Spinach Gratin with Hard Boiled Eggs

Spinach gratin made with chopped blanched spinach, mixed with nutmeg infused béchamel, with hard boiled eggs and gruyere cheese. Gratin d'epinard aux oeufs.

If you want, you can also sauté some chopped onion, and/or a persillade of minced garlic and parsley to mix in with the cooked spinach and béchamel. Either way. Without these aromatics, a cleaner flavor of the spinach comes through.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of fresh spinach, cleaned (or 24 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed and drained)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or 3/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg if you aren't starting with a whole nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese (about 1 ounce)
  • 6 hard boiled eggs*
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp seasoned bread crumbs**
  • Olive oil

*To hard boil eggs, place eggs in a 2-quart saucepan and cover with at least an inch of cold water. Bring the water to a boil, remove the pan from heat, and cover. Let sit for 10-12 minutes, covered. Then run under cold water to keep from overcooking. Crack the shells while the eggs are still under water and let sit for a while to cool before peeling.

**To make your own bread crumbs, take a few slices of day old bread and toast either in a toaster or in the oven until browned, then pulse in a food processor or blender until you have crumbs. Stir in a little herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning and a little salt to taste.

Method

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1 If working with fresh spinach, blanche the spinach in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and run cool water over it to cool it down. Press as much water as you can out of the spinach. (A good way to do this is to put the drained spinach in the center of a large, clean tea towel, wrap it with the towel, and wring the moisture out by wringing the towel.) Chop the spinach. Place in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and set aside while you make the béchamel.

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2 Heat milk in a medium saucepan until steamy, set aside. In a separate saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour, whisking the mixture until smooth, about a minute or two. Remove from heat. Slowly pour in the hot milk, whisking the whole time so that the mixture is not lumpy. Continue to whisk until there are no lumps. Return the pan to heat and let heat to a simmer, continuing to whisk to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The béchamel sauce will thicken as it cooks. Sprinkle in the ground nutmeg and black pepper.

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3 Stir the thickened béchamel sauce into the bowl of spinach.

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4 Grease the inside of a 2-quart gratin pan or casserole all around with a little butter. Pour the spinach béchamel mixture into a gratin pan, and even out the surface. Sprinkle the surface with the grated Gruyere cheese. Slice the hard boiled eggs in half, and arrange, cut side up, on the surface of the spinach mixture. Press into the spinach mixture so that the cut side of the eggs are level with the spinach. Sprinkle with 3 to 4 tablespoons of seasoned bread crumbs. Drizzle the top with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. At this point you can make the gratin a day ahead and chill until ready to cook to serve.

5 Bake, uncovered, in a 375°F oven for 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned.

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Comments

  1. Judith

    Without the last 4 ingredients, this is my recipe for creamed spinach. I use baby spinach, wilt it, and squeeze out the juice before adding it to the bechamel. I also use leftovers of the same creamed spinach for eggs Florentine, using poached eggs. I had never thought of using hard-boiled eggs though. I am definitely going to try this. It looks yummy. I can’t wait for the fish soup recipe.

  2. Emma

    My host mom in Avignon made me hard-boiled eggs with creamed spinach for dinner one night. Maybe it’s a French thing? Regardless, so tasty!

  3. Christina

    Happy Birthday, Elise’s dad!

    This looks delicious. BUT, if you post that recipe for the Provencal fish soup, you will have my undying love. I ate that all the time while living in Provence (in Nice) nearly 15 years ago, and I haven’t had it since. I can still taste it. At the time I didn’t have the good sense to get the recipe, and I’d almost forgotten about it. So please, please post it…

  4. Nicole @ GFShoestring

    So does this mean that I can hold out hope that my children will grow up to love spinach, simply because I feed it to them all the time?

    Happy birthday to your Dad. And many happy returns. 82 is a nice number.

    Nicole

  5. Christine

    Now I know what to do with the eggs from our Easter egg hunt! And my kids love creamed spinach, so this will be perfect. Thanks.

  6. Franca

    This sounds yummy! But I had to say I laughed out loud when I read “(Popeye!)” because he was totally the reason I decided I loved canned spinach when I was little. Haven’t had it in years but I bet I’d still like it, even though fresh or frozen are both definitely better. :)

  7. Diane

    Yum! I have some spinach & this looks perfect. Happy bday to your dad, too. My dad is also 82; we’re fortunate to have them!

    Aren’t we?! ~Elise

  8. Emer

    I absolutely share your family’s love for spinach. It finds its way into everything and anything in my house. I really like the sound of using hard boiled eggs with spinach. Not a combination I’ve tried – but I will!

  9. homegrown countrygirl

    Sometimes I crack eggs into nests of creamed spinach and bake it in the oven, but I never thought to use hard boiled eggs… so pretty! I also never thought to sprinkle cheese and bread crumbs over top! That’s icing on the cake! Thanks, again, Elise, for yet another fabulous idea!!!

  10. Rosie

    This looks wonderful and a great way to use up the dyed easter eggs that my daughter and I will be decorating. Thank you!

  11. Laura

    I wonder if you could sort of poach the eggs into the spinach as it cooked? I love the idea of using eggs like this either hardboiled, or added directly into the casserole before cooking. Thanks.

    I think for a casserole, it might be messy to serve, and it wouldn’t hold up as well as leftovers. But it would taste great. So you could use the same concept, but just make individual large ramekins. ~Elise

  12. Marcia

    I just wanted to say “keep up the great work”. I’ve been following your blog for the past few years and love the recipes, comments and tips.

