When I was younger I was told to eat my spinach so I would grow up to be big and strong (like Popeye). It wasn’t till I was older that I realized how true that statement was and how much power spinach really has. Learning more about this Superfood and all the health and beauty benefits it provides, I’ve made a real effort to include it more in my diet. This leafy green vegetable is full of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients. Did you know that “one cup of spinach contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamin K and vitamin A, almost all the manganese and folate your body needs and nearly 40 percent of your magnesium requirement. Vitamin A is especially important for promoting healthy skin (like preventing wrinkles and improving acne) and is an excellent source of more than 20 different measurable nutrients, including dietary fiber, calcium and protein.” I’d say that spinach is definitely one of the superheros in Superfoods.
Now I am not a huge fan of eating raw spinach on its own (though a lot of people love a good spinach salad), so I have found a few creative ways to make sure I get my daily dose. Here are a few tasty recipes that I love to get more nutrient-rich spinach into my day.
Simple Sautéed Spinach:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (coconut oil is my #1 preference)
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 20 ounces fresh spinach (see note)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add spinach and toss to coat. Cover and cook until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper. Toss to coat and serve immediately.
*Weights & Measures:
- 10 ounces trimmed mature spinach=about 10 cups raw
- 10 ounces baby spinach=about 8 cups raw
Cheese and Spinach stuffed Portobellos:
- 4 large Portobello mushroom caps
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped kalamata olives
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce
oven to 450°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray (I use coconut oil)
- Place mushroom caps, gill-side up, on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mash ricotta, spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan, olives, Italian seasoning and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Place marinara sauce in a small bowl, cover and microwave on High until hot, 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes.
- When the mushrooms are tender, carefully pour out any liquid accumulated in the caps. Return the caps to the pan gill-side up. Spread 1 tablespoon marinara into each cap; cover the remaining sauce to keep warm. Mound a generous 1/3 cup ricotta filling into each cap and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake until hot, about 10 minutes. Serve with the remaining marinara sauce.
Smoothies and Baked goods: Last the #1 way I love to add more spinach to my diet is in my morning shakes and baking. First off, I add a handful of either raw or frozen spinach to my smoothie. You can easily buy frozen spinach at the super market that comes in cubes, making it easy to drop a few in your shake. I usually mix it with chocolate protein powder, frozen berries and almond/coconut milk. You won’t be able to taste it and being frozen gives your shake an icy consistency. As for baking, you can add it to any cookie, loaf, or muffin recipe. I also do the same with zucchini and always make sure to add some nuts.
As you can see these are just a few ways I incorporate spinach into my daily meals. It’s really quite simple and the health benefits are incredible. Along with other vegetables and fruits, I try to buy organic whenever possible.
What is your favorite way to add spinach into your diet?
Would love to hear your recipes
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