07 June 2011

Three Healthy Spinach Recipes

Popeye the Sailor Man was created by Elzie Crisler Segar
Popeye the Sailor Man is a fictional hero appearing in comic strips, comic books and television cartoons. The Popeye character was depicted as eating spinach to instantly restore and amplify his strength and become stronger to defeat his enemies such as the Sea Hag and Bluto.

Robin Williams Popeye 1981
Robin Williams portrayed as Popeye in film, Popeye (1980)
But eating spinach alone cannot make you become stronger. Spinach isn't that high in iron compared to other foods such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage or broccoli. In 1930s, German chemists reinvestigating the iron content of spinach and found that the original worker of German scientist, Emil von Wolff misplaced a decimal point in an 1870 measurement of spinach's iron content, leading to an iron value 10 times higher than it should have been.

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raw spinach
Raw red spinach

However, spinach is rich in vitamin A, especially high in lutein which is good for eyesight. In a study at Harvard Medical School in Boston, higher dietary intakes of lutein and vitamin E from food and supplements were associated with significantly decreased risks of cataract. Spinach is also an alkaline producing food, making it useful in helping to regulate body pH.

Here are 3 tasty ways to get more nutrient-rich spinach into your day from eatingwell.com

1. Simple Sautéed Spinach

6 servings, about 1/2 cup each
Active Time:
Total Time:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 20 ounces fresh spinach, (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. 
  2. Add garlic and cook until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. 
  3. Add spinach and toss to coat. Cover and cook until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. 
  4. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper.
  5. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

2. Inside-Out Lasagna Mix Spinach

4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Active Time:
Total Time:

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat rotini or fusilli
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves cloves garlic, sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms release their liquid, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, spinach and crushed red pepper (if using). Increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring once halfway through, until the spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes.
  4. Toss the sauce with the pasta and divide among 4 bowls. Dollop each serving with 3 tablespoons of ricotta.

3. Leek, Potato and Spinach Stew

6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Active Time:
Total Time:


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 links hot Italian turkey sausage (6-7 ounces), casings removed
  • 2 cups chopped leeks (about 2 leeks), white and light green parts only, rinsed well
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound new or small potatoes, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces spinach, stemmed and chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, preferably no-salt-added, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, chervil, chives and/or parsley


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. 
  2. Add sausage and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally and crumbling the sausage with a wooden spoon, until the leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add garlic and salt and stir until fragrant, about 20 seconds. 
  4. Add wine, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover and cook until the wine is almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. 
  5. Add potatoes and broth; cover and bring to a boil. 
  6. Stir in spinach and scallions and cook, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in beans. 
  7. Cover and let stand for 1 minute. Divide among 6 soup bowls and sprinkle each portion with herbs.

PS - Quick and Healthy Recipes and Ideas: For people who say they don't have time to cook healthy meals, 3rd Edition

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