20 Ways to Get Your Spinach On
After devouring Monday’s spanakorizo, I had what could be described as a full-on leafy green love attack, admiring spinacia oleracea’s ability to be wilted, steamed, braised, fried, and tucked, not to mention its easy-going personality. In fact, it seems that the challenge is what NOT to pair with spinach -- and other than peanut butter and jelly, I’m coming up short.
Nutritionally, you can’t do much better; one cup of boiled spinach contains Vitamins A, B, C and K, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, protein, fiber AND Omega-3 fatty acids, all for 41 calories. Go here for the nutrient details.
In case you hadn’t noticed, Americans need some help in the veggie servings department. Just 27 percent of us eat three or more servings of vegetables a day, which is a fraction of federal recommendations, as published in Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.
I’m just sayin’…
In the spirit of wellness, I've jotted down 20 ways to play with your leafy greens -- and that doesn’t include fork pushing. Got a spinach-y treat to add to the list? Please share in the comments area. And that reminds me -- send your "chat" questions my way; I'll pick three from the mail bag to be featured in this space once weekly.
Spinach and chickpea pie, with a chickpea flour dough
Hand-held Middle Eastern spinach pies (aka fetayer), that you can make in advance, freeze and pack for lunch
The cozy comfort of Joe’s Special, a one-pot ground beef and egg number with plenty o' leafy greens
Lasagna with a greens and ricotta filling
Over short pasta or orzo, in a sauce with cherry tomatoes, garlic, lemon zest, white wine and fresh herbs of choice
Tucked into an omelet or as part of a frittata
Sandwiched into a quesadilla, with black beans -- or if you’re out of tortillas, how about two pieces of sandwich bread for a zesty take on the ole grilled cheese?
Wilted atop red lentils
Pakoras: Spinach leaves get dipped into a zesty chickpea batter and flash fried, resulting in gorgeous, crispy morsels that blow away your party guests
Teamed up with a grilled Portobello mushroom, roasted red peppers and your favorite melty cheese on a bun
Simply steamed, with lemon, olive oil and salt
Braised, with caramelized onions and a can of drained white beans or chickpeas (from “Arabesque”)…
…or in coconut milk with chiles and garlic, served over rice (from “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian")
As a hot salad --- toss greens with vinaigrette (with or without bacon grease) in a stainless steel bowl that fits neatly atop a pot with a few inches of simmer water. With tongs, toss until warm (from “Chez Panisse Vegetables”)
Wilted in a hot skillet and oil, with a mustardy-shallot-y vinaigrette…. (from “Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini”)
…or with sesame oil, soy sauce, a smidge of grated fresh ginger and sesame seeds
Indian style, with ginger, green chile, garam masala sugar and cayenne (from “Hadhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking”)
…or Mediterranean style, with garlic and/or shallots, pine nuts and raisins
Raw, chopped and mixed in with cous cous (my preference is the larger Israeli variety), red onion, plenty of fresh lemon, olive oil, cayenne or smoked paprika, chopped fresh parsley
Atop a pizza with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, prosciutto, sauteed mushrooms, olives, anchovies
Need I go on?
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