Vegetable Variety: Spinach

This brochure explores how spinach can fit into the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It includes nutrition information, selection and storage tips, food safety tips, and recipes.
Vegetable Variety: Spinach - Articles
Vegetable Variety: Spinach

Spinach is tasty and convenient

Try these ideas:

Raw

  • Spinach makes a great salad green. Prewashed varieties are easy to use. Save money by washing bunch spinach yourself.
  • Use it in place of lettuce on sandwiches. In a recent study, people enjoyed the taste of hamburgers that were topped with spinach.

Cooked

  • Use cooked spinach in casseroles.
  • Steam it quickly. Serve with a touch of vinegar as a side dish.

Try the recipes below.

Spinach can help reduce your risk of cancer. People who eat at least 1½ cups of vegetables a day are less likely to get some common cancers. Health professionals recommend working up to 2½–3 cups of vegetables and 1½–2 cups of fruit into your day.

Two cups of raw, leafy greens counts as one cup toward your 3-cup goal.

Here's how you can work vegetables and fruits into your day.

Cups*
Breakfast1 cup of 100% fruit juice or 1 cup of fruit1
Lunch2 cups of salad containing spinach1
SnackOne medium apple1
Dinner1 1/2 cups of spinach and rice casserole, 1/2 cup of corn, and baked chicken1
4 cups Total

*One cup is one medium-sized piece of fruit; 1 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit; ½ cup dried fruit; 1 cup of 100% fruit juice; 2 cups of raw, leafy, green vegetables; or 1 cup of another vegetable, raw or cooked.

Spinach can help reduce your risk of cancer because it contains

  • beta carotene, used to form vitamin A.
  • vitamin C, an antioxidant.
  • fiber to prevent constipation.
  • lutein, a phytochemical that protects your eyes against macular degeneration. This disease causes blindness in older adults.

Selection

Choose crisp leaves without yellow or black spots. Avoid bunches or packages with wilted leaves. Frozen spinach is also a good buy. There is less waste.

Storage

Put it in the refrigerator crisper in a covered container or plastic bag. Use it within 2 days.

Recipes

Spinach and Orange Salad

(4 servings)

  • 4 cups fresh, trimmed, washed spinach
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1⁄2 cup sliced onions (optional)
  • 1⁄4 cup French dressing, reduced calorie

Wash and drain spinach thoroughly. Tear into small pieces and combine with the orange and onion slices. Pour the French dressing over the ingredients and mix well. Chill for 1 to 2 hours.

Spinach and Rice Casserole

(6–8 servings)

  • 1 cup white or brown rice
  • 1⁄2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1⁄4 tsp grated lemon peel or juice (optional)
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) of frozen chopped spinach (thawed, drained, and squeezed dry)
  • 1 cup (4 oz) cheddar cheese, crumbled
  • 1⁄3 cup fresh parsley or 2 Tbsp dried
  • 1⁄3 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1⁄2 tsp dried oregano

Cook rice according to directions. Once done remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Stir in 1⁄4 cup yogurt, egg, garlic, and lemon peel; set aside. While the rice is cooking, combine the squeezed spinach with remaining 1⁄4 cup yogurt, cheese, parsley, green onions, and oregano. Spoon one-half of rice mixture into the bottom of a one-and-one-half quart casserole that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Top with the spinach mixture and cover with the remaining rice. Bake for 45 minutes in a 350°F oven.

Food Safety Tips

  • Bake for time suggested. This ensures the egg is well done.
  • Refrigerate immediately after serving. Store in small portions. This cools food fast and prevents bacteria from growing.

Prepared by J. Lynne Brown, professor of food science, in cooperation with Central Region family living educators.

Authors

More by J. Lynne Brown, Ph.D., R.D.