Thanks to Pop-Eye, spinach is one of the most famous of vegetables - though it's not the most popular...
Too many of us have memories of slimey, over-cooked spinach from our childhood.
Luckily it's surprisingly appetising, if cooked properly!
And if your kids hate it, disguise it by liquidising in soups, lasagnes or pasta sauces.
- In Season?
- From April through to the end of September.
Smaller, green leaves are better than over-large leaves with stringy stems.
Avoid spinach with any yellowing on the leaves, as this is beyond its prime.
- It should keep in the fridge (ideally in a paper bag) for 2 - 3 days.
Always make sure you wash spinach thoroughly, because it tends to be full of mud! The easiest way to do this is to dunk the leaves in a bowl of water and "swish" round well.
You can serve them as a side dish or use as an ingredient in winter stir fries, soups and stews.
Saute with a little butter until soft. Delicious with grated nutmeg.
Wash well and chop for use in a salad.
More Spinach InformationSpinach leaves are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin K, calcium, folic acid and antioxidants.
It is a good source of iron, but not as good as Pop-Eye would have us believe! 1 cup of lightly cooked spinach contains 1/3 of a woman's recommended daily intake of iron, but a cup of cooked spinach is a lot of spinach.
The same amount of spinach would also provide 25% of your calcium requirements and 30% of your vitamin C needs.
Spinach is readily available from June to March and many organic farmers manage to grow a year-round crop by careful use of the right varieties and occasionally growing in polytunnels.
Spinach originated in Iran and didn't arrive in Europe until the 11th Century. It was imported to Spain and when it arrived in Britain, it was known as the "Spanish Vegetable".Did you know...?
Lightly cooking spinach makes it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients it contains. For example, 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 1000% of your daily requirement of Vitamin K, 6 times the amount of raw spinach. Vitamin K is essential for bone formation and mineralisation.
Sweetcorn, Spinach and Broccoli Tortilla This delicious recipe takes less than 10 minutes, making it an ideal after-work meal. You'll want to make 2 per person and they're light, but filling.
Experminent with adding other seasonal veggies like peas.
Per person (2 tortilla servings)
2 organic tortillas (avoids the risk of hydrogenated fats)
4 tablespoons sweetcorn kernels (frozen is fine)
25g frozen spinach
25g broccoli florets chopped quite small
1 tablespoon mayonnaise or natural yoghurt
handful of grated Cheddar cheese (or any other hard cheese)
salt & pepper to taste
- Put the frozen spinach blocks and broccoli florets in a pan with the sweetcorn and 1-2 tablespoons water. Heat very gently until melted. (It's quicker if you cover it and then remove the lid at the end to let the water boil off.
- Allow the pan to cool a little, then add the cheese, mayo / yoghurt and some freshly ground black pepper. Mix well.
- Spoon half the mixture in a line towards one side of a tortilla wrap. Roll the wrap around the mixture like a pancake.
- Serve immediately. Add some fresh salad or rocket leaves, if you've got any.
- Aubergine & Courgette Bake
This is a great way of using up spare courgettes and aubergines, towards the end of the veg box's week. And it's so easy!
- Broccoli & Kale Stir Fry
This is a great recipe for a quick lunchtime stir fry. It uses broccoli and kale (or dark-leafed cabbage or spinach) because these are so rich in nutrients. It can easily be adapted to have a Japanese style, if you prefer.
- Denise Tolson's Smoked Haddock and Early Apples
Apples come into season in the UK in August, and there are varieties in season all the way through till the end of March.
Denise Tolson, VegBox Regular and our "Appointed Apple-Afficionado for August", recommends a savoury recipe using smoked haddock and early season apples.
- Dutch Potatoes with Winter Greens
This is just perfect for a cold night.
- Funny Hurried Yummy Summer Honey Kohl Rabi Stir-Fry
A recent dilemma: 30 minutes before we have to leave the house. We're starving. We've only got odds and ends left in the fridge to use. Cue "Flight of the Bumble-Bee" and chopping for my life - it was stir fry time!
