Sunday, April 10, 2011

Splendid Spinach

Spinach is a wonderful, versatile vegetable.  It has too many nutrients and health benefits to possibly list them all.  But, you do remember Popeye, don't you?

Baby spinach is not much different, nutritionally, from the larger, mature leaves.  And both types come packaged in cellophane bags, that you can find in your local produce markets, in avariety of sizes.

These bags of pre-washed spinach leaves are just too handy to ignore .All you need to do is cut one open, take out as many fresh leaves as you need, then seal the package and put it back into the refrigerator.  I keep spinach fresh in the crisper for at least a week this way. 

If you are concerned about the cleanliness of the leaves, you could certainly wash them yourself and spin them dry before using. 

When I am making salad, spinach is my go-to leafy green base for all the assorted toppings that I love to use in a variety of combinations... veggies, grains, legumes, eggs, cheeses, canned fish, chicken or turkey breast, crumbled bacon, fruit - dried and fresh, nuts and seeds.

Spinach, Long English cucumber, sweet white onion, white button mushroom, fresh strawberries, crumbled bacon with raspberry vinaigrette.

If the spinach does start to look a little limp before you have finished the bag, that is the time to turn it into a nutritious and delicious green smoothie.  With the addition of milk, banana, cinnamon, and some honey or Splenda, whizzed together till smooth with your immersion blender, you have a great snack or after-run pick-me-up.

If you cannot get past the green color, toss in a few berries... you will end up with a purple power house!

You can add spinach leaves to your pasta sauces, chilis, vegetable and grain soups, omelets, quiches, dips, and I also like to use it in place of lettuce as a condiment on my veggie burgers.  And let's not forget that you can just steam it, or wilt it in hot bacon drippings, and eat as a side dish.

Learn to love spinach!  Your body will appreciate it.

Featured Recipes using this staple:

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