What’s for dinner tonight? How about a spinach strata or farro salad? Whatever you cook, throw some spinach in, because today is the day to honor this versatile and nutritious plant. That’s right — March 26th is National Spinach Day.
Keep reading to find some fantastic ways to eat Popeye’s favorite veggie. (And if you missed the holiday, don’t worry, spinach will still taste great and give you nutrients like vitamin C and zinc whenever you choose to eat it.)
Earlier: 15 Ways to Use Artichokes
1. Chinese-Style Stir Fry Spinach
Feel free to adjust the seasoning to your own tastes — the amounts of garlic, chili paste and salt are more of a guideline than anything else. I, for instance, am not a big spicy food fan, and found that using about half of the chili paste is sufficient.
- 2 Tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 Teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 Teaspoon chili paste
- Coarse salt
- 10 Ounces fresh spinach
- 1/4 Teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon sesame oil
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Preheat wok. Pour in oil. Swirl oil to coat bottom and half of the sides of wok. After the oil is hot, stir in garlic, chili paste and salt. Stir garlic and let the flavors bloom, 30 seconds-1 minute.
2. Stir in spinach, and cook, stirring nonstop, until the leaves have just started to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Add sugar and sesame oil. Remove from heat, sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.
Recipe Credit: About.com
5. Spinach Strata
How can you go wrong with bread, cheese, and spinach?! For best results, prepare this the night before.
- 1 1/2 Pounds fresh spinach, stems removed and finely chopped
- 1 Large onion, finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to grease dish
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg
- 8 Cups cubed French bread
- 2 Cups coarsely grated gruyere
- 1 Cup finely grated parmesan or romano
- 2 3/4 Cups milk
- 9 Large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1. In a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste, nutmeg and continue cooking until the flavor blooms, about 1 minute. Stir in spinach. Remove mixture from heat.
2. Butter a ceramic baking dish. Add a single layer (about 1/3) of the cubed bread and, with a plastic spatula, coat evenly with about 1/3 of the spinach mixture. Add 1/3 of the gruyere and 1/3 of the parmesan. Add a another layer of bread, then more spinach, and more cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients for a third layer.
3. In a large bowl, whisk milk, eggs, mustard, and a little salt and pepper. Pour mixture evenly over the bread/cheese/spinach in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the fridge. Leave it there for 8-10 hours, so the bread has the chance to absorb the milk-egg mixture.
4. Place rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees. Remove strata from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the strata is golden brown, a little puffed and totally cooked through. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes before digging in.
Recipe Credit: Gourmet.
9. Spinach Salad with Quinoa and Shiitake Mushrooms
- 1/2 Cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 Cup olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Pounds fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps wiped clean with a paper towel and halved
- 1 1/2 Cups quinoa
- 1 Pound spinach
- 8 Ounces feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
1. Set oven rack to about 4 inches from the heat. Heat broiler. In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar, oil and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Transfer mushrooms to a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour on half of the dressing (reserving the rest) and toss. Broil for about 20-25 minutes, removing to toss a few times, until the mushrooms are tender and there’s almost no liquid remaining.
3. While the mushrooms are in the broiler, bring quinoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 3 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Cover saucepan and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed by the quinoa.
4. In a large bowl, add spinach, mushrooms, quinoa and remaining dressing. Toss lightly to combine (the spinach will wilt a little. Add some feta and serve immediately.
Recipe Credit: Martha Stewart.
I was always in the no-vegetables-in-smoothies camp — until I actually tried it. You get a good dose of greens, and you can barely notice the flavor of the spinach over the flavor of the fruit.
12. Spinach-apple Smoothie
- 1 Banana
- 1 Granny smith apple, peeled
- 8 Ounces fresh spinach
- 1 Cup water
1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
Recipe Credit: food.com
Also, check out this guide to cooking with spinach for more tips, tricks and nutrition information. Do you have your own favorite spinach recipe? Tell us about it in the comments!