Sliding Spinach into Your Diet


How to take the green stuff from the food aisle and into your meals on a regular basis.

If you didn’t grow up eating much spinach, it may be difficult to find ways to toss it in your meals on a regular basis. However, as spinach is rich with vitamins C and A, as well as folate, calcium, iron, and magnesium, adding it to your dishes is a great way to boost your health today and well into the future.

Here are a few tasty and easy ways to make sure your diet is as spinach-centric as possible.

Slide It in Your Salad

This is by far the easiest way to pump spinach into your diet. All you have to do is find some fresh spinach leaves, toss them in a bowl along with your favorite salad additives (think tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots), finish it off with some healthy dressing, and voila! A delicious spinach-based salad that’ll tickle your taste buds and do your body good.

Want to give your immune system some help? Like having beautiful skin and hair? Then you better start sliding more spinach into your diet!

Slide It in Your Side Dish

All sorts of side dishes could benefit from a splash of spinach. Vegetable soup is an easy target, as is a plate of mixed vegetables. Simply cook the spinach to your liking (or don’t cook it at all!), toss it in your side dish of choice, and take heart knowing you’re doing a little something extra to maintain your good health today!

Slide It into Your Main Course

Now that you know how to slide spinach into your salads and side dishes, you’re ready to go to the next level: inserting salad into your main dish. Since this one takes a little more effort than the others, here is a recipe to get you on your way.

Spinach Lasagna with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup plain soymilk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 green (spring) onions, including tender green tops, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water and then drained and chopped
  • 10 ounces fresh cremini or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 12 no-boil spinach lasagna sheets, about 7 by 3 1/2 inches
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Directions

In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic and continue whisking until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in soymilk and stock together. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the green onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Set sauce aside.

In large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallot and sauté until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley and salt. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. In same pan, heat remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add spinach and stir quickly until the spinach is wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat together ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and the egg white. Stir in the spinach and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F). Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the dish and cover with 3 sheets of the pasta. Spoon half of the spinach mixture onto the pasta and spread gently. Cover with 3 more pasta sheets. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce. Spread the mushroom mixture on top and cover with another 1/2 cup of sauce, then another layer of pasta. Spoon in the remaining spinach filling and top with the last 3 pasta sheets. Add the remaining sauce and the remaining Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove foil and bake until golden, about 10 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil.

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