I finally understand Popeye’s infatuation with spinach when I fell in love with the most adorable baby spinach leaves two years ago. (Of course, I grew up hearing Popeye and others blab about how fabulous spinach is for one’s health but I was young and never took them on seriously). Anyways, this spurred my interest at a time when I was being introduced to the low fodmap diet. Nevertheless, I went into recipe research mode. I also began to include it in my diet and enlist this super food in my recovery diary. I believe in food care versus pharmaceutical care. This means I prefer the farmacy versus the pharmacy on any given day. However, this is solely my opinion. In some instances advanced medical care is needed and the only functional treatment for some illnesses are from the pharmaceutical industry. Nonetheless, I highly recommend a super food diet for anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. My mantra is based on personal experience and it still states that healthy eating equals a healthy body and mind. You can see for yourself the nutritional breakdown for spinach below.
Spinach – The Breakdown
Spinach is made up of protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, C, K, beta-carotene, chlorophyll and folate. It is also high in fiber and water content. Spinach also contains alpha lipoic acid which is an antioxidant . Spinach helps to manage diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity. Its green properties help prevent cancer. It lowers the risk of asthma. A clean green diet helps lower blood pressure levels and the green leafy spinach helps to do just that. It increases bone health with its calcium absorption properties. It reduces constipation by helping to regulate bowel movements. Spinach has vitamin properties to nourish hair and skin health naturally. Basically, these finds suggest infinite benefits for a healthier body and mind.
My Spinach Recipes
Traditional Trinidad and Tobago cuisine includes spinach. Local recipes are available everywhere. There are different kinds of spinach in our local environment. Most people affectionately call it “bhagi”. They eat it with their sada roti for breakfast or dinner. At other times they eat it with dhal and rice. Spinach is also prepackaged at the supermarket with other vegetables for the chef who wants to “bubble a pot” of callaloo. In most homes the callaloo soup is plated with provisions, dumplings, macaroni pie or white rice and a side of cooked crabs, pig tail or even salted cod . I cook some of these recipes at times but I love gourmet so much that I always try to up the ante in the kitchen (I love to get creative).
This salad is great for breakfast, brunch and lunch. You can add what you like and break some rules or bend them as these recipes are always being innovated in my kitchen.
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1/8 cup dried cranberries
- 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/8 cup dried blueberries
- 1/8 cup walnuts
- 1/2 apple
- Wash spinach leaves and drain off excess water
- Add the drained leaves to a plate
- Wash and drain off excess water from cranberries and blueberries
- Sprinkle the berries over the spinach
- Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the spinach
- Chop the walnuts and sprinkle them over the spinach
- Thinly slice the half apple
- Add the sliced apple to the plated spinach
- You can add cooked chicken if you eat meat ( I don’t eat meat so I always omit the chicken).
- You can also leave off the nuts if you are allergic to them.
Spinach Potato Pie
- 6 potatoes
- 3 cups of baby spinach
- 3 red pimentos
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 cups cheese
- 1 cup corn
- 1 cup milk
- Wash, peel and wash potatoes again
- Cube them and add them to a pot of boiling water
- Cover and allow to cook on lowest heat
- Grease a baking tray
- Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Wash the spinach, drain off excess water and chop roughly
- Wash and chop pimentos
- Wash and chop celery stalks finely
- Heat a skillet at the lowest temperature on your stove
- Add the tablespoon of oil
- Allow the oil to get a little heated
- Add the chopped celery and pimentos
- Stir occasionally for about one minute
- Add the drained and chopped spinach to the skillet
- Toss the spinach in the oil with the celery and pimentos
- Cover the skillet with a lid and allow to cook for three minutes (tossing occasionally)
- The spinach should not stick to pan or get burnt
- It is ready when the majority of it has shrunk and appears cooked and dark green
- Test the potatoes with a fork as they should be ready after half hour or forty five minutes of boiling
- Drain off excess water from boiled potatoes
- Add boiled potatoes to a bowl and smash them
- Add two cups cheese, the milk and mash them together
- Add the corn and cooked spinach to the potato mash
- Continue mixing and mashing the new mixture
- Add this new mixture to the baking tray and spread evenly
- Sprinkle leftover cheese over the surface of the spinach pie
- Bake for half hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit or until golden brown on bottom and top layer of the pie. (I used a glass dish so I could easily tell when the pie started to become golden brown)
- If you are lactose intolerant then you can use coconut milk and cashew cheese.
- You can serve this with some lentils and fish or chicken or whatever tickles your fancy.
I hope these spinach recipes keep you hearty, happy and healthy!