    Thank you Marcia! ~Elise

  13. againstthegrain

    This recipe looks pretty easy to adapt to a gluten-free version. I’ll try it with chard instead of spinach, because I often receive chard in my weekly CSA farm box and rarely receive spinach, and I prefer the taste of chard to spinach anyway (I think it’s the oxalate content of spinach that doesn’t agree with me).

    And I just bought a Staub oval enameled cast iron dish just like yours (but in a less cheery color) when it was on sale at SLT recently, so this recipe is a great reason to use my new casserole. Love the magnetic matching wooden trivet that comes with it.

  14. Lillian

    I am so excited to find someone else that uses eggs in their spinach. That’s the only way I knew to serve it. My husband hates spinach so it just leaves it all for me. His loss!!! I have tried all the other suggestions and they are all marvelous. I don’t always have time to prep fresh spinach, so I just revert back to good ol’ Popeye. I have one last suggestion for all of you great cooks out there. Please try before you reply. I made this for my side dish when we grilled steaks. I love to saute mushrooms in butter for steak night. One day I doubled the amount of mushrooms for another meal the next day. My spinach was at the ready stage to finish up, so I dropped the butter in, cracked an egg in the center, scrambeled it a little, then stirred it into the spinach to finish cooking. (like you would for egg drop soup). I picked up the bowl of buttered sauteed mushrooms and dropped a few in. First taste, I was hooked. I served it for my quilt club one day, not knowing if anybody liked spinach or not. Well, I didn’t make enough. One lady said she didn’t really care for cooked spinach, (she liked it raw, in salads) but she loved this dish.
    It is pretty darn good. I hope ya’ll like it.

  15. Claire

    I studied abroad in northern France and my host-mother regularly made a dish a lot like this one. I loved it and have thought of it often and fondly over the past 10 years or so but never found a recipe that looked right to me. i can’t wait to try this!

  16. Dominique

    Being French and having always loved spinach, I make this quite often. My mom (and my cookbooks) never mixed the bechamel sauce with the spinach, we pour it over the spinach and the eggs before putting the whole thing in the oven. In some families who do not fear anything (like my in-laws), they use creamed spinach, i.e. spinach mixed with cream, then the hard-boiled eggs, then the bechamel or even sauce Mornay, i.e. bechamel with egg yolks and more cream, on top.
    One tip: always add nutmeg to the spinach, it really makes a difference in all cases (and of course nutmeg to the bechamel).

  17. Sheri J

    Very belated birthday wishes for your dad. I wanted to share an easy/fast way to peel your eggs. After I drain off the cooking water, I give the eggs a good shake in the pan to crack them. Then I peel them under cold running water that is positioned over the pan to cool down the other eggs. Easy peasy.

  18. Rosie

    Made this tonight for our “meatless Monday” dinner. There is only 3 of us so I cut the recipe by roughly 1/3 but outside of that, prepared the recipe as is. It was fantastic and served with some crusty bread, was more than enough as a main dish. Thanks again!

  19. Therese F

    This is one of the most wonderful recipes I’ve ever tried from this link…I print your stuff ALL THE TIME, but this is outstanding over and above your usual fare. Bravo!

  20. Elizabeth Skipper

    I make something very similar that uses mashed potatoes rather than bechamel, and the eggs are baked in indentations in the spinach/potato bed. The whole thing is covered with gruyere and chopped bacon. Gosh, I hadn’t thought of this in some time. Time to make it again, thanks!

  21. nancy merrriman

    for spinach-egg lovers try

    Individual serving of hash browns cooked until crisp. Top with two slices of fresh tomato.

    Lightly brown ham steak portion and place of top of tomatoes.

    Top with slice of Provalone or cheese of your choice

    Top with cooked and drained serving of fresh spinach.

    Top with either a fried or scrambled egg. Boiled eggs sliced would work also.

  22. Marijtje

    Delicous!!!!

    My (French) husband loves it, and after before-tasting grumbling about having spinach, my three children ate it without comment, my three-year old even had seconds! So yes, definitely a child pleaser. And adults as well.
    I have made it the second time today in one week – I guess that is really comment enough…

  23. Suzy

    This is close to my Easter brunch “Do-Ahead Eggs Benedict Casserole!” Just-barely poached eggs are nestled in rows on top of the spinach, and the sauce is poured over the top. You may decorate with buttered Panko crumbs. Refrigerate overnight and bake for around 25-minutes in a 350-degree oven. The eggs stay creamy inside (“Who Knew???”) Serve with toasted English muffins and sliced ham. I make extra sauce, and eliminate the nutmeg (personal taste).

  24. Tara Nayak

    I am going on a low carb diet, so I tried out this recipe yesterday and it was a big hit both with me and my boyfriend! I really liked the taste of the breadcrumbs on top and it looked beautiful when it came out! I think when I make it again, I may add store-bought fried onions on top too. Yum!

  25. Maureen

    I stumbled upon this site when I was searching hard boiled eggs and spinach only because I’ve been making spinach with hard boiled eggs, salt, pepper and butter forever…..cause that is the way my Polish Mother and Grandmother made it. I don’t know why they did it that way and don’t think it is Polish in origin but just thought I would make the search.

  26. Keith

    How could I convert this recipe to a gluten and dairy free one?

    I have no idea. If you figure out a way that works for you, please let us know! ~Elise

  27. Anna

    Thank you for this recipe. I stumbled across it while looking for frittata recipes. This was more up my alley for the ingredients I had on hand. Then I discovered the zucchini/spinach/bacon gratin link at the bottom and so I combined the two recipes. It’s in the oven baking now and I’m so excited to try them. I ended up using frozen turnip greens, beet greens, spinach and zucchini. I have an overabundance of greens from the garden each year and love having a good recipe to use them up in. I’ll be posting an article of my own later on as I don’t want to forget this!