Monday, March 26, 2012

Today is National Spinach Day

Featuring national food days might seem like I'm phoning in a blog post, but I'm not really.  


Spinach is enjoying some well deserved popularity these days. No longer confined to the canned cartoon variety known for imparting instant super human strength to old salts spinach, in all it's dark green glory, can be incorporated into almost any dish.

Spinach is a rich source of vitamin A (and especially high in lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids and a host of additional good stuff you never knew existed.

Spinach, along with other green leafy vegetables, is considered to be a rich source of iron and also has a high calcium content. 

The really great thing about spinach is the ease involved in making it a regular feature in your diet.

If you're looking for something easy and healthy to add to your meals grab some pre-washed packages of baby spinach and throw one of these salads together. Or conversely, grow your own and reap the harvest of vitamins and nutrients. I'm all for easy so I buy it.

I throw spinach leaves into simple chicken soup - even canned varieties - just before serving.   

Spinach pairs well with either fruit/sweet ingredients as well as savoury flavours for salads. I have a standby Spinach and Ricotta stuffing for chicken that I have used for years but I also enjoy spinach with fruit in salads where its velvety texture is sensuously pleasing as well as delicious.  


Traditional spinach salad. Alton Brown's recipe here.  Not entirely traditional but still good.


Spinach and strawberry salad, reciphere

Spinach salad combos like the one above are refreshing. Here are some other ingredient combos for spinach salad all of them served with your choice of home made dressing or any type of slightly sweetened dressing you can buy. Like poppyseed, or raspberry  vinaigrette . I have a maple syrup vinaigrette that would kick ass with any of these combos:

baby spinach
canned mandarin sections
sliced onion
dried cranberries
sliced almonds
dressing suggestion: Poppy seed 

baby spinach
sliced strawberries
pecans
sliced red onion
sunflower seeds
dressing suggestion: Citrus vinaigrette

baby spinach
crumbled hard cooked egg
bacon bits
sliced mushrooms
dressing suggestion: Dijon vinaigrette or Bacon Ranch
(personally I don't like bacon flavoured anything unless it's actual bacon, but you might and it's easy. Bacon dressing is an excellent combination with traditional spinach salad)


Spinach and Ricotta stuffed chicken breasts recipe here.

This recipe makes more than you need for four chicken breasts.  I freeze the remaining filling and then cut it into cubes, throw them in a ziploc bag for use later.  When I want to make the chicken recipe I just stuff a cube under the skin and bake.  Easy gourmet!

5 comments:

Angie said...

I discovered my love for spinach later in life. I grow it in my garden and eat it all summer long as a salad staple. In the winter, I buy the bags and have many recipes that call for it. I should be healthy as hell, shouldn't I?

Heidi said...

I hated spinach as a child. My father used to try to get me to eat it cause Popeye did. Did NOT work! It took Chelsea to show me a love of it. Especially baby spinach. She would saute in garlic with olive oil and I never knew that this is what i was missing.
I love to add to defrost a frozen block, squeeze out all the water and add to soups.

Anonymous said...

In honour of national spinach day, I have some stuck between my front teeth.

Ann

Noelle said...

I love spinach and fruit combos strawberries like you mentioned or mandarin oranges I've done apples and pears too. And nuts almonds or walnuts.

Frimmy said...

I love spinach as a substitute for lettuce in my egg salad sandwiches. It just goes together in taste and texture.