A Spotlight on Spinach

In this article, we discuss a green, leafy vegetable that is packed with nutrients and low in calories. Let’s look at the best ways to prepare it and why it’s good for you.

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What vegetable is delicate enough for salads, delicious eaten on its own, or incorporated into pastas and stews? Why, spinach, of course!  

Spinach belongs to the same family as beetroot and chard. It shares a similar flavor profile with these vegetables – slightly salty with a bitter flavor. There are a few different varieties of spinach, but one of the most common is baby spinach, since it tastes great when eaten raw but can also be gently cooked as well. Curly-leaf (or savory) spinach is a heartier, more robust variety and is best for sauteing. 

HEALTH BENEFITS

It is impossible to list all the nutrients derived from spinach but they include vitamins C and E, calcium, magnesium and iron. Studies suggest that spinach is linked to heart health and healthy eye sight and can increase energy levels in some people. The point is that you can avoid buying supplements capsules if you add spinach to your diet. If you’re not a fan of the texture of spinach, try adding it to a green juice. It will lend a beautiful bright green color to your drink and you’ll still get your intake of its many vitamins and minerals. 

If you’re not a fan of the texture of spinach, try adding it to a green juice.

HOW TO PREPARE SPINACH

Spinach is widely used as a side dish and salad base but this nutrient-dense vegetable also makes a wonderful addition to omelettes, lasagnas, quiches and even soups. 

A common cooking method for spinach is steaming. Believe it or not, spinach only takes about 30 seconds to cook. Overcooking spinach will result in color loss and a slimy texture, so keep a close eye on your kitchen timer. A deep green color indicates it’s finished. You can also wilt spinach with a bit of olive oil and garlic, another tasty way to enjoy this leafy vegetable. You can wilt spinach by heating a large skillet with oil or butter and stirring the spinach leaves for about a minute or two. If you are serving steak, one of the best accompaniments is creamed spinach. This is prepared by blanching spinach, then simmering it on the stovetop in cream and perhaps some Parmesan cheese. 

Palak is the Indian name for spinach and Indian cuisine makes excellent use of it, in popular dishes like Saag Bhaji (Spinach Curry) and Saag Paneer, a dish composed of cooked spinach and fried paneer cheese, thickened with cream or coconut milk. Apart from India, spinach is grown and enjoyed all over the world, with China accounting for the majority of its production.  

It is important to remember that spinach will significantly reduce in volume, when cooked.

QUICK TIPS

Be sure to remove the stems from your spinach leaves before cooking, since they’re tough and difficult to eat. It is important to remember that spinach will significantly reduce in volume, when cooked. For example, two pounds of spinach will only yield about four servings, once cooked. Spinach also contains a lot of water, so you’ll want to remove excess moisture before adding it to things like quiche and dips. You can do this by wrapping it in a kitchen towel and squeezing or simply drying the leaves with paper towel. 

Once cooked, all you really need for seasoning is salt and pepper but you can use lemon juice or balsamic vinegar to cut the bitterness, if you prefer. Nutmeg is another complimentary pairing.