I love spinach, but not nearly as much as Catherine de Medici, queen of France in the 16th century. Queen Catherine was such an avid fan of spinach she took her culinary demands to diva levels. When she left Florence to marry King Henry II, she brought her loyal cooks with her because they knew precisely how to cook spinach to her liking. Thanks to Queen Catherine, "à la Florentine" has come to mean "served on a bed of spinach." Who knew?
Queen Catherine would be happy that we think spinach deserves a chance to take the starring role. These 5 easy recipes give the royal treatment to this super nutritious green (it's chock-full of vitamins A, C and K, along with a healthy dose of fiber, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium).
Spinach Salad with Japanese Ginger Dressing puts a spunkier, healthier spin on those iconic salads served at Japanese steakhouses.
Active time: 20 minutes | Total: 20 minutes | To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate the dressing (Step 1) for up to 5 days.
3 tablespoons minced onion
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
10 ounces fresh spinach
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
1. Combine onion, oil, vinegar, ginger, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender. Process until combined.
2. Toss spinach, carrot and bell pepper with the dressing in a large bowl until evenly coated.
Makes 4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each.
Per serving: 135 calories; 11 g fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 3 g fiber; 407 mg sodium; 559 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (210% daily value), Vitamin C (100% dv), Folate (39% dv), Potassium (16% dv), Iron (15% dv).
Wilted Spinach Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette-This wilted spinach salad doesn't follow the bacon-and-egg tradition but it's big on flavor with rich sherry vinegar, a touch of smoky paprika and briny olives.
Parmesan Spinach Cakes-If you like spinach-cheese pie, try these simple but elegant-looking little spinach cakes.
Simple Sautéed Spinach-Sautéed spinach (or any greens) with garlic and a squeeze of lemon (or vinegar) is a simple formula that lets spinach shine and will never go out of favor.
Spinach Soup with Rosemary Croutons-This shockingly green soup has a subtle hint of rosemary that blends nicely with the greens. Keep this soup slightly chunky, with swirls of green and cubes of potato to give it texture.
Quick spinach cooking tips:
- Baby spinach is immature or young spinach-it's harvested earlier than large-leaved mature spinach. We like the sturdy texture of mature spinach in cooked dishes and serve tender, mild-flavored baby spinach raw or lightly wilted. Baby and mature spinach can be used interchangeably in these recipes (yields may vary slightly); be sure to remove the tough stems from mature spinach before using.
- Weights & measures: 10 ounces trimmed mature spinach = about 10 cups raw
- 10 ounces baby spinach = about 8 cups raw
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
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