Trick AND Treat with Homemade Spinach Powder
I am always trying to come up with ways to make food healthier. Even healthy food. I increasingly want to push the envelope to see what I can conjure up. The problem with some recipes is that the healthier you try and make them, the more "healthy" they taste. We all understand what the meaning of "tastes healthy" is right? Here's an example: When I first started experimenting with vegan food several years ago, I wanted to make cookies. They came out ok, but definitely didn't taste like a fresh baked normal cookie. I was proud of them (and slightly defensive...) because they were good for me, and while I wanted so badly for someone else to like them, something about them was just, well, off. I think my coworker actually used the term 'horse treats' to describe the flavor. She was right, they did taste like horse treats. They tasted too "healthy."
Over the years I have definitely refined my recipes to be healthy, without tasting "healthy." So in my quest to amp up the good-for-you-ness of what goes into my mouth, I have decided to trick myself...and others. Yep, that's right, good ol'fashioned trickery. There are many different ways you can add things to your food, not taste it, and get amazing benefits for your body. One such ingredient is spinach powder. Spinach is full of Omega-3 not to mention a slew of other great nutritional benefits. For more info on the benefits of this green wonder-food, click here. When added to the right recipe, it goes virtually un-noticed. If you think about it, there are so many places we could add a dash of spinach powder...to our breadings, muffins, eggs, smoothies, noodles, even dark chocolate fudgy brownies. That's right. I said brownies. Are you drooling yet? I am :)
The only problem I have found with spinach powder is the price and availability.While you can buy most anything exotic at the health food store, I have yet to find spinach powder at any of my local retailers. The price can get also get very expensive and you don't always know if there are any preservatives added to it. Fortunately because it is so concentrated, you don't have to use very much to get the health benefits. One tablespoon of spinach powder is equivalent to about 98 grams of spinach, which is about one third to half a bag of fresh spinach. Something I love about spinach powder is how cheap and easy it is to make! I usually will wait until fresh spinach goes on sale by one get one free and then make it in batches. With halloween right around the corner, I think I will trick and treat myself to some wholesome sneaky spinach foods.
What you'll need:
1 bag pre-washed spinach (preferably organic if it's available)
Preservative free olive oil spray
Magic Bullet or coffee grinder (optional)
Spray dehydrator trays with a light coating of olive oil spray. You can skip this step, but your spinach may be harder to remove at the end of dehydration and cleanup isn't as fun either.
Open bag of regular sized spinach leaves (pre-washed).
Place leaves overlapping on dehydrator trays. I can usually fit one bag of spinach throughout the entire dehydrator by spacing the leaves out on the trays evenly. It is ok if they are touching and on top of one another.
Place the top on and dehydrate on vegetable setting for about 4-5 hours.
When spinach is done, the leaves should feel dry and fall apart when handled, much like dry leaves on the ground during the fall and winter.
Remove spinach from dehydrator and place in a bowl. Let cool completely.
When completely cool, in batches, chop spinach in a food processor for about 1 minute. It will turn into tiny spinach flakes.
These are the spinach flakes, you can stop at this step and use in recipes, they will just be slightly more noticeable to the eye in some recipes.
Or you can go one step further and grind them down in a coffee grinder or magic bullet for 2 minutes until soft and powdery.
I usually make a few batches of this back to back while I have my dehydrator out. It lasts for quite a while too. Stay tuned for upcoming recipes where we will be putting this powder to the test. I look forward to helping you fulfill your propensity for sneaky spinach shenanigans :)