Five Ways to Eat: Spinach

Spinach isn't just Popeye's muscle-building vegetable of choice. It's also one of our favorite dark leafy greens: tender, juicy, and endlessly useful in the kitchen. It's even seasonally versatile; it grows in colder months, but then when you can't find it fresh and local anymore, there is excellent frozen spinach to be had for soups and stir-fries.


This is a fabulous way to eat a lot of spinach: warm and spicy Palak Paneer.
  1. Stir-fried, with tons of garlic - This of course is our favorite way to eat mounds of spinach, fresh or frozen. Just heat a lot of slivered garlic in a little olive oil, dump in a bag of spinach and stir-fry until hot. Season with soy sauce and a pinch of pepper.
  2. Rolled up in pasta - Spinach and its tender greenness is great in pasta. We like these spinach lasagna roll-ups from our Quick Weeknight Meals contest. We also like this more indulgent spaghetti with mascarpone, Meyer lemon, spinach and hazelnuts. Yum.
  3. In pesto - In the wintertime, with hot-weather basil long gone, fill pesto cravings with spinach (and other cold-weater leafy greens). Just make pesto as usual, but use spinach instead of herbs. It's great in tomato soup!
  4. Blended into soup - Spinach is great in soups. It cooks up quickly and adds some green color and flavor to a fall soup. Here are some favorites: Spinach and Lemon Soup with Orzo and Spring Spinach and Herb Soup.
  5. In something with cheese - There's something about spinach that just makes us want to eat it with cheese, like in these Spinach-Pie Quesadillas (they look so good!) or on this white bean and taleggio pizza. The ultimate combo of spinach with cheese may be palak paneer, a spicy Indian dish full of squeaky chunks of paneer cheese. Great cold weather eating.

Here are a few more tips and recipes for spinach. What's your favorite way to eat spinach?

Ricotta Pancakes with Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes
7 Variations on a Spinach Salad
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
Ina Garten's Spinach and Cheddar Soufflé
Eating Light: Frozen Vegetables Are Your Friends

More 5 Ways to Eat Posts:
These posts are all ingredients paired with Social Workout's daily exercise over at their Fall Challenge.

(Images: Flickr member sciondriver licensed for use under Creative Commons; Emma Christensen)