RECIPES: Popeye the sailor… eats spinach! – Washington Daily News
Spinach is so versatile and easy to add to so many dishes, you could enjoy it as often as Popeye the Sailor! Since it’s such a delicate green, it doesn’t require much, if any, cooking time. It can be eaten raw or added at the end with the other cooked ingredients so that it becomes slightly wilted. Pre-packaged spinach comes pre-washed and chopped, making it super convenient to take out of the bag and toss into many dishes.
This flavorful green also packs a nutritious punch and is loaded with many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, manganese, and vitamin K needed for bone health; vitamins A and C important for immune function; the magnesium necessary for muscular and nervous functioning; folate and B6 especially important during pregnancy and brain development; and lutein and zeaxanthin which reduce the risk of eye diseases.
The traditional Mediterranean way of eating includes lots of vegetables. Breakfast is the hardest meal for many to get vegetables. Adding vegetables to an omelet is one way to get at least some into the morning meal. You can cook a bag of spinach and chopped vegetables at the start of each week to keep in the fridge to make quick vegetable omelettes. Brown a bag of baby spinach in a few teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. You can add lemon zest if you wish. Cook some chopped mushrooms, peppers and onions – whatever veggies you like – and keep them handy too.
Vegetable omlette For 1
Non-stick spray with olive oil
½ cup spinach
¼ cup chopped mushrooms
Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray with olive oil spray.
Add spinach and mushrooms. Cook until hot.
In a bowl, beat egg until well blended and add to spinach and mushrooms.
Swirl the pan to distribute the egg. Cook until the egg is set.
You can flip it if you prefer your eggs well done.
Fold in half and serve.
Nutritional information per serving: Vegetables: ½ cup, Calories: 90, Carbohydrates: 3 grams, Fibre: 1 gram, Protein: 8 grams, Fat: 5 grams and Sodium: 302 mg
Eggs, any style, over vegetables are a great way to use up leftovers. I often save some of my vegetables for dinner specifically for this purpose because I enjoy the egg/veggie combo and it’s easy to eat more veggies when you start breakfast.
This next salad is super nutritious, looks and tastes delicious too! Quinoa is a popular whole grain thanks to its quick cooking time, high protein content, and nutty flavor. It is often found in grocery stores near gluten-free food products and gluten-free flour. The quinoa really soaks up the dressing in this recipe. Wait to dress the salad just before serving. You will use about one bag of lettuce in total. You can use all the spinach, all the arugula, or half and half.
Strawberry quinoa salad For 4 people
Serving Size: 1 cup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
½ cup dry quinoa
2 cups baby spinach, piled rolled and sliced chiffonade
2 cups arugula
⅔ cup sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
1 handful of fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Place quinoa in a medium saucepan with 1¾ cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove the lid and cook until all the water has evaporated. Remove from fire.
Prepare the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients in a bowl or jar.
Place quinoa, spinach, arugula, strawberries, toasted almonds and basil in a bowl and mix.
Add and mix the dressing just before serving.
Nutritional information per serving: Serving size: 1 cup, Vegetables: ½ cup, Fruits: ¼ cup, Calories: 182, Carbohydrates: 18 grams, Fibre: 3 grams, Protein: 5 grams, Fat: 10 grams and Sodium: 33 mg
Another great way to add spinach to your diet is to add spinach to a smoothie. Ingredients in this recipe may vary depending on taste and availability. Kale can be substituted for spinach and any other fruit can also be used. Using frozen fruit will help make a cold and refreshing smoothie. Adjust the amount of milk to make it thicker or thinner depending on your taste preferences.
fruit smoothie For 3
Serving Size: 1½ cups
½ cup baby spinach
1 tablespoon peanut butter
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup almonds
½ apple, sliced
4 to 5 slices of frozen peaches
5 to 6 frozen whole strawberries
5 to 6 medium mango cubes (fresh or frozen)
3 cups plain soy milk
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Nutritional information per serving: Serving size: 1½ cups, Vegetables: 3 tablespoons, Fruits: ¾ cup, Calories: 325, Carbohydrates: 30 grams, Fibre: 5 grams, Protein: 13 grams, Fat: 19 grams and Sodium: 139 mg
Sources for this article NC Extension Food and Nutrition, educational program Meds instead of Meds. For more food and nutrition information, please contact Louise L. Hinsley, Extension Officer, Family Consumer Science at Beaufort County Center of NC Cooperative Extension, 155 Airport Road, Washington, NC 252-946-0111.