- Garlic Spinach
This is a delicious recipe for garlic spinach. It's a great way of using up a glut of spinach and works well with baby spinach leaves or even winter spinach.
- Hallowe'en Soup
This recipe for Hallowe'en Soup is on test - but still available for you to try. Why not give it a go?
- Kale And Roquefort Parcels
If youíve got an excess of kale and a household thatís close to being fed up of eating it, hereís a recipe that should inspire them again. Or see the variations for ideas with chard or spinach.
- Kale Pesto Pasta
This is a brilliant way of sneaking kale past fussy eaters. The garlic helps reduce the bitterness of the kale and the pine nuts add a sweet, nutty flavour. It also works well with spinach, chard or black nero cabbage.
- Leek And Butterbean Soup
This is a delicious, filling soup for autumn and winter evenings. It's worth making extra to freeze - or so hungry eaters can come back for more. And there's a secret ingredient, to give it an extra zing!
- Lentil Dahl
This is a warming autumn supper, packed with nutrients from the lentils and veggies, giving your system a real boost.
- Mozarella and Aubergine Baguette
BAGUETTES FILLED WITH AUBERGINE (EGGPLANT) AND MOZARELLA
Aubergines don't have to be reserved for stews, casseroles and bakes! As they are quick to cook and tasty, aubergines also work well as a snack food.
Aubergine and mozarella baguettes make a delicious light lunchtime meal. Add chips and a spicy salsa for a bigger meal.
- Pasta with Spinach and Broccoli Sauce
This recipe was submitted by Sarah Pond, a member of the Ooffoo community, as an entry to the 2009 Recipe Prize Draw. Thanks Sarah!
- Peas and Pears Late Summer Salad
This is another one of the brilliant creations that emerge when hunger bumps noisily up against what's left in the fridge and the fruit bowl!
- Porcini Mushroom And Spinach Quiche
This quiche is great with dried porcini mushrooms. nd itís a great way to use up spare spinach. Or, if you prefer, you can substitute Swiss Chard.
- Quiche with Chard and (Ethically-sourced) Chicken
This recipe was submitted to us by Justin, who says:
"Well, I had some red chard I didn't know what to do with, so I figured I could put it in a spinach quiche (in place of the spinach of course). And it came out splendidly."
We say: "Good on ya, Justin ... GRRREAT recipe! And thanks for the great photo from your blog."
- Red Onion Risotto
You can use red onions in place of white onions in most recipes. But here's one that we've developed specially for in-season red onions. It's great with added spinach, black nero cabbage or even kale.
- Roasted Swede and Spinach Risotto
This recipe was submitted by Grace, a member of the Ooffoo community, as an entry to the Recipe Prize Draw. We love the "no nibbling" instructions, Grace!
- Salsify Gratin
This recipe is the first we've added for the unusual root vegetable "salsify" and has been generously provided to us from the lovely book "Veg: The Cookbook" by Greg Wallace.
- Seasonal Spinach Salad
This recipe was submitted by "Tablet", a member of the Ooffoo community, as an entry to the Recipe Prize Draw, with the comment:
"This recipe can of course be eaten totally cold, without heating the fish or the spinach but seeing as it's colder outside it's nice to eat it warm. It takes about five minutes to prepare and will happily feed two of you very well. You can share it with more people if you provide some scrummy bread to go with it. Enjoy!"
- Simple Souffle
So what is it about the word "Souffle" that strikes fear into the heart? When did souffles acquire the status of "that which is served at dinner parties only by the most accomplished of cooks"?
Because the reality is, they're easy peasy!
The only "critical" factor is getting your oven to the right heat and not opening the door to check it until 5 minutes before it should be done.
Our favourite tip is the check for done-ness. Give the souffle dish a sharp shove. The souffle should "tremble gently" (poor thing!) rather than wobble. A wobble means more cooking time is needed.
