Tuesday, 26 March 2019

3 Popeye-Approved Ways to Eat More Spinach

Spinach is super versatile and packed with nutrients, but most people aren’t fans of this leafy green. Here’s how to eat spinach, even when you’re not a fan.
“I’ll only eat spinach if it’s layered between sheets of phyllo pastry,” declared my friend Julie, apropos of nothing. A self-confessed foodie, she’s prone to making random gastronomic observations.
Over the years I’ve learnt not to expect context from her, but this time she caught me off guard.
Along with being nutritionally dense, spinach is a great source of phytoecdysteroids, a plant steroid that’s been proven to boost the metabolism and lower insulin levels. It’s also super versatile. What’s not to like?
“I don’t enjoy the taste,” she admitted, wrinkling her nose to make the point. After polling friends and colleagues (I stopped short of interrogating strangers), I discovered that most people agreed with Julie.
Unlike its grumpy cousin, kale—which has to be the least accommodating vegetable I’ve ever met—spinach is mild-mannered and easygoing. It plays nicely with pretty much everything, even peanut butter.
Today is National Spinach Day. What better day to change everyone’s opinion of this misunderstood dark, leafy green? Whichever side of the spinach fence you’re on, you’re sure to enjoy these Popeye-approved ways to eat spinach. 


The first step is learning how to buy spinach.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), federal data shows that conventionally grown spinach has more pesticide residues by weight than all other produce tested. That means when it comes to buying spinach, organic is best.
The best place to get your hands on fresh, organic spinach is at your local farmers market. It’s generally fresher than store-bought, and you’re more likely to avoid plastic packaging. Plus, you’re supporting small business.
When you get home, transfer your green goodies to an airtight container and place it in the fridge. Don’t wash the spinach until you’re ready to use it, as exposure to water can speed up decay.
Pro tip: Be sure to check out EWGDirty Dozen list to see which other non-organic fresh produce you should be avoiding.


You can do a lot more with spinach than just stir-frying it with potatoes (as tasty as that option is). You can add it to smoothies, juice it or use it jazz up your salads. Spinach makes a great addition to dhal or curry and works well as a baked potato topping.
You can steam it, sauté it or blend it into a dip. Make soup or bread or pasta with it. Some people have even been known to make spinach ice-cream. With so many ways to use fresh spinach, you’ll wonder why you didn’t fall in love with it sooner.

1. Green Smoothies for Breakfast (or Whenever)

A lot of people are put off by the idea of drinking something that’s green. The thing is, most of the time it doesn’t taste anything like you might imagine.
It all depends on the ingredients, but if you add things like almond milk, frozen banana, avocado and dates to the mix, you’re in for a creamy, sweet treat that’s jam-packed with nutritional goodness.
This beginner’s guide to green smoothies will get you started, if you’re new to the idea of drinking your leafy greens. If you’re already on board and just looking for fresh inspiration, give these delicious green smoothies a try.

2. Superfood Salads to Wow

Because spinach is so unassuming, eating it raw in a salad is another great way to get more of this leafy goodness in your diet. Use it in place of lettuce in a traditional summer salad or chop it up and add it to quinoa or couscous for a hearty winter salad.
From there, all that’s left to do is add whatever other seasonal produce you have on hand and choose a vegan salad dressing. That’s the great thing about salad: you can do just about anything you like and the result will still be tasty.
A lot of folks are suspicious of mixing fruit and veggies, for example, but one mouthful of this strawberry spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette and you’ll more than likely change your mind. (Conventionally grown strawberries are yet again at the top of the Dirty Dozen list, so make sure you choose organic.)

3. Baking With Spinach

If you’re really struggling with the idea of eating your greens, you can always follow my friend Julie’s example and bake your spinach. Try your hand at making vegan spanakopita (the well-known Greek pie made with phyllo pastry). If you’re more of a puff pastry fan (me too!), this chickpea spinach pie will have you salivating.
Don’t limit yourself to the oven, though. The next time you’re wondering what to make for brunch, have a go at these spinach crepes. Filled with sauteed mushrooms and drizzled with a creamy tahini sauce, you’ll win your friends over in spite of the color. (Or because of it—you never know.)
Keen for something a little sweeter? Give these spinach banana muffins a go. You could serve them with vegan cheesetofu scramble or just enjoy them as an on-the-go snack.

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