Spinach, not just for Popeye

Spinach, not just for Popeye

The local growers are bringing in the bounty this time of year. The nutritionally bountiful spinach, that is, available down the street at your local farmstand.

What's so great about spinach, aside from being a dark leafy green that is high in vitamin K (great for your bones) in folate, it has calcium, magnesium, iron and antioxidants, among other trace vitamins and minerals that make it a powerhouse.

Spinach, not just for Popeye

Is there a caveat? Unfortunately, spinach is also high in oxalates, which prevents its calcium from being absorbed effectively and could contribute to kidney stones. So don't rely on spinach for your calcium and make sure you chew it well to help break down the oxalates.

You may not get your family to eat it right out of the can like Popeye (and fresh or frozen is more nutritious anyway), but you may try steaming a bunch of spinach, pureeing it and using it like this:

Add to brownies, cookies or cakes (not kidding) as part of the fat and or liquid in the recipe.

Blend into hummus or other healthy dips.

Replace part of the basil and/or parsley in pesto with spinach.

Blend into cheese for lasagna.

Add to meatballs, meatloaf and burgers.

Want to eat it raw? Try one of these yummy salads:

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Asian Spinach Salad

Cranberry Spinach Salad

Spinach and Pine Nut Salad

Grapefruit, Radicchio and Spinach Salad

Want to use the whole leaves?

Sauté with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes or chopped onion and slivered almonds.

Drop into soups and stews.

Add to stir fries.

Sneaky or bold, any way you decide to use spinach is a great way to get the nutrition from that popular dark, leafy green.

What are some of your favorite ways to eat spinach?

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