This dairy free creamed spinach gratin is the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or Sunday dinner. Spinach and onions in a rich, flavorful sauce are topped with buttery breadcrumbs for a delicious crunch.
For years, my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner was a creamed spinach casserole. I used a recipe that was very heavy on the dairy products. It was delicious, but it wasn’t an option for us once we cut out dairy.
When we stopped eating dairy, I wasn’t really sure what to do about creamed spinach. One year, I just skipped making it, and made a pie and a salad instead. But I knew there had to be a way to make our favorite side dish dairy free.
We love this version with a creamy sauce and crispy, golden brown breadcrumbs on top. It’s perfect for a holiday meal or any family dinner.
If you love creamy casseroles and side dishes, you may also like this vegan zucchini casserole and these vegan cheesy potatoes with potato chips on top.
- Dairy Free Milk – Any neutral tasting non-dairy milk should work well. I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage, and it’s very neutral. Unsweetened soy milk, oat milk, or rice milk could also work.
- Dairy Free Cheese – I used Daiya dairy free mozzarella cheese shreds in the sauce. You can use whatever brand of dairy free cheese works for you.
- Spinach – I used frozen chopped spinach, and that works well. You could use fresh spinach if you prefer. You will need about 2 ½ pounds of fresh spinach to equal 24 ounces of frozen spinach. You can read about substituting fresh spinach for frozen spinach here.
- Breadcrumbs – The best part of this dish is the garlicky, buttery breadcrumbs. I prefer to make my own – read my recipe for gluten free breadcrumbs here. If you have a brand of breadcrumbs that is safe for you, you can go ahead and use those.
Gluten Free Bread
You will need to find a safe brand of bread for your particular food allergies, but brands to look into are Little Northern Bakehouse, B Free, Canyon Bakehouse, and Schar. I’m sure there are probably other brands out there as well.
- You could use kale instead of spinach if you like.
- Try adding seeds to the topping for added crunch.
- If you’re not dairy free, go ahead and use regular dairy products.
Store leftover creamed spinach in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for about 4 days.
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Dairy Free Creamed Spinach Gratin.
Delicious and rich, you'd never guess this creamed spinach gratin is dairy free! This savory side dish is a real crowd pleaser for holiday dinners.
For the creamed spinach:
- 24 ounces frozen chopped spinach
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons vegan buttery spread
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 ½ cups non-dairy milk
- 4 Tablespoons gluten free flour
- 4 Tablespoons water
- 1 ½ cups Daiya mozzarella cheese shreds
- 1 ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
For the breadcrumbs:
- 6 slices gluten free bread crumbled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
Make the creamed spinach:
Place the olive oil and chopped onion in a pan, and saute until softened, about five minutes. Add the spinach, and stir until cooked through.
Add the non-dairy milk and stir. Combine the flour and water in a small container with a lid, and shake until the lumps are gone. Drizzle into the spinach mixture and stir until thickened.
Add the buttery spread, garlic salt, and pepper, and stir. Add the Daiya cheese a little at a time, stirring constantly to melt and incorporate.
Make the breadcrumb topping:
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the six slices of bread that you have broken into pieces and saute the pieces in the oil. Keep stirring, don’t let them burn! You want them to be golden brown. Season with the garlic salt.
To serve, pour the spinach mixture into a casserole dish or serving dish, and top with garlic buttery breadcrumbs.
Use the bread that works for your diet – could be gluten free, whole grain, or grain free – you choose!
You could also use two cups of store bought gluten free breadcrumbs if you prefer.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for about 4 days.
This post was originally published in November 2013. It has been updated.
Can this recipe be made ahead and frozen?
I don’t know if the texture might be affected negatively if you do that.
I don’t think a great dish like creamed spinach gratin only uses for Thanksgiving. This is really dish can serve for friends, I like to use this recipe with roasted chicken.
The Great Zambini
I would love to try this! I was a little scared at first when I saw Daiya listed, but I’ve looked up the ingredients now and it seems that (unlike when I checked a few years ago) Daiya is now casein free as well, which is important considering I’m only dairy free because I need to be casein free but so many ‘dairy free’ products are merely lactose free!
But since this doesn’t have this problem I’m very excited for Thanksgiving this year.
Enjoy! I hope you love it! We make it pretty regularly over here!
Natalie @ Tastes Lovely
My vegan mom will love this! I pretty much email her all of your recipes, ha! It looks so good I bet I’ll love it too.
Thanks for passing it along to your mom!! I hope she loves it!
I love anything spinach!! Sounds delicious!
Kelly @ The Pretty Bee: Cooking + Creating
Thanks, Meeling! I love spinach, too!
I’ve never tried creamed spinach, but any vegetable is great with cheese, isn’t it? I think some of my must-have sides would include stuffing, my mom’s green pea souffle, and pie (of course).
Good luck hosting for your family! I think it would require copious amounts of wine for me to cope with that, so I’m super impressed by you. :-)
Kelly @ The Pretty Bee: Cooking + Creating
Green pea souffle? That sounds interesting! Yes, I am very nervous about hosting, and I’m sure that wine is going to be involved…:)