I have to admit, since kale and chard have become superfoods, I have forgotten about spinach. It’s not that I stopped liking the leafy green; it’s just that it stopped being trendy so it moved off my radar.
I swapped my spinach and roasted red pepper omelette for a bacon and kale scramble; traded in my spinach pesto for a chard chimichurri; I forgot all about spinach, strawberry, and blue cheeses salads and could only focus on massaging hearty greens to transform them into caesar salad.
Well, it’s time to return to spinach. Once known as the “prince of vegetables,” this green stands out as being a perfect addition to eggs, an excellent counterpart to rich pasta sauces, and its subtle, bitter-sweet taste unforgettable when slightly wilted in some bacon fat.
Raw, blanched, wilted, pureed, or sautéed, it’s time for spinach to have its return to the limelight.
Substitute blanched spinach for basil in your favorite pesto recipe, or follow the recipe below. Blanching removes that slightly bitter bite and sets the color to a vibrant, bright green. Make sure to squeeze out all the excess water to prevent dulling the flavors of the pesto. I especially like the combination of spinach with toasted walnuts, as opposed to the more expensive and typical pine nuts.
Makes 2 cups
2 cups blanched spinach
1 cup toasted walnuts (or any nut of your choosing)
2 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the spinach, walnuts, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse until well combined. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto becomes smooth and has a spreadable consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If you prefer a more pungent pesto, add additional garlic or throw in some chili flakes.
Toss this pesto with your favorite pasta, either hot as a main dish or cold to make pasta salad. It is also excellent as a sandwich spread or gently folded into some scrambled eggs. Sometimes, when I’m feeling lazy, I serve this pesto with toasted bread and a pile of sliced prosciutto and call it dinner.
Leftovers can easily be portioned out (in ice cube trays, small jars, or plastic containers) and frozen for up to a year.
sweet tomato dressing for spinach salad:
1 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C White balsamic
1/4 C Red wine vinegar
1T Worstechire Sauce
2 ( or more to taste) T Honey, slightly heated
2 Cloves Garlic , minced
Blend all with an immersion blender or whisk
Serve with Orich Spinach, Red onion (caramelized or raw) mushrooms,Chopped egg, Bacon, ham or salted nuts.
Blog credit: Lindsay Mattison