Spinach may make its way into your kitchen if you are trying to lose weight, or get any number of health benefits. Using Lark may make you even more gung-ho about using this superfood, with iron, folate, and fiber. If you have good intentions for healthy eating, and you have spinach on hand, there is just one remaining question: what can you do with it?
No matter what your tastes are, and how skilled (or unskilled) of a cook you are, there are ways to use spinach that can work for you. There is no need to let that pile of spinach wilt – and if it starts to wilt, you can salvage it in a delicious recipe.
Spinach may be ready to use out of the bag, or you may need to rinse it if the package says to do so. If you purchase fresh spinach in bunches, you need to wash it carefully because a lot of mud and dirt can be hiding among the leaves. Remaining dirt will make your dish gritty.
It is okay to use frozen spinach in any cooked recipes. It is a staple that you can keep in your freezer. Just thaw the package before adding it to the recipes. Use ½ cup of frozen spinach per 2 cups of fresh spinach leaves.
What To Do With Too Much Spinach
The truth is that spinach can go into almost anything (hello, chocolate spinach cake!). The following ideas are a starting point. Try the ones that sound good to you, and use them as inspiration as you figure out what to do with your next batch of spinach.
1. Spinach Pesto Pasta
This one can be vegan if you like, or you can toss it with shrimp or chicken. The pesto sauce has spinach, pine nuts, cashews, or other nuts, basil, soy, almond, or regular milk, lemon juice, and sea salt. It is pulsed in a food processor, then served over cooked whole-grain pasta.
- 1 bunch/10 ounces spinach
- 3 garlic cloves (coarsely chopped)
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon of fresh basil (chopped)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese (or to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Time needed: 25 minutes.
Spinach Pesto Sauce
- Prepare spinach
Wash spinach, then remove any stems on a cutting board. Chop leaves coarsely. You should have 4-6 cups cups of packed leaves (7 ounces weighed)
Combine 1 cup of spinach, garlic, pine nuts, basil, and a few teaspoons of olive oil into a food processor. Continue until leaves look crushed, then add remaining spinach in small handfuls with a small amount of oil until blended.
- Add ingredients
Add parmesan cheese and salt to taste. Continue to blend until smooth.
- Serve on pasta of choice!
Choose your favorite whole wheat, gluten free, or plain pasta and serve
2. Low-Carb Spinach Lasagna
Mmm….cheesy! Still, this recipe is healthy, as it is low in fat, high in protein, and high in fiber. It is also a great way to use up to 12 ounces of fresh spinach – that is a lot! Blend reduced-fat cottage cheese with some marinara sauce, and add drained, cooked spinach. Then add layers of tomato sauce, slices of cooked eggplant, parmesan cheese, and cottage cheese-spinach mixture, and repeat until ingredients are used up. Top with whole-wheat breadcrumbs and more parmesan, and bake.
3. Spinach Pizza
Spinach pizza can be made in minutes and it does not seem like a health food. Just spread tomato or pizza sauce on whole-grain English muffin halves or a pita, add spinach, and top with mozzarella cheese. Then put on your favorite toppings, such as sliced olives, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and diced cooked chicken breast. Toast or bake the pizza until the cheese is melted. Using a portobello mushroom instead of pita or English muffin halves for the base gives you a low-carb version.
4. Spinach White Bean Soup
Anything can go into soup, including a lot of spinach. Spinach can easily go into any soup, but bean soup is especially high in plant-based protein, fiber, and potassium. Cook onions, celery, and carrots in olive oil, and add low-sodium broth, any kinds of dried beans you like, and spinach. Let it cook until the beans are soft, and enjoy! Adding a turkey leg early in the cooking can flavor the soup even more.
5. Spinach Artichoke Dip
Everyone is familiar with spinach artichoke dip, but may be hesitant to make it trying to eat more healthily. Cooked or raw spinach, cooked artichoke hearts, lemon juice, sea salt, garlic, and black pepper turn into a creamy, healthy dip when you blend them with heart-healthy avocados instead of cream cheese, sour cream, or mayo.
6. Mediterranean Oatmeal
Savory oatmeal may be one of the all-time most underrated breakfasts or anytime meals. To make two servings of Mediterranean oatmeal, cook a cup of cauliflower or broccoli in 2 cups of low-sodium broth. Add 1 cup of oatmeal and cook for 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup of fresh spinach and cook for another minute. Divide into two bowls and top each with 1 ounce of feta cheese, a sprinkle of oregano, and a dash of olive oil.
7. Salmon Berry Salad
Spinach salads can be so delicious that we had to include at least one. This one is balanced and can be an easy, fresh meal in itself. Just toss baby spinach with blueberries or blackberries, halved grape tomatoes, diced red onion, sunflower seeds, and cooked chicken or tofu. Top it with balsamic vinaigrette from a bottle or made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, dijon mustard, and a ½ teaspoon of honey.
8. Spinach Superfood Bowl
If eating one superfood is good, eating a wealth of them is better. Having them in one easy, delicious meal is best of all. A “bowl” really is just a bunch of ingredients that go into a bowl for a quick meal. A few foods to add to a bowl of spinach are cooked beets, edamame (green soybeans), cooked salmon, quinoa, and blueberries.
9. Spinach Turkey Meatloaf
Using lean ground turkey instead of ground beef, oats or whole-wheat flour instead of crackers or breadcrumbs, and extra vegetables. Bonus points if you want to make your own ketchup with tomato paste, vinegar, allspice, sweetener such as stevia, water, and sea salt. Mix ground turkey with oats or flour, ketchup, fresh or frozen spinach, and other chopped vegetables such as onions, celery, and mushrooms. Top with ketchup and bake until turkey is thoroughly cooked.
10. Crustless or Whole-Wheat Spinach Feta Pie
The flour and baking powder are optional here, so you can skip them if you are on a low-carb or paleo diet. The pie is good on its own, or you can eat it on whole-grain toast or in a whole-wheat tortilla or wrap. Combine beaten eggs with salt and pepper and, if you want, ½-cup whole-wheat flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Pour over a mixture of chopped green onions, chopped mint, oregano, olive oil, and feta cheese, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and bake until the eggs are set.
11. Baked Spinach Spaghetti
This one is family-friendly and easy. Cooking onions and grated carrots or zucchini, diced bell peppers, or sliced mushrooms, and adding the vegetables along with spinach to homemade or canned low-sugar tomato sauce, can help the kids get a wealth of veggies without noticing. Toss the sauce with cooked whole-wheat spaghetti, plus (optionally) shrimp, chicken, or ground turkey meatballs, and top with a thin layer of grated mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and then bake until cheese is melted. Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles (zoodles) can be substitutes for spaghetti.
12. Mexican Eggs and Spinach
Spinach goes so well with eggs that it is hard to choose just one recipe. This one starts by cooking diced onions, crushed garlic, and chile peppers (optional) in olive oil, then adding fresh tomatoes, spinach, canned black beans, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and cooking until the tomatoes are soft and the spinach is wilted. Add eggs or egg whites, and keep cooking until the eggs are cooked through. Serve with avocado, cilantro, and/or shredded cheddar or jack cheese.
13. Spinach “Ice Cream”
Frozen chunks of very ripe bananas can be the base of a health substitute for ice cream. Pureeing them with spinach and mango or pineapple yields a delicious dessert with no added sugar. Peanuts and walnuts make a great topping, and you can add cinnamon or cocoa powder for extra flavor.
14. Chocolate Cake
As promised, spinach can even go into chocolate cake. Just add chopped fresh spinach leaves to the wet ingredients. To make your cake healthier, substitute whole-wheat flour for half of the white flour, and use sour cream instead of butter.