What’s in the Box? Spinach!

Our series is back!  So what’s in the box this week?  Spinach!  This is a repeat of an article I wrote a few months ago.  The greens right now are super sweet and abundant.  GET YOUR GREENS!

SPINACH!

The Good Stuff

Spinach is likely #1 (seriously)  on the nutrition list.  It is super rich in vitamins and minerals, and it is also concentrated in phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene and lutein) which promote good health and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.  Loaded with more than 20 vitamins and minerals, 1 cup of cooked spinach contains one quarter or more of your daily allowance of: potassium, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, copper, iron, magnesium, folate, manganese, vitamin A, and vitamin K.  All this nutrition and just 41 calories.

Spinach stands out among its veggie counterparts for extraordinary anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.  The flavonoids that contribute to these amazing  also play a role as anti-oxidants in addition to the many other nutrients spinach contains.  Good for your eyes, bone health, heart, health skin & hair, and if you are pregnant…spinach will help increase your folic acid intake and help promote a healthy pregnancy.  The high level of vitamins and minerals combat against anemia and iron deficiency, diabetes, and risk for asthma.

As always, if you can, buy organic to reduce exposure to pesticides.  Spinach is on the dirty dozen list for high levels of pesticide residue when grown conventionally.  Be aware and wash thoroughly.

6 Amazing Ways to Use Spinach

With eggs. Add spinach to any of your favorite egg dishes.  My favorite is in an omelet or frittata.  In lieu of cheese in my omelets I use a recipe for a vegan parmesan cheese I found on The Minimalist Baker that you can check out here.  You can also sprinkle it on top of the frittata. A quick note on frittatas – whatever veggies you are using like mushrooms, chopped zucchini, or onion, you will want to saute lightly first before adding the egg.  If you add the veggies with the egg, they will stay raw and crunchy.

Salad. No need for elaboration here.  Spinach is perfect with mixed greens or on its own.  I love baby spinach with strawberries, mandarin oranges and balsamic vinaigrette.  Dried cranberries are a nice addition too.  Sauteed tempeh for my vegan friends or diced grilled chicken will provide a nice compliment of protein.

Smoothies. One of my absolute favorite ways to get a nutritious boost, especially in the morning.  You can add spinach to almost any of your faves without changing the taste of your smoothie.  Spinach tastes great with berry, pineapple, or banana based smoothie recipes.  A great smoothie for detox is 1 banana, 1 cup pineapple, 2 cups of spinach, 1 cup of water, handful of red grapes.  Fresh and energetic.

Lasagna or pasta. Add a layer spinach to lasagna or saute some spinach in olive oil and add to your pasta sauce.

Boil. Boil spinach for precisely one minute.  You will reduce the acidity of spinach by using this method, bring out the sweet flavor and preserve nutrients.  Bring a sufficient amount of water to a boil and then add spinach.  Start your timer immediately, boil for one minute and then promptly drain.  Serve as a base for seafood or as a side dish.  You can toss with pine nuts, or chopped egg, or salt & pepper.

In place of lettuce. Add spinach to your sandwiches, hamburgers and wraps in place of lettuce.  You can also serve chickpea, tofu, tuna or chicken salad on top of a bed of raw spinach.

Our What’s in the Box! series will return in late Spring when the CSA and local farmer’s markets pick back up after the new growing season.  I. Can. Not. Wait.  I hope we have inspired you to try new veggies or new ways of making your favorite veggies.  And now you know WHY they’re so good for you too!  Check out our other What’s in the Box posts for more cooking inspiration until we meet again:

Potatoes

Brussel Sprouts

Kale

Leeks

Parsnips

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