Spinach is a super-food cliche for a reason. It’s packed with vitamins A, C, folate, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. It’s a versatile, delicious way to add extra nutrition to all kinds of recipes. Sure, you can use it as a salad base, but there are tons of other ways to work it into your diet. Here are 5 ways to get you started:
1. With Eggs
Spinach and eggs are a classic combo with endless variations. Whichever route you go, it’s a great way to fill up on veggies and protein—not to mention flavor. Here’s an easy frittata recipe you can enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Spinach & Goat Cheese Frittata
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into half-moons
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 2/3 cups goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup liquid egg whites
- salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and shallot. Cook until garlic is soft and shallot is translucent.
3. Add zucchini. Cook until soft.
4. Wilt in spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Transfer veggie mixture into a baking dish.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set in the middle. Allow to sit 10 minutes before slicing.
2. In Meatballs
Spinach is a cinch to incorporate into foods like burgers and meatballs. You can use fresh or thawed from frozen—either way, just make sure it’s chopped up really well.
- 1 lb 98% lean ground turkey
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup rolled or instant oats
- ½ small onion, diced clove garlic, diced
- ½ cup frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
- ¼ cup liquid egg whites or 1 egg
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Mix turkey, cheese, oats, onion, garlic, spinach, egg white, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
3. Form into small balls (about 30).
4. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes, turning once partway through.
Serve with your favorite pasta or, for a lower-carb alternative, with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. Meatballs are also delicious over salad.
3. With Garlic & Olive Oil
Spinach and other leafy greens are delicious cooked with garlic and olive oil. Red pepper flakes add a tiny bit of heat. Enjoy this with fish or meat or in a pasta dish. It’s also great mixed with beans and topped with a poached egg.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 oz spinach, trimmed and rinsed
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
2. Add spinach. Cook until wilted. Season with red pepper flakes, sea salt, and pepper.
4. In a Smoothie
Spinach blends well in smoothies because its flavor and texture are barely noticeable, and your body will appreciate the nutrient boost. This smoothie is a quick and delicious way to make a dent in your fruit and veggie needs for the day.
Tropical Spinach Smoothie
- 1 cup plain kefir
- ½ cup frozen mango chunks
- ½ frozen banana
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
- 1 cup ice
- 1 large handful baby spinach
1. Layer ingredients in a blender, starting with kefir. Blend until smooth.
2. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
5. In Pancake Batter
For a weird-is-good healthy twist on breakfast (or breakfast for dinner), try spinach puree in pancake batter. This 3-ingredient recipe comes together quickly and requires minimal clean-up. Just note cooking time may be slightly longer than traditional pancakes. Enjoy with sweet or savory flavors.
Basic 3-Ingredient Pancake
- 1 small sweet potato, roasted
- 2 eggs (or ½ cup liquid egg whites)
- 1 cup raw spinach
- spices (ex: cinnamon for sweet, salt & pepper for savory)
- oil or butter for cooking
1. Scoop flesh out of sweet potato.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine, sweet potato, eggs, spinach, and spices. Blend until smooth.
3. Heat griddle pan over medium heat and add oil or butter.
4. Spoon ¼ cup of mixture onto griddle for each pancake. Allow to cook 5 or so minutes. Note that pancakes will not bubble as traditional pancakes do.
5. Flip and cook another 3 to 5 minutes.
Serve topped with plain Greek yogurt and cinnamon or your favorite nut butter. For savory flavors, enjoy topped with tahini or with a quarter of an avocado, sliced.
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian, health coach, and writer with a passion for helping others experience a happier, calmer life and a balanced relationship with food. For those in need of some healthy-eating inspiration, Jess created five day's worth of delicious make-ahead lunches to make it even easier to eat well on a busy day. For more information on Jess, check out her website and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
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