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Baby Spinach Sauteed with Garlic and Dried Cranberries
Spinach.. Healthy and Easy to Prepare
If you love spinach like I do then this recipe is right up your alley. I must admit however, I did not always like this vegetable and would avoid it. It wasn't until I ate spinach in a salad, without realizing it, and was surprised when I found out how much I enjoyed it. Needless to say I have been a fan ever since!
Spinach is a super healthy vegetable loaded with much needed vitamins and minerals. It is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety dishes. It can even be juiced! I use it frequently as side dish, as a topping for fish, meats, or in salads. In this lens I will give you my recipe for baby spinach sauteed with garlic and dried cranberries.. If you are new to cooking or to eating spinach, then I encourage you to give this recipe a try. It requires very little prep time and can be ready to eat in minutes.
Anyone in my family will tell you I love food, love to cook, and love to eat! Even when I was still working full-time as a nurse, I prepared a home-cooked meal every night after work, just like my mother did. My co-workers at the time found this quite strange, and admitted they did not do this. Instead, they often stopped for food on the way home or ordered take out. I have always found cooking to be relaxing and not a chore. It is something I can do at my own pace, without anyone else's time schedule dictating the outcome.
A few years ago I embarked on a quest to eat healthier, and read that spinach was an extremely healthy food. Not long after that, I had sauteed spinach served with a dish at one of our favorite local restaurants. Upon further inspection, I realized I could make this at home with no problem and decided to go for it. There are just a few easily obtained ingredients and prep time is short. You will only need a sauté or omelet pan; non-stick is best. I must add here, I have put my own spin on this recipe and it is not an exact replica of the dish I had that day at the restaurant.
I realized, while I was writing this lens, I am not a cook who measures ingredients exactly. I have found it is not that necessary with savory cooking, unlike baking which requires precise measurements. Instead, I prefer to go by taste and the number of people I am going to feed. This recipe serves two, as do most of my recipes, since it just my husband and me. If you have a larger family, or just want to eat more spinach then just increase the amount of each ingredient to suit your needs..
- Cook time: 15 min
- Ready in: 15 min
- Yields: 2
- 5 oz Fresh Spinach
- 1 large or 2 small cloves fresh garlic
- 1 -2 tsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 -2 Tbsps Dried Cranberries
- Place 1-2 tsps extra virgin olive oil into your saute pan
- Heat oil on low temp
- Thoroughly rinse all of the spinach using a colander or strainer. I do this even if I purchase the "ready to use" spinach.
- Allow excess water to drain off
- Finely chop or dice your garlic and place in saute pan. If you prefer less garlic taste you can use garlic powder.
- Allow garlic to infuse olive oil with flavor while it heats in the pan.
- Stir frequently and take care not to overcook your garlic as this will cause the garlic to taste bitter.
- Add 1-2 Tbsps dried cranberries
- Pat the spinach dry with a kitchen or paper towel
- Add all 5 oz fresh spinach to your pan. It seems like a large amount but it will cook down. Refer to the photo in my introduction.
- Turn frequently with tongs until just wilted
- Serve alone or as an accompaniment to other dishes
My Journey to Becoming a Spinach Lover
Learning to Approach Food With an Open Mind
Fresh spinach, unlike lots of other vegetables, is available all year long, as it can be grown in cooler temperatures. I can almost always find good looking spinach in my local market anytime of the year, which is not the case with some other produce, such as tomatoes. Even though here in the U.S., we are fortunate to have access to fresh vegetables and fruit most of the year, some I have noticed, such as tomatoes from the market in January, are just not as flavorful as those I get in warmer months. The fact that great tasting spinach is easy to obtain all year made it even easier for me to start trying it and, eventually, to become a spinach lover.
If you grew up like I did, in the Deep South, most dinners consisted of meat potatoes and very few healthy veggies. Most of our vegetables were carbohydrate laden (i.e. potatoes or corn) cooked in and covered with butter. Foods cooked in this way taste amazing, but eating this way on a regular basis over a lifetime is terrible for your body. Salads were a rare occurrence, if at all, very small in size and never served as a main course. As I grew older, and began to pursue a career in nursing, I learned just how unhealthy my diet really was, and slowly started to incorporate more fresh vegetables into my diet.
For the longest time though I was hesitant about trying spinach. When I finally did eat some, quite by accident, as I said earlier, much to my surprise it was very tasty!! It was not the slimy, green glop I saw my grandmother eat from a can as a kid. In the past, when spinach was on the menu I automatically thought of the canned spinach the cartoon character, Popeye, ate! The spinach I had in this salad was nothing like that. It was crunchy, much like lettuce, and added a different flavor to the salad I was eating at the time. From that point on I made myself try more and more dishes with spinach and found I loved it, whether cooked or raw. Before I knew it, I was purchasing spinach and using it in my own meals at home.
This image courtesy of Mia-Mia on Squidoo.
Wondering what the dish looks like step by step? - Take a look at my photo gallery and you will find this dish in each stage of preparationClick thumbnail to view full-size
Calling All Spinach Fans - How Many of Us Are There??
Are You a Fan of Spinach?
Health Benefits of Spinach
Spinach is Superfood!!
In addition to having great flavor, spinach is packed with numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, we need in order to maintain good health. Spinach is high in vitamins, A, K, and C. It also contains B6 and generous quantities of folate, potassium, magnesium, and riboflavin. Best of all, spinach is super low in calories!!! One cup of uncooked spinach has approximately 7 calories. Not bad, huh? So, go ahead and toss some more spinach on that salad and enjoy!! Many recent studies have shown individuals who eat more colorful fruits and vegetables, like spinach, are healthier and suffer fewer chronic illness.
I should add cooking spinach, and other veggies, will breakdown some of the wonderful vitamins and minerals we need from them. The longer the cooking process the fewer nutrients you will end up getting from your spinach or other veggies. You might have noticed I used olive oil in my recipe, and not vegetable oil or butter. By doing so I reduce the amount of fat and calories in the dish and in my diet. I might also mention I eat a dairy-free diet, so butter is out for me, but that is a topic for another lens.
Who Should Not Eat Spinach?
Are You One of Those People?
I have detailed all the fabulous benefits of spinach and other dark green, leafy vegetables; however, there are some people who must avoid or strictly limit these foods due to certain health conditions. Individuals taking medications such as Warfarin or Coumadin, commonly referred to as blood thinners, should not ingest any dark green leafy vegetables. People taking blood thinning medications most often have an increased risk for stroke or blood clots due the complications of cardiovascular disease, and must keep their blood "thin" in order to avoid this. People taking medications such as Warfarin or Coumadin are required to have their blood tested on a regular basis to make sure it is not clotting too fast. Spinach contains large amount of vitamin K, which causes a person's blood to clot faster. Because of this, is eliminated from the diet of those on blood thinners. Cranberries have been known alter a person's clotting time, so I do not recommend anyone taking blood thinners eat cranberries in any form without checking with their doctor first.
For those folks unable to eat spinach or cranberries not to worry! There are many other healthy foods out there you can enjoy and get the nutrients you need without consuming vitamin K. Your personal physician or specialist should be able to give you a detailed list both of foods you can have, and of those you must eliminate or limit. The list should also contain instructions on how to consume the foods. As always, if you take medications requiring you to restrict your diet, never introduce any new foods into your diet without first checking with your doctor.
Thanks you for visiting my hub! If you try out this recipe please let me know how it turned out. Do you like spinach? Do you hate spinach? Do you eat any veggies at all? I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these questions.