Lindsay Ostrom here, stopping by from Pinch of Yum to share a seriously tasty recipe. Dippity doo dah — it’s spinach queso, friends! Spi-nach que-soooo! This dip is topped with cilantro and lots of French’s Crispy Jalapeños and CAN WE TALK ABOUT THESE FOR A SECOND. You know the crispy onions that are essential for your Thanksgiving green bean casserole? And you know how you then use your leftover crispy onions in your salads and on your burgers and in your tacos for kind of a long time after Thanksgiving and you’re like, these are actually really good on everything?
This is kind of like that, except now it’s game on, because this just became a jalapeño party.
I swear these crispy jalapeños were designed specifically for POY-style food. They belong on every bowl of pumpkin walnut chili, every carnitas taco, and every autumn glow salad that a person could ever make. Which also makes them a really good fit for Friendsgiving. Tell me if I’m wrong, but in my world, Friendsgiving is not just Thanksgiving with friends — it is Thanksgiving modernized. It’s not for the normal Thanksgiving recipes (hello, Grandma’s gelatin salad, which is a family requisite, and DON’T EVEN TOUCH IT), but it IS time for the gather-everyone-together recipes that have a little extra zip, kick, or heat to them. Extra. Next Level. That kind of thing.
For example, this spinach-y, queso-y dip with crispy fried jalapeños. It is begging you to have friends over and be together, thankful, and non-traditional. Friendsgiving has never looked better.
I mean, a little fiery crunch to go with my melted cheese? Twist my arm. I’m teaming up with French’s to give the lowdown on this delectable dip, AKA my new go-to entrée sidekick.
For the spinach queso:
- 2 jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed, minced
- half an onion, minced
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
- 2-3 Tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 8 ounces shredded cheese (see notes below)
For the topping:
- French’s Crispy Jalapeños
- chopped cilantro
- Start your aromatics: Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add the jalapeños and onions and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until very soft and fragrant. Add the spinach and garlic and stir quickly until spinach is wilted.
- Make it creamy: Add flour and stir until everything is coated — about one minute. Add the milk slowly and whisk until a smooth mixture forms. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
- Topping and serving: Top with French’s Crispy Jalapeños, cilantro, and whatever else you want to make it fancy. Best served warm with tortilla chips for dipping! YUUUUUM.
And now, for some spinach queso making.
We start with the goods: jalapeños (fresh), onion, garlic, spinach, French’s Crispy Jalapeños (crispy, made from fresh – full circle).
Here is what the base of your queso is going to look like. The smells coming off of that picture are just… is this real life? Garlic, jalapeño, onion, butter, olive oil. What more could you even want? OH, OH, I KNOW! Melted cheese.
And then crispy jalapeños.
This dip was made to be shared. I first shared it with the team at the studio, which was normal for me, and then I shared a second “test batch” with just my husband, as in just the two of us and a full pan of hot queso, which was excessive and awesome of me.
But ideally, a normal person might bring this spinach queso to any of the following:
- Actual Thanksgiving
- Day after Thanksgiving
- Girls’ Night
- Guys’ Night
- Yourself on the Couch, which is not sharing, but would still be very acceptable.
- Cheese: I used Chihuahua cheese — it required a special trip to a different grocery store, but I love this cheese for its smooth-melting texture in Mexican recipes. It is not going to be elastic and stretchy like Mozzarella, and in my opinion, that makes it a better choice here. Dipping is easier. Pepperjack, Monterey Jack, or any other smooth melting cheese should work too.
- Thickness: If you want a thicker queso, use 3 Tablespoons flour. If you want a thinner queso, use just 2 Tablespoons. Adjust consistency by adding small amounts of milk once it all comes together.
Trying this recipe yourself? Share photos of the final product with us on Twitter by tagging #RealFlavorsHaveCrunch and @BritandCo!
Photography: Lindsay Ostrom / Pinch of Yum