Easy Spinach Recipes For Healthy Variety
Spinach has not always been a favorite vegetable in America. It was promoted by cartoons like "Popeye" in hopes of American children following his example of eating the vegetable for strength, with the result that farmers could sell more spinach.
The USA: Fruit and Vegetable Campaigns
A previous set of delicious spinach recipes that use fresh and frozen spinach is located at my article Spinach - Strong, but Not Just for Popeye, along with some fun background about Popeye the Sailor. He was not only entertaining, but also attached to an ad campaign for spinach during World Wat II.
Spinach was the focus of marketing in the US during WWII and bananas took over that focus during the Cold War. Advertising materials for these two campaigns are collectibles now and often worth a sizable amount of money.
Fruits as well as vegetables were involved in politics and after WWII, another aggressive ad campaign developed during the early Cold War. This encouraged Americans to buy and eat bananas with posters headed "Why The Kremlin Hates Bananas!"
Isn't amazing how fruits and vegetables become embroiled in politics and war?
Even so, both spinach and bananas are both full of valuable nutrients and can be delicious in numerous ways.
Spinach at the Savoy
Savoy, a region in France and a portion of Italy that produces its own variety of spinach, are also a popular name for ritzy hotels in the 1920s - 1940s, especially in the movies that featured the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, NYC.
The name Savoy is still used for upscale hotels and restaurants today. In the realm of leafy vegetables, savoy means "crinkled." This means that savoy cabbage is crinkly and it indeed does have crinkled leaves. It is all-over crinkly.
Spinach comes in three basic varieties. One grows with flat leaves, another has semi-crinkled (semi-savoyed) leaves, and the third is definitely savoyed. Flat, thick leaves make spinach easier to wash and is the kind you'll find in frozen and canned varieties for sale in the marketplace.
Savoy Spinach and Savoy Cabbage derive their names form a posh, frilly look. In history, the Savoy Ballroom on two continents was a place to be seen in upscale attire.
Savoy Spinach Growers
Growers of the curly savoyed and less curly semi-savoyed varieties of spinach are located largely in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and in the states of Texas, Florida, Colorado and Arizona.
In Canada, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec are known for this vegetable production as well.
Curly And Crinkly
What is savoyed spinach? -- Most easily stated, it's crinkly.
According to "Bon Appetit" Magazine, it is also called "curly leaf spinach."
Luxurious Savoyed Spinach Salad
- 4 Cups baby spinach leaves (savoyed or semi-savoyed), washed and drained.
- 3/4 Cup drained and rinsed canned chick peas
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 Dozen grape or cherry tomatoes
- ½ Cup chopped red onion
- 2 oz Pomegranate juice
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt or kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ Cup sunflower seeds
- First, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. After pan is hot, add chick peas in a layer over the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle cumin evenly over chick peas for a smoky flavor.
- Shaking the pan often, heat (toast) chickpeas for 5 minutes. When they pop, toss more vigorously in the pan.
- Place spinach, tomatoes, and onion in a large salad or mixing bowl.
- DRESSING: Combine pomegranate juice, vinegar, honey, oil, salt, and pepper in a separate container.
- Pour toasted chickpeas onto the spinach mixture. Pour pomegranate dressing over all, and toss.
- Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the top of the salad and serve.
Spinach & Two-Cheese Casserole
- 3 Whole eggs, beaten well
- 20 oz frozen chopped spinach
- 6 oz of grated sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese [I also like to use half cheddar and half Swiss cheese.]
- 1 Cup large curd cottage cheese.
- ½ Cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- ¼ Cup butter, softened.
- 2 tsp all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
- Cook the spinach as directed and drain well.
- In a mixing bowl, combine cooked spinach, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, mushrooms butter, beaten eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix well
- Use cooking spray to coat the bottom and sides of a rectangular baking dish.
- Pour the spinach mixture into the baking dish and spread evenly.
- Bake from 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until down and top is browned -- Glass dishes require less baking time than do metal baking pans.
Risotto and Spinach
- 1, 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach
- 3 Cups chicken broth
- 1 Cup water (I use spring water)
- 1 Cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Cup long grain or wild rice
- 1/4 Cup dry white wine
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- ½ Cup grated Parmesan cheese.
- Cook spinach according to directions and drain. Allow to cool, then squeeze dry.
In a pot on the stove top over low heat, combine chicken broth and water and maintain at a gentle simmer on the burner.
- In a larger pot, cook onion in olive oil over medium heat, stirring, until soft.
- Add in the rice, stirring to coated all the rice with the heated oil.
- Pour in the wine, cover, and cook at medium-high, stirring occasionally until the wine is completely absorbed.
- Add ¾ Cup hot broth and continue to cook rice uncovered, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed.
- Add more broth, ½ cup of at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed, until half of original pan of broth/water has been used.
- Reduce heat to moderate and maintain a simmer on the rice.
- Add more broth and keep stirring until rice is tender and creamy, about 15-18 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.
- Stir half of the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Place the Risotto and Spinach into a serving bowl, sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan on top, and serve.
Fish Fillets Florentine
Serves 4 in half-pound portions
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp instant chicken bouillon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg, ground red pepper, and ground white pepper
- 1 Cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup shredded Swiss or Cheddar cheeses or half of each
- 1, 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Pound of light-fleshed fish fillets (Use your favorite variety).
- 1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- Paprika for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt butter over low heat in a large pot until melted.
- Stir in flour, bouillon, nutmeg, red pepper and white pepper and mix well.
- Cook while constantly stirring, until mixture is bubbly and remove from heat.
- Immediately stir in milk and return to heat. Raise heat to medium.
- Bring to the boil while stirring constantly and boil 1 minute.
- Add Swiss cheese and stir until melted.
- Arrange spinach in a cooking sprayed rectangular baking dish.
- Sprinkle surface of spinach with lemon juice.
Arrange fish pieces on top of the spinach, sprinkle with salt, and spread sauce over all, evenly as a layer.
- Bake uncovered until fish flakes easily, about 20 - 25 minutes; remove from oven, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and paprika, and serve.
© 2009 Patty Inglish