Your Best Ideas for Spinach

April 2, 2012

spinach
Photo by Joseph De Leo; styled by Mariya Yufest

Famed cartoon character Popeye introduced generations of Americans to the health wonders of spinach. It’s a shame he never tried it fresh! Lucky for us, spinach season is under way and there's no better time to enjoy it.

Originating in ancient Persia, spinach made its way from Nepal to China in the 7th century and then to Europe in the 11th century before landing in the U.S around 230 years ago. From the same family as beets and Swiss chard, spinach’s jade colored leaves, barely bitter flavor, and delicate texture make it a widely appealing addition to a range of recipes.

Salads bring out the sweetness in raw baby spinach, and ingredients such as walnuts and slices of apple or pear are often added to provide crunch, which the soft leaves lack. And even though cooking spinach dramatically reduces its volume, sautés, soups, pastas, and more complex dishes like spanakopita (literally "spinach pie"), benefit from the slippery stems, now more concentrated with flavor.

How do you serve these versatile leaves? Share your favorite ways to enjoy spinach in the comments section below. Remember, if you choose to upload a recipe (and we hope you will), please mention it in your comment.

We'll assemble and share some of our favorite ideas next week.

spinaci alla genovese spinach gratin
Photos by Nicole Franzen (left) and Sarah Shatz

Recipes

Wilted Spinach with Lemon and Pine Nuts
Grilled Pizza with Spinach and Ricotta Salata
Farro and Herb Pilaf with Sausage, Mushrooms and Spinach
Baked Chicken with Spinach, Pears and Blue Cheese
Spinach Gratin [FOOD52] (pictured above, right)
Spinaci alla Genovese [FOOD52] (pictured above, left)

For more spring produce inspiration, check out our previous topic, Your Best Ideas for Peanuts, and the selection of your best tips and recipes, How to Use Peanuts.

8 Comments Add a Comment
  • 290

    aargersi says: I forgot to mention spinach pesto! http://boulder.wholefoodsmarketcooking.com/recipes/11285_creamy_spinach_and_pecan_pesto

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »
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    JaydeeNC says: I love spinach in a green monster smoothie. Mixed with some Kefir, strawberries, banana, and blueberries, you would never in a million years know that such a yummy treat has spinach in it.

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »
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    erin0112 says: my favorite use for spinach is in a green smoothie. the spinach blends perfectly--it's very creamy and the flavor is great. i also love to throw a big bunch of spinach into veggie/bean soup. add about 5 minutes before serving and you've boosted the nutritional value of your soup a ton!

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »
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    Deanne says: We make a Shrimp, Leek, and Spinach Risotto recipe (and even throw in some scallops for good measure). Very easy to make and it is delicious! We started making this when my youngest was 2 and oldest was 4. They have both gobbled it up for years!

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »
  • 290

    aargersi says: I scramble it into my eggs in the morning probably 5 days a week - lots of greens first thing starts the day off right!

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »
  • Maddy-macau-robuchon

    Maddy is the senior editor of Whole Foods Market Cooking.

    Maddy, Editor says: So with you on morning greens, aargersi! I also like spinach blended with frozen berries, flax seed, and coconut milk (from the carton, not can) for a quick drinkable breakfast. It's pretty money wilted on breakfast sandwiches, too.

    over 2 years ago
  • 290

    aargersi says: Oh that sounds good! I will try it!

    over 2 years ago
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    cbarber15 says: YUM! Love spinach. I just uploaded a delicious and easy recipe for bacon, egg, and spinach salad. It's great as a brunch or dinner recipe!

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »

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