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Add Spinach to Spring Meals

Posted: May 2, 2015

Spinach – we know it is good for us. After all, it was a staple in Popeye’s diet!

     Spinach is a low calorie, nutrient dense vegetable which can be used in many different recipes. It is loaded with vitamin A and C and minerals such as manganese, calcium, zinc and iron. It is also a good source of fiber and rich in the antioxidant, flavonoids, which may reduce our risk for cancer. In addition spinach contains lutein, which may prevent cataracts and age related macular degeneration, the leading cause of preventable blindness in the elderly.
     When buying fresh spinach, look for crisp leaves without yellow or black spots. Avoid bunches or packages with wilted leaves. Frozen spinach is also a good option and will prevent waste.
     Store fresh spinach in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. Do not wash before storing but rather just before eating. To wash, drop the spinach leaves into a large bowl of lukewarm water, stir them gently with your hands, and then lift out the leaves to let the sand and grit settle. Empty and refill the bowl with clean water and wash the leaves again. Although bagged spinach is often labeled “prewashed,” it still should be rinsed to clean away any sand and grit.

     Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked. Here are a few ideas to incorporate it into your meals:

  • Add chopped fresh or frozen spinach to lasagna to up the nutrient content of this tasty comfort food.
  • Add chopped or frozen spinach to your favorite vegetable soup recipe.
  • Sauté spinach with a bit of garlic for a tasty super food combination. Try it on top of a baked potato.
  • Make quick and easy spinach dips to eat with crunchy raw vegetables and whole grain breads like pumpernickel, and enjoy the health benefits of spinach while you nibble on your favorite veggies.
  • Add chopped fresh or frozen spinach to omelets and frittatas. Make sure frozen spinach is thawed and well drained.
  • Use fresh spinach instead of lettuce to add a twist to your favorite sandwiches.

Below is a diabetic-friendly Strawberry Spinach Salad recipe you can try.

 

4 cups torn fresh spinach
1 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 T. finely chopped onion
1 1/2 T. sunflower seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
1 T. canola oil
1T. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. mustard
1/4 tsp. dried dill
1/8 tsp. salt
Pinch garlic powder
     In a salad bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, onion, sunflower kernels, and sesame seeds. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients and shake well. (Dressing can also be whisked together in a small bowl.) Pour dressing over salad and toss gently. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
   
Karen Thomas is a family and consumer sciences educator for Penn State Extension in Lackawanna County.



Contact Information

Karen Thomas
  • Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health
Email:
Phone: 570-963-6842