Whip up a beautiful breakfast or brunch dish with this super simple baked eggs florentine recipe. Made with iron-rich spinach and protein-packed eggs, this recipe is perfect for people with alpha-gal syndrome or anyone who craves an elegant but easy brunch entree.
The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.
Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions, making any adjustments needed, and directing any questions to your physician.
Even before I was diagnosed with alpha-gal syndrome, I was always a big egg lover. Now that traditional bacon, sausage, ham, and other typical breakfast meats have been permanently removed from my diet thanks to a tick bite, I’ve doubled down on eggs as my favorite breakfast option. And when you can no longer enjoy bacon and eggs, spinach and eggs is a delicious alternative.
This baked eggs florentine recipe is as fast and easy to make as any omelet, quiche, or another egg-based brunch classic. However, it’s a nice departure from those more expected dishes. And as an added bonus, the iron-rich spinach and protein-packed eggs help provide important nutrients that alpha-gals often struggle to obtain.
In This Article
What Does “Florentine” Mean?
Whether it’s eggs florentine, chicken florentine, or another florentine-style dish, when you see the word “florentine” it tells you that the dish is made with spinach. The word on the culinary circuit is that the term dates back to the Renaissance when Catherine de Medici of Florence married Henry II of France. As the newly crowned queen made her way from Italy to France, she supposedly brought an army of chefs, an arsenal of kitchen equipment, and a deep, insatiable love of spinach to Paris where her tastebuds popularized what would be known as Florentine-style dishes.
What is Eggs Florentine?
Traditionally, eggs florentine is a twist on classic eggs Benedict and features poached eggs perched atop a bed of lightly sauteed spinach on an open-faced English muffin and smothered in cheesy Mornay or creamy hollandaise sauce. However, there are several variations on this theme, including this easy baked eggs florentine recipe.
What Vegetable is Used in Eggs Florentine?
As with all things labeled “florentine,” spinach is the star vegetable. This leafy green not only adds a vibrant color and delicate flavor to the dish but also packs it with iron, vitamin K, and other health benefits.
I had a chance to chat with Lara Clevenger, a ketogenic dietitian nutritionist and keto coach, who said, “Spinach is a good source of iron, vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.” She continued, “It’s a way for those with alpha-gal syndrome to get in nutrients that they might be missing since they have to omit so many foods.”
To help ensure your body absorbs the iron in spinach, Clevenger suggests pairing it with foods high in vitamin C. So be sure to serve these baked eggs florentine with a glass of orange juice, sliced tomatoes, or a berry salad.
Sage Advice: Are you looking for great brunch sides to accompany these baked eggs florentine? This list of side dishes for quiche is a great place to find inspiration.
How to Cook Spinach for Eggs Florentine
Cooking spinach for eggs florentine is a breeze. Begin by thoroughly washing and drying the spinach leaves. Then, in a pan over medium heat, warm up some olive oil and add minced garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the spinach in batches and cook it until it wilts. This typically takes about two to three minutes. Season the spinach with a little salt and pepper to taste, and it’s ready to be used in this baked eggs florentine recipe.
Are Eggs Florentine Healthy?
If you’re looking for a great plant-based source of iron and an alpha-gal safe protein, just about any eggs florentine recipe will do the trick. But when you prepare eggs florentine in an eggs Benedict style, the cheesy Mornay sauce or buttery hollandaise sauce is not only rich in calories, but the dairy ingredients may trigger an alpha-gal reaction in some people. This easy baked eggs florentine dish delivers the same creamy flavor without the dairy and with a lot less effort and fewer calories.
What is the Difference Between Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine?
While eggs Benedict and classic eggs florentine both feature poached eggs and an English muffin half, the key difference lies in the other components. Eggs Benedict dishes traditionally use ham or Canadian bacon and are topped with hollandaise sauce. Classic eggs florentine substitutes sauteed spinach for the breakfast meat. This eggs florentine dish is inspired by classic eggs florentine, but is even easier to make and is dairy free.
Sage Advice: If you’re looking for a classic brunch dish, this vegan eggs Benedict recipe features pan-fried “eggy” tofu smothered in a creamy vegan hollandaise sauce over an English muffin topped with tomato slices and baby spinach.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, and you cannot make anything florentine without spinach, so there are no substitutions here. But, let me remind you that this dark green, leafy vegetable is a great source of iron, calcium, and other important nutrients that many alpha-gals are deficient in after removing mammalian meat and other alpha-gal triggers from their diets.
With 7 grams of protein per egg, the two eggs per serving in this recipe will help make a dent in your daily protein requirement. If possible, select pasture-raised eggs, which offer significantly higher amounts of omega-3 fat, vitamin D, vitamin E, and beta-carotene than eggs from hens fed a traditional corn and soybean diet.
Sage Advice: If you’re looking for another alpha-gal friendly breakfast that’s packed with protein and full of nutrients, try this egg white wraps recipe. Then fill them with your favorite alpha-gal safe ingredients like sauteed spinach, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado, diced turkey, and vegan or vegetarian cheese.
I used Silk dairy-free heavy whipping cream to make these eggs florentine. However, you can use any other type of plant-based cream. And, if you’re an alpha-gal who can tolerate dairy, you can certainly use regular cream in this dish.
Panko Bread Crumbs
Panko bread crumbs are a type of bread crumb frequently used in Japanese cooking. They are made from bread without crusts, resulting in a lighter, airier texture that stays crispier for longer compared with traditional bread crumbs. In this eggs florentine recipe, a few teaspoons of panko bread crumbs add a little crunch that complements the creamy base, enhancing the overall flavor and texture.
If you don’t have panko bread crumbs on hand, good substitutions include crushed melba toast, crushed croutons, or even crushed cornflakes for a gluten-free option. Remember, the aim is to add a contrast of texture to the dish, so choose a substitution that will maintain its crunch when baked.
How to Make Eggs Florentine
This baked eggs florentine dish is fast and easy to make! Here’s how to make eggs florentine in five simple steps:
- Saute the spinach in olive oil with minced garlic. Add the cream and stir to incorporate.
- Divide the sauteed spinach between ramekins or gratin dishes.
- Top the wilted spinach mixture with eggs, season to taste.
- Bake the eggs for 10-15 minutes based on your desired doneness.
- About halfway through the baking process, top the eggs florentine with panko bread crumbs.
Easy Baked Eggs Florentine for Two (Dairy-Free)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 2 garlic cloves
- 5 ounces raw baby spinach, about 5 cups
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup plant-based cream
- black pepper
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 4 tsp panko bread crumbs
- 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Spray two ramekins or small gratin dishes with non-stick cooking spray. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Add olive oil to a saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add minced garlic and saute until it begins to brown, about 30 to 45 seconds.
- Add spinach by the handful and toss with tongs until it is wilted, about two minutes.
- Pour cream into spinach mixture and stir to incorporate.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Evenly divide the cooked spinach between the greased dishes.
- Crack two eggs into each bed of spinach, spacing them evenly.
- Sprinkle with fresh thyme and a little more salt and pepper.
- Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, then rotate pan 180 degrees and add 2 teaspoons of panko bread crumbs to the top of each dish.
- Bake eggs an additional 8 to 10 minutes until the egg whites are set and the yolks are slightly runny.
- Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle fresh parsley over the dishes. Serve immediately.