Whether you buy it frozen to add to hot meals or buy it fresh to toss in salads, spinach is available and affordable all year long. It’s also packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making it a nutritious choice. Even if you serve it creamed or smothered in cheese, it’s still a veggie powerhouse under all the richness.
We’re always looking for ways to get more greens into our diets, and spinach really does make it easy. Keep reading to learn more about what makes spinach worth eating, along with five recipes featuring spinach that we hope you’ll try.
All About Spinach
The unmistakable dark green leaves of spinach are full of chlorophyll and other phytochemicals such as carotenoids. While the concept of a “superfood” is scientifically dubious, multiple studies have confirmed the health benefits of these phytochemicals. Spinach also contains Vitamins A, C, and K1, plus folic acid, calcium, and iron. Whether you eat it raw or cooked, all the insoluble fiber in spinach makes it good for digestion too.
Like all leafy vegetables, spinach should be washed and dried thoroughly before eating. You can wash and dry fresh spinach, and then toss it in a freezer-safe plastic bag to freeze. But it’s just as easy to grab a box or bag of frozen spinach at the supermarket, and it’s an economical option too. We often buy bags or containers of fresh baby spinach to give ourselves the option of eating it raw or cooked. However, if you know you’ll be chopping spinach and adding it to a hot meal, we recommend saving time by buying frozen spinach.
While kids may find the taste of spinach rather intense when presented alone, either sautéed or in a salad, they often don’t mind it in soups or stews. We’re confident that kids will be willing to try these five recipes we’ve gathered.
Spinach Recipes: Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast
Spinach pairs perfectly with cheese, whether mild like mozzarella or pungent like feta. This recipe from Cooktoria combines chopped fresh spinach with both of these varieties of cheese, plus cream cheese, as stuffing for chicken breasts. The stuffing adds flavor and moisture to the baked chicken. Simply slice into each breast as if you were going to make them into cutlets, but leave the other side intact. Then stuff equal portions of the spinach-cheese mixture inside. We think it’s ingenious to secure the chicken with toothpicks to help prevent the stuffing from leaking out in the oven, but be sure to remove them before serving.
Another reason to try this recipe is that you can turn the rest of your bag of fresh spinach into a salad to accompany your stuffed chicken. You can also serve the chicken over a bed of brown rice to help round out your meal.
Spinach Recipes: Spinach, Tomato, and Garlic Tortellini Soup
We love all the variations of brothy tortellini soup in the vast universe of recipes. Most kids love them too, making tortellini soup an ideal family dinner. This versatile recipe is ripe for customization, depending on what’s in your pantry or on sale at the grocery store. You can use homemade chicken stock, or store-bought vegetable broth if you want to keep it vegetarian. Blanch, peel, and core fresh tomatoes when they’re in season, or use a canned variety for convenience. Add meatballs or browned ground beef or turkey.
This recipe from Cooking Classy features fresh spinach and refrigerated tortellini, and we prefer those over frozen spinach and frozen tortellini in soup ourselves. Bear in mind that tortellini doesn’t reheat well; it continues to absorb broth and becomes limp and soggy. This recipe makes seven servings of soup, so if you’re cooking for fewer people, cut it in half to avoid ending up with leftovers. While we don’t often think of making soup in the summer, this one is a good option to keep in mind. It doesn’t simmer on your stovetop for long, so it won’t overheat your kitchen, and ingredients like fresh tomatoes and basil are readily available in the summer.
Spinach Recipes: Saag Paneer
Saag paneer is one of our go-to Indian takeout dishes, so we’re looking forward to recreating it at home with this recipe from Aarti Sequeira on Food Network. Don’t be nervous about the details of this dish. One of the reasons we’re featuring this particular recipe is the step-by-step guidance Sequeira includes to help keep you on track. We also like how it calls for frozen spinach, which saves time too.
While we’d use store-bought garam masala instead of making our own, we’re eager to try making a batch of paneer, or Indian cheese. The instructions are clear and simple, and it doesn’t take much time. As for the rest of this recipe, we’d make sure to have all of our ingredients prepped and ready to go in advance. Be sure to read and re-read the recipe before you get started; Sequeira notes a few points at which you might want to add water as you cook. We’d recommend having a small liquid measuring cup filled with water nearby, along with a teaspoon. Finally, to make your homemade Indian feast complete, cook some Basmati rice and pick up some naan.
Spinach Recipes: Spinach and Gruyere Quiche
We already mentioned how well spinach goes with cheese. It’s also a good match for eggs, such as in this spinach quiche from Once Upon a Chef. Spinach dishes are often called “Florentine,” which we discovered originated with Catherine de Medici. She was the Italian wife of French King Henry II, and she characterized spinach dishes as “Florentine” to honor her Italian heritage, like Quiche Florentine -- spinach quiche.
For such a fancy-sounding dish, this recipe is wonderfully straightforward. The key is not to skimp on the heavy cream and Gruyere cheese. Don’t leave out the nutmeg or cayenne pepper either; these small amounts of seasoning have a big impact on flavor. Watch the shallots carefully when cooking them in butter. The goal is to soften them, not to brown them. We especially love the helpful tips for defrosting and drying the frozen spinach with a fine mesh strainer. We’ll echo Jenn’s warning to be sure the spinach is fully dry before adding it to the quiche. Moist spinach leads to soggy quiche, and not even heavy cream can make up for that.
Spinach Recipes: Spinach Salad With Roasted Vegetables and Apricots
Spinach salad is a classic way to enjoy these leafy greens, but we tend to prefer spinach salads that contain a variety of ingredients to keep the taste interesting. Try this recipe from Bon Appetit that incorporates roasted vegetables, dried apricots, and homemade vinaigrette. You can roast the vegetables as they instruct, or you can pick and choose among your favorite vegetables and roast them. The mustard vinaigrette dressing looks delicious, and we always prefer homemade salad dressing over bottled ones. Dried apricots can be on the expensive side. Chop them into smaller bits to make the most of these nuggets of sweetness and evenly distribute them throughout your salad.
You can use either baby spinach or mature leaves, but we’d recommend chopping those larger, heartier spinach leaves into smaller bite-sized pieces. The vinaigrette won’t drown either of these fresh spinach options. We’d still recommend waiting to dress each salad individually though, rather than drizzling it over the entire serving bowl.