We use a lot of spinach in our house. A lot. We buy a huge tub of organic spinach in the beginning of the week and it’s most definitely gone by the weekend – or sooner. Spinach is probably the most popular dark, leafy green, and for good reason.
We love it, not only for its versatility, or its flavor, but also for the mean nutritional benefits it has to offer. According to Greens Glorious Greens!, one of my favorite “kitchen books”, spinach is high in vitamins A, C, and E, the vitamins shown to reduce the risk of cancer. It also makes the top-10 list of fruits and vegetables with the highest sources of carotenoids, a large family of nutrients (that includes beta-carotene) being studied for preventing disease. Spinach also fulfills the daily requirement for folacin (aka. folate/folic acid – especially important in women trying to become pregnant or that are pregnant, as well as in infants and children), and contains more iron and oxalic acid than most other greens!
So, obviously the facts can’t be disputed. Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse, and it’s really easy to include it in your diet. I can (and do!) add spinach to almost every meal.
Oh, Spinach, how I love you. Let me count the ways …
My favorite summer-time breakfast is an egg-white omelette and fruit. The only thing better than an egg-white omelette with fruit? An egg-white and spinach omelette with fruit! It’s super easy to add the spinach to this meal and get your extra vitamins in. I finely chop a couple of handfuls of spinach, throw them into my heated and sprayed saute pan white I beat my eggs. The spinach cooks in 2 minutes or less. Once its wilted, I pour the spinach into my eggs, beat them a couple more times (sorry eggs), and pour everything in the pan to cook. Couldn’t be easier, or yummier.
My second favorite summer-time breakfast is a smoothie … even a green one. Don’t be dismayed by the color of this smoothie. It. Is. Delicious. Even my toddler will drink it. Shoot, even my husband will drink it! This one could quite possibly even be easier than the eggs.
All you have to do is add a couple of handfuls of raw baby spinach to 8 ounces of whatever liquid you use in your smoothies. We use unsweetened almond or coconut milk. Blend the spinach and the milk together before you add your other ingredients. After the spinach and the milk are blended together, I usually add a banana, a handful of blueberries, maybe a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and maybe a scoop of brown rice protein powder. You can really add anything you want to the spinach-milk mix. You can NOT taste the spinach, and you’re getting tons of nutrients in without even noticing.
Drink it in a wine glass to make yourself feel a little bit more fabulous in the morning. I do it all the time and the hubs makes fun of me … but I love it.
One of the hubs favorite ways to have spinach is sautéed. In the Greens Glorious Greens! book, they say this is how you make Italian spinach. That may be true – this is how we grew up eating it – so we just call it spinach 😉 This is also super easy (are you noticing a trend here?) To saute spinach, all I do is thinly slice two cloves of garlic and add them to a heated saute pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil. I heat the garlic until it begins to become transparent and fragrant. Then, I throw in a few large handfuls of spinach. When you are cooking spinach it cooks down a LOT. What may seem like a lot of greens, after a few mins will almost disappear. I toss the spinach around in the heated pan for a few minutes – it will likely only take 2 to 4 minutes to cook.
Once it’s done, I serve it as a side, or as I did today, as a bed for organic grilled chicken breasts for the hub’s lunch bag.
The last thing I do with spinach on a daily basis, is pretty much a no-brainer … I use it as a base for my salads instead of using lettuce. I like the texture better, and its more nutrient rich. Like I said, a no brainer.
The additions to my salad can vary from day-to-day, based on what’s in the fridge, or what I feel like having. Today I added a tomato, mushrooms, avocado, carrots, cucumber, celery, and a sprinkle of goat cheese. I’ve been using Annie’s Organic Balsamic to dress my salads lately if I don’t dress them myself. It’s awesome — definitely give it a try if you come across it.
So, those my friends, are the many ways I fit spinach into our meals every day. And the reason that my giant tub of spinach that I bought only 3 days ago looks like this: