Spring, nearer to the time of Purim, a celebration that’s main focus is freedom and feasting: two things that are truly near to my heart!

Without further ado, let’s dive back into breakfast with a loaf of braided spinach and ricotta bread!

Braided Spinach and Ricotta Bread Recipe


Challah-inspired, braided bread that's bursting with seasonal flavor!

Challah-inspired, braided bread that’s bursting with seasonal flavor!

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 10 ounces of cooked, drained spinach
  • 3/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Dough:

  • 2 eggs (save one for an egg wash)
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup warm water (between 100 – 110 F / 37 – 43 C)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (or white whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (about half of one packet)
  • Sesame seeds to garnish


  1. In an empty frying pan/skillet, toast the 1/4 cup of pine nuts over medium high heat. Toss or stir the nuts every 30 seconds for 3 – 5 minutes, or until the nuts start turning brown and smell toasted. Place toasted pine nuts in a bowl to completely remove them from the heat.
  2. Drain your spinach as much as possible and place in a medium bowl. Add the oregano, thyme, basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and flour to the spinach. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover your bowl and refrigerate until needed.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg, sugar, oil, salt, and warm water.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the flours and the yeast. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix to form a rough dough.
  5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until springy, or about five minutes.
  6. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and roll to coat. Cover with a clean towel, place in a warm place, and let rise for 1 hour.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Transfer your risen dough to the baking sheet, and stretch it diagonally into an oval that reaches both corners of the sheet and is around 6-8 inches wide (see pictures below).
  9. Place your filling in the center of the dough, and shape it into a column that is no more than 2 inches wide and leaves about 1 inch of room at the top and bottom.
  10. Starting at the top, cut uniform strips into the sides of the dough on the diagonal (about 1 inch wide). Fold the top of the dough over the filling.
  11. To braid your bread: fold one strip over the filling, and then overlap with a strip on the other side; repeat until you reach the end of your bread. Before overlapping the final strips, fold the bottom flap of the bread up over the filling, and then cover with the remaining strips.
  12. Beat your remaining egg in a small bowl, and brush the top of the bread with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  13. Enjoy a warm slice of beautiful, braided bread, bursting with flavors of the season!

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As always, thanks for stopping by for this week’s (delayed) breakfast recipe! Be sure to stop in this Saturday for a bubbly remedy for all that ails ye!

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Categories: Autumn Recipes, Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Winter Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Autumn Recipes: Crustless Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

The Search for Spinach

After last Saturday’s chard-infused recipe, I was inspired to find a use for spinach, another of my favorite dark green, fall crops for this week’s breakfast excavation. Unfortunately, though, I failed to plant a second crop of spinach in time before the winter frosts began whispering across our lawn. So, I was forced to look elsewhere for my main ingredient!

Local Harvest: An incredible resource for finding truly beneficial produce for your family’s cooking!

Now, what the spinach industry doesn’t want you to know, is that even when refrigerated, spinach only holds its nutritional value for a single week (cooked, frozen spinach, if processed in time sidesteps this timeframe). With modern demand and subsequent shipping requirements, this means that the sparkling green spinach leaves that greet you at your local supermarket are already well on their way to being nutritionally neutral: certainly not bad for you, but not all that great for you either! This dilemma highlights one of the reasons I find local, seasonal eating to be so very important: finding fresh produce from farms near you can guarantee the best nutrition for you and your family. But, like many people I know and talk to, I didn’t know where to find a local market, store, or stand that would have fresh greens for me to use.

You won't find good company like this in your supermarket's produce section!

You won’t find friends like this in your typical produce section!

However, I did come across a website that can help those of us in the US find the closest, freshest produce that’s been harvested seasonally: Using this resource, I was able to locate a farm store that, thankfully, had all of the spinach I needed for this week’s quiche (and, I got to meet a few cows along the way)!

With the ingredients finally sorted, on to our recipe! In the interest of full disclosure, this quiche is missing a few key components (a crust and smoked bacon) to truly be considered a “quiche lorraine,” the French matriarch of modern quiches dating back to 1588. But, I think our interpretation is perfectly acceptable, especially because the origins of quiche (originally “kuchen”) are actually German, not French!

Crustless Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

A modern take on the 16th century classic quiche!

A modern take on the classic, 16th century quiche!


  • 2 lbs fresh spinach (or a 10 ounce box of frozen, cooked spinach, thawed)
  • 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 3/4 cups mozzarella
  • salt and pepper


If you’re using frozen, cooked spinach, skip to step four!

  1. Remove stems from spinach leaves and cut/tear into small pieces. Wash leaves to remove any dirt or debris and pat dry.
  2. Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic to oil and cook for one minute.
  3. Add washed spinach to the pan and toss to coat in oil and garlic. Cover the pan and cook for one minute. Uncover and stir the spinach. Replace the lid on your pan and cook for one more minute. After approximately two minutes of covered cooking, your spinach should be fully wilted.
  4. Transfer cooked spinach (either fresh or frozen) to a small mixing bowl and set aside.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C.
  6. Rinse the dirt off of your mushrooms and slice thinly. Place your sliced mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper in the frying pan you used for the spinach. Add the remaining one teaspoon of oil to the pan and mix all ingredients until coated evenly.
  7. Saute the mushrooms on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, or until there is no water left at the bottom of the pan. When your mushrooms have finished cooking, add them to the mixing bowl with the cooked spinach.
  8. Stir 1/4 cup of feta cheese into the mushroom and spinach mixture until well distributed.
  9. Grease a pie plate with olive oil and spread the mushroom, spinach, and feta evenly across the bottom of the dish.
  10. In a medium bowl, whisk the four eggs, milk, and grated parmesan cheese together until smooth. Pour this mixture over the spinach and mushrooms and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top of the raw quiche.
  11. Cook quiche in preheated oven for 50 minutes – 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown.
  12. Enjoy your homemade, seasonal quiche hot or cold for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

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As always, thanks for stopping by the dig site! Be sure to stop by this Saturday for a fireside recipe that can warm even the chilliest soul!

Keep digging!

Categories: Autumn Recipes, Breakfast, Cooking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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