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March 26, 2012

Your mother always told you to eat your spinach and she knew what she was talking about!  Spinach has been around for centuries and became popular in the United States by 1806.   By the 1920’s the popular cartoon, Popeye the Sailorman, used spinach to give Popeye his muscles and strength.  Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, and fiber.  And in addition, eating dark leafy vegetables such as spinach may help protect against certain types of cancers. 


Spinach can be found fresh, canned, or frozen.  When choosing fresh spinach make sure the leaves are green and crisp with a fresh aroma for best quality.  Spinach grows in sandy soil so it is important to wash it thoroughly before use, by soaking it in a large bowl of water allowing the sand to drop to the bottom.  Repeat this process until sand is no longer seen on the bottom of the bowl. 


Spinach is a versatile vegetable and can be prepared many different ways. 

Microwaving spinach by placing damp leaves in a microwave safe container (loosely covered) and cook for 4-7 minutes per ½ pound of spinach.  Steaming only takes 5 -10 minutes and is a great way to prepare spinach as a side dish.  Sautee spinach by using a little olive oil for several cups of chopped spinach and add garlic and onion for additional flavor.  Lastly, it can simply be eaten raw for a crisp tasting vegetable. 



Get a boost of nutrients with these creative ways to include spinach in your menus:


  •  Change up your salads and swap lettuce for fresh spinach leaves
  •  Add spinach to your favorite fruit smoothie!  It’s a great way to add a boost of vitamins and minerals without altering the taste. 
  •  Spinach pesto!  Use spinach leaves in place of basil leaves in your favorite pesto recipe. 
  •  Add spinach to breakfast omelet and stir-fry (spinach, red and green peppers, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, and cauliflower)
  •  Spinach dip using spinach, low fat cheese, sliced cashews, and pine nuts


Here’s a sneak preview of a recipe from my new cookbook (soon to be published).  Let me know how you like it!





Spinach Almond Salad


Serves: 6

Serving Size: 1 cup



4 cups spinach leaves

1 cup sliced beets, drained

1 cup shredded carrots

½ cup chopped red onion

½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons slivered almonds




1.  Mix spinach, beets, carrots, red onion and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice.  Toss salad with

     dressing.   Sprinkle almonds on top.


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