Super Bowl party recipe: Spinach-queso dip from Garcia’s

Among the most popular appetizers at the former Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant, which was open on Central Avenue in Colonie for 25 years before closing in late 2008, was its Espinaca con Queso, a spinach-cheese dip.

Owner Rick Lamparelli, who still lives in the area, shared the recipe with Table Hopping. He also sent along a photo of the Garcia’s recipe file with an amused comment about the stains on the page: “I never could get those guys and gals to wipe off the recipe cards before putting them back in the box.”

This recipe makes about a quart, plenty as part of a spread for a Super Bowl party or similar gathering. Double it for a bigger crowd or if you want leftovers. Lamparelli says reheating in the microwave is fine, but the initial cooking should be done on the stove. Microwaving from the start produces a texture that Lamparelli describes as “flubber.”

Garcia’s Espinaca con Queso

20 ounces japaleno cheese (pepperjack or similar), cubed
3 tablespoons chopped pimentos
4 tablespoons diced fresh tomato
4 tablespoons diced yellow onion
4 ounces spinach, finely chopped
¾ cup half and half, more as needed


  • Put cheese, pimentos, tomatoes, onions and spinach in a double boiler over simmering water. Cook until melted, stirring.
  • Add half and half, stirring to incorporate. Cook until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little more half and half if too thick, or cook longer to reduce if too thin.
  • Pour into a 1-quart casserole dish or eight half-cup ramekins for individual servings.

At this point the dip can be put under the broiler to brown the top, if desired, before serving, or it can be refrigerated overnight, covered. Reheat thoroughly prior to serving. Serve with chips, crackers, toast points or raw vegetables.

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