Celebrate National Spinach-Lovers' Month With These Recipes

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SpinachAs the summer weather fades into fall, it's the perfect season for spinach, a leafy green that adores cooler temperatures. October is National Spinach-Lovers' Month, and what better time to celebrate than by trying a spinach-based recipe? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Appetizers

Ganga108 of A Life (Time) of Cooking combined miso, soy, spinach and tofu to create Spinach and Tofu Napoleons to celebrate her daughter passing the bar exam. Not only does this starter sound lovely, but her description of the preparation and the eating of the dish made me want to run immediately to the kitchen.

It was the first time that we had made this dish. We cook together often and we have a wonderful kitchen dance, as we call it. Even in the tiniest of spaces, we who both love the touch and smell of our ingredients, can operate without bumping into each other, almost knowing instinctively what the other is thinking, what the other is doing.

She served this dish to the gathering family and all went silent as we ate, tasted, could not get the words from our tastebuds to our brain to our mouths. Silent eating, always the mark of a great dish.

Other appetizers to try:

Soups

Shannalee of Food Loves Writing is a converted spinach lover, and pairs the story of how she came to enjoy this leafy green with her recipe for homemade Cream of Spinach Soup.

So first things first, this is a spinach soup. Spinach is one of those things—along with tomatoes, asparagus, parmesan cheese and pecans—that I had to grow to enjoy. I liked Popeye as much as the next kid (although maybe not as much as my mom, who calls the real-life movie version her favorite), but even he didn’t make me want to eat leafy vegetables.

Instead, spinach and I grew together slowly, beginning in my late teens or early twenties with dishes that almost hid the spinach content, such as spinach-artichoke dip, which is filled with enough cream cheese and other things to make your forget your name, let alone what you’re eating. Then I think I moved towards fresh spinach in salads, sometime after I learned iceberg lettuce has basically no nutritional value and back when I tried to eat strictly “healthy” things for a while. Somewhere along the line, spinach kind of sneaked up on me as a faithful friend. It was almost as if one day, I realized I actually thought spinach was delicious, that most things I’d tried it in were things I liked eating. And now, I’ll be darned if I don’t like it steamed or boiled or cooked up into some sort of quiche or frittata. In fact, you could say, if it’s got spinach, I’m in.

Other soups to try:

Salads

Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen has a recipe for Spinach Salad with Bacon and Feta that is designed for one, but it can be multiplied easily for more diners. If you're worried about the amount of saturated fat in the bacon, Kalyn suggests substituting Canadian Bacon instead.

Other salads to try:

Main Dishes

From Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks comes a healthy and satisfying Spinach Rice Gratin recipe that can be made ahead and frozen in either a full-size pan or individual ramekins.

I threw this together the other night using a bunch of things I had on hand - brown rice, spinach, black olives, crumbled tofu, a bit of cheese, pine nuts, and a few eggs. It's the kind of thing you could prep in advance and pop in the oven anytime it's convenient. In short, I tossed all the ingredients together in a big bowl, turned them out into a baking dish, and after a thirty minute stint in the oven sat down to a hearty plate of baked rice flecked with spinach. The top bakes into a golden cheese crust made even better with a generous sprinkling of black olives, red onions, and toasted pine nuts.

Other main dishes to try:

What are your favorite spinach recipes? Share them in the comments below!

Genie blogs about gardening and food at The Inadvertent Gardener, and tells very short tales at 100 Proof Stories. 

Photo Credit: Genie Gratto

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