For Immediate Release
Simply Delicious” Recipes for Spinach
October 17, 2009
While Popeye may have overstated the nutritional benefits of eating spinach, the dark green leaves are definitely good for you, supplying high amounts of several vitamins and minerals. The United States Department of Agriculture advises Americans to weekly eat three cups of dark green vegetables such as broccoli, dark green leaf lettuce, kale, spinach and turnip greens, so most people would probably do well to eat more spinach. This year’s Pennsylvania “Simply Delicious, Simply Nutritious” Pennsylvania Vegetable Recipe Contest included three tasty spinach recipes as finalists in the leafy greens category.
According to the Wellness Encyclopedia fo Food and Nutrition (University of California at Berkeley), spinach contains high amounts of beta carotene, folacin, vitamin C and protein plus significant amounts of vitamins B6 and E, calicum, iron, magnesium and riboflavin.
Spinach is delicious both raw in salads or cooked in combination with other vegetables in soups and other dishes. Unfortunately, spinach traditionally was often boiled to death producing a gray-green mush that tasted as bad as it looked.
Fresh Pennsylvania spinach is available at farmers’ markets and roadside farm markets both in the spring from May to June and in the fall from September to October. Some growers are also producing spinach in unheated high tunnels in some of the cooler months since spinach grows well under cool conditions. Below are three spinach recipes from the 2009 Pennsylvania Vegetable Recipe Contest.
Spinach – Chicken Farfalla
8 oz. Farfalla Pasta
1 Chicken Breast – or 2 c. white meat chicken chopped into bite sized pieces
3T. Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic – chopped fine
1/2 c. Mushrooms – sliced
Salt and Pepper – to taste
1/4 c. Chicken Broth
6 oz. Spinach (or 3 c.) – fresh, washed and drained
4 oz. Feta Cheese
Parmesan Cheese – grated, to taste
Cook farfalla according to box directions to al dente stage. Drain and set aside.
Sauté chicken in oil until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove chicken from pan. If using whole breast; cut into bite sized pieces when cooked. Add garlic and sliced mushrooms to pan used to cook chicken. Sauté lightly being careful not to brown garlic. Add a small amount of oil if necessary to keep from sticking. When mushrooms are soft and golden, add washed spinach, salt and pepper. Return chicken and pasta to pan. Add 1/4 c. broth. Cover and cook on medium heat until spinach is wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour any remaining olive oil over hot pasta.
Add feta cheese over top and serve. (cheese will soften and melt in ) If desired sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
First Place Prize – Leafy Greens Category
Submitted by Kay Kahle, Seneca
Layered Spinach Salad
9 oz. Cheese Tortellini – refrigerated or frozen
2 c. Red Cabbage – shredded
6 c. Spinach – torn, fresh
2 c. Grape Tomatoes – halved
1/2 c. Green Onions – sliced
8 oz Ranch Salad Dressing – light
8 strips Bacon – cooked and crumbled (low sodium)
Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large glass bowl, layer the cabbage, spinach, tortellini, tomatoes and onions. Pour dressing over the top; sprinkle with bacon. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Finalist Recipe – Leafy Greens Category
Submitted by Kathy Rohrbaugh, Shrewsbury
Greek Spinach Pie
1 1/2 lbs. Spinach – fresh
4 T Olive Oil
1 Onion – large, finely chopped
1/2 c. Dill – fresh, finely chopped
1/2 c. Parsley – fresh, finely chopped
1 tsp. Salt
1/3 c. Milk
8 oz. Feta Cheese – crumbled
4 Eggs – large, beaten
1/2 lb. Butter – melted
16 sheets Filo Pastry (1 pound)
Wash the spinach well and chop roughly. Without adding any water, place the spinach in a pot and cook until wilted. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium flame. When hot, add the onions and cook until they are clear. Add the cooked spinach, dill, parsley and salt, and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid in the skillet has evaporated. Stir occasionally. Transfer the spinach to a bowl. When cool, mix in the milk, feta cheese and eggs. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375°F. With a pastry brush, coat the bottom and sides of a 10 x 14″ inch baking dish with melted butter. Line the dish with a sheet of filo and then brush the entire surface with melted butter. While working with the filo dough, cover the unused sheets with a slightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out. Repeat this process until you have used 8 sheets of filo in all. Spread the spinach mixture into the dish. Cover with the remaining 8 layers of filo following the same procedure as above. Brush the top layer with melted butter and bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool 15 minutes before cutting.
Finalist Recipe – Leafy Greens Category
Submitted by Julie Falsetti, York
Quick buying tips for Fresh Pennsylvania Spinach
The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program offers these tips when buying spinach:
— Select younger (smaller) crisp leaves with a solid green color.
— Avoid wilted, crushed, bruised, or yellowing leaves as well older leaves with thick stems.
— Refrigerate in a plastic bag.