Calhoun's Knoxville Tennessee Spinach Maria

"If you live in Knoxville or have ever visited and eaten at Calhoun's, you surely love Spinach Maria. It is WONDERFUL!! It is a great side dish but you can also use this as an appetizer or party food. It is like a cheesy spinach dip. SO YUMMY!!!!! The recipe was printed in the Knoxville paper. You can also scale it down if you don't want such a large amount--but it is great leftover!!"
photo by Dona M. photo by Dona M.
photo by Dona M.
Ready In:




  • Thaw spinach.
  • Squeeze as much excess water as possible from spinach.
  • Heat milk and spices in a 4 qt.
  • saucepan on medium heat to just below a boil.
  • Reduce and simmer.
  • Saute chopped onion in 1 TBSP butter on medium heat for 5-8 minutes.
  • Add onion to saucepan.
  • Combine the 5 TBSP melted butter with the flour in a small saucepan.
  • Mix until completely blended.
  • Cook on low heat 2-3 minutes.
  • Add to milk in saucepan and mix.
  • Continue to cook until sauce thickens.
  • Cut cheeses into small cubes and add to saucepan.
  • Continue to mix until all the cheese is completely melted and blended into the sauce.
  • Be CAREFUL not to BURN the sauce while cheese is melting.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  • Add drained spinach to cheese sauce and mix till completely blended.
  • Spoon into a 11x9x2 or large casserole and top with grated Monterey jack cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
  • This can be served as a side dish or as an appetizer with tortilla chips.

Questions & Replies

default avatar
  1. Rebecca A.
    I always a order this at Calhouns and Chesapeake's. I don't need 12 servings for 2 people. Does recipe work by just halving all ingredients? Thanks
  2. ann9914
    Can you substitute fresh spinach for frozen in this recipe?


  1. shimmerchk
    This was awesome! I halved the recipe and added a little freshly grated nutmeg into the seasoned milk mixture but otherwise followed the directions exactly. You could really diry up some pots and pans with this recipe, but I used the same pot for sauteeing the onions and making the roux and added the milk mixture into that same pot. I think adding the grated montery jack on top is a little overkill for out tastes, but not a big deal to omit that in the future. This was certainly a crowd pleaser at Christmas dinner and was surprisingly a hit with the kids as well. Must be all that cheese! This dish will certainly be a keeper and we thank you for sharing it.
  2. MizLizzie
    I live in Knoxville and have eaten Spinach Maria at Calhoun's many times. Thanks for posting the recipe...I had cut it from the newspaper years ago and then misplaced it. I made this for Christmas dinner and my family raved about it. Every single person said it was better than what Calhoun's serves. My only explanation for this is that perhaps they've cut corners and used less cheese than the recipe calls for. My only change to this recipe was to add a touch of cayenne pepper. This one will definitely become a tradition in our house!
  3. Kikimony
    Oh my word! We really loved the combination of cheeses in this! My DD ate this and not the rest of her meal! I made half the batch (but used 3 whole bags of spinach instead of the 2 1/2) and will freeze the leftovers, what little there was.
  4. Dona M.
    This was absolutely perfect! Our family loved it
  5. Acerast
    My family used to enjoy this when we lived in Tennessee. It is as good as I remember and easy to prepare. Thanks for a great dish Kimke.


I live in Omaha NE and am an audiologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital. I love to cook, as does my husband Michael. In the summer, we have a large garden and try to use alot of fresh fruits/veggies in our cooking. We have a 5 year old daughter, Kate and almost 2 year old son Sam and enjoy introducing them to new foods. One of their favorites is fresh pesto smeared on crackers!
View Full Profile

Find More Recipes