Here is our recipe for the basic souffle. See the "Variations" section for ideas on sweet as well as savoury fillings.
- Spinach And Beans
Sometimes spring isnít quite hot enough for salads and you crave something to warm you up. This recipe uses fresh, in-season spinach, lightly cooked with beans of your choice. It works well with butterbeans, cannelloni beans or even black-eyed beans or chick peas.
- Spinach And Potato Curry
If you've got some spare spinach and fancy a filling evening meal, this one is easy to make. It's similar to the Indian Sag Aloo. It also works well with Swiss chard, instead of spinach.
- Spinach and Potato Pie
This recipe has been most generously contributed by Karen Close of the wonderful Avid Organics. Avid serves South and West Yorkshire with tasty fruits, vegetables, bread, eggs, cheese, organic whole foods, earth friendly cleaning products and organic beer and wine. Golly. Amazing you had time to rustle up this recipe for us, Karen! Thank you.
- Spinach And Rocket Salad
This salad is easy to make and is great for a sunny spring day. You can add even more flavour by using the Parmesan shavings. The key is to wash and dry the salad leaves thoroughly, so the dressing clings to them, giving a wonderful flavour.
- Spinach Gnocchi
Adding winter spinach to gnocchi gives them a wonderful flavour, as well as boosting their vitamin content. Sometimes winter spinach can seem a bit tough, but using it in this variation on the Italian classic makes the most of the earthy-flavour of this leaf.
- Spinach Gnocchi Bake
Spinach and Gruyere cheese make a delicious combination in this gnocchi bake. If you don't have spinach, it also works well with kale or chard.
- Spinach, Blue Cheese & Pine Nut Lasagne
This is an amazingly delicious recipe for spinach lasagne. We kept going back for more. It takes a little effort, so you might want to make double and freeze half for another day - if it lasts that long!
Also works well with Swiss chard or kale.
- Spring Vegetable Quinoa
Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is a South American “grain” – actually a seed. It’s considered by many to be a super-food, because of the balance of proteins it contains. It's easy to cook and delicious.
This recipe also uses sunflower or walnut oil in the dressing (high in essential fatty acids), so it's a super-tasty, super-healthy meal.
- Stefan's Swede Cakes
Thanks so much to Stefan D for inventing this recipe and sharing it with us. We're inclined to agree with him when he says that he now prefers swede-based cakes to the more traditional potato variety!
- Super-quick cheating pizza
This super-quick pizza recipe can be rustled up in less than 10 minutes and tastes delicious, either with fresh summer tomatoes or a quick can of Italian chopped tomatoes. Fresh spinach or rocket makes this an easy, quick, healthy treat. See the variations for options with kale, courgette (zucchini) or peas!
- Sweetcorn, Spinach and Broccoli Tortilla
This delicious recipe takes less than 10 minutes, making it an ideal after-work meal. You'll want to make 2 per person and they're light, but filling.
Experminent with adding other seasonal veggies like peas.
- Swiss Chard and Sesame Stir Fry
This lovely Swiss Chard recipe is easy to make, very colourful (if you use rainbow chard) and good for you, too, with a wonderful sweetness and a savoury crunch. Also works well with spinach.
- Watercress, Spinach & Goats' Cheese Salad
I invented this recipe one lunchtime when we were all craving salad - in the depths of winter. Our local farm shop had some fresh watercress and mixed winter leaves and the rest is, as they say, history.
The warm goats' cheese makes this salad a filling winter or springtime treat.
- Winter Stir Fry
Stir fries are a real fast food, yet they're healthy.
The trick is to prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking.
The sauce with this stir fry is delicious, but you may need to add a little water, if your peanut butter is really thick.
The vegetables below are just suggestions. You can vary this recipe to include most winter vegetables. Just chop them into pieces that will cook quickly.
Got one? Send us your recipe!
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