The name of this vegetable derives from the word spina because when its fruits are ripe they appear armed with thorns. In Spain it has been consumed since the 11th century, when It was introduced by the Arabs. In the 15th century its cultivation spread throughout Europe, from there it went to America, although it was not until the 1920s that its magnificent nutritional properties were discovered.
Spinach is very suitable for freezing, which allows it to be bought throughout the year as it fully retains its original properties. If bought fresh choose those with tender, green, shiny and uniform leaves. To freeze them, you first have to blanch them and let them drain.
The spinach they can be eaten both raw and cooked. If they are fresh, we must wash them very well to remove possible remains of dirt and leaves in poor condition. They can be steamed, boiled, fried, sautéed, etc. They are delicious to accompany both meat and fish, they can be cooked in an omelette, stew, vegetable cream, the truth is that the possibilities are endless, even raw when they are very tender they are ideal to serve in salads.
1. Spanakopita or Greek pie with spinach, raisins and feta cheese
In a large saucepan with a little extra virgin olive oil, brown the minced garlic cloves. Add the spinach, season to taste and sauté for a couple of minutes. We drain the spinach well and warm it. We beat the egg in a deep bowl together with the crumbled feta cheese and the raisins. Add the drained spinach and mix. Brush a sheet of dough with olive oil. We put another sheet on top and grease again. We can use a third sheet, but this is optional. Place a part of the spinach filling on the longest end of the phyllo dough and wrap in a cylinder shape. Place in the center of a round mold, rolled up on itself, prepare more cylinders of phyllo dough and roll around until covering the entire surface of the mold, forming a spiral. Brush with olive oil and cook in the oven, preheated to 180º C, for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with dried thyme when serving.
Complete recipe | Spanakopita or Greek pie with spinach, raisins and feta cheese
2. Chickpea and spinach stew
Ingredients: Dried chickpeas (fresh if possible) 200 g, Chives 2, Garlic clove 3, Sweet paprika (1 good teaspoon) 5 g, Hot paprika (optional) 1 g, Laurel 1, Natural preserved tomatoes (or 2 natural, grated without skin) 3, Sherry Vinegar 10 ml, Vegetable or chicken broth or water, Potato or 2 small 1, Egg 2, Fresh spinach 1 bunch (or chard), Ground black pepper, Salt, Extra virgin olive oil, Bread of hard loaf in slices (for the minced) 1, Almonds a handful (for the minced), Fresh parsley some leaves (for the minced)
preparation: The first thing is to leave the chickpeas to soak in plenty of cold water the night before, preferably about 8-12 hours, or a few more. I prefer to wash them a little earlier, and try to use a fresh, seasonal, local small-gauge variety. Chop the chives and two cloves of garlic. Put the first one to fry with a little salt in a saucepan with some olive oil. Add the garlic, stir a little and fry for a few minutes, making sure it does not burn. Add the sweet paprika and a pinch of spice, stirring well quickly. Add the tomato, bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Add the drained chickpeas, a little vinegar and stir well for two minutes. Cover with water or cold broth, bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 60-90 minutes. When it takes an hour or so, add some washed, peeled and cascaded potatoes. If we leave them longer or in smaller pieces, they will almost melt with the stew, giving more thickness. To taste. Salt and pepper lightly and check the liquid level. It should be thick, not soup-like. Depending on the type of chickpea and the water, it will take about 30-60 more minutes. It can also be made in a pressure cooker or espresso, although I enjoy the quiet chup-chup without rushing. Cook the eggs while leaving them to the point, cool and peel. Towards the end, prepare a mash or picada (optional). Fry a slice of bread from the day before with a little oil with a handful of almonds and the remaining garlic. Mash in the mortar to make a paste, adding fresh parsley if we have. Add the minced meat to the stew and also add the spinach to taste. Remember that as soon as they are cooked they reduce their size a lot. I prefer to let them cook with the lid on and the fire already off, trying not to overdo it too much. Serve with the peeled, quartered or chopped eggs.
Complete recipe | Chickpea and Spinach
3. Spinach cannelloni gratin
Ingredients: Fresh spinach, Pine nuts, Sultana raisins, Sheets of pasta for cannelloni or Schiafoni pasta, Grated cheese a pinch to gratin, Béchamel sauce two tablespoons to cover only.
preparation: I had some Catalan spinach leftovers at home and I decided to take advantage of them by using a pasta called schiaffoni that I could describe as half cannelloni that I think is perfect to use in recipes for simple fillings like today’s. To make these mini-cannelloni with gratin spinach, we cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions and when it is done, we cool it and drain it well, proceeding to fill it. For this recipe I used some spinach with raisins and pine nuts that I wanted to try and a light béchamel sauce perfect to cover the schiaffoni when they were ready. After filling the pasta, we place the mini cannelloni standing up in a source, grouping them so that there is almost no space between them. Then we cover with the bechamel sauce, lightly sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and finish the recipe by baking for six minutes and gratin another three or four until the surface is golden brown.
Complete recipe | Spinach cannelloni gratin
4. Catalan spinach
Ingredients: Fresh spinach 500 g, Pine nuts 50 g, Garlic clove 1, Sultana raisins 50 g.
preparation: In a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, sauté the spinach leaves until they lose all the water. It will take about 15 minutes to get them ready, seeing how they lose more than half of their volume in this step. We reserve the spinach and in the same pan, toast the pine nuts. When they begin to take color, we also add the raisins and the finely chopped garlic clove. Sauté for a minute and add the reserved spinach. We mix all the ingredients well by shaking the pan and after one or two more minutes so that everything is very hot, we transfer the contents of the pan to a source and take it to the table immediately.
Complete recipe | Catalonian spinach
5. Green smoothie
Ingredients: Kale 1 leaf, Fresh Spinach a small bunch, Banana 0.5, Apple 0.5, Celery a sprig, Flax seeds 1 teaspoon, Water 1 glass.
preparation: We put all the ingredients in a powerful blender and beat until they are perfectly integrated, if we think that the shake is too thick we can add more water. We serve and drink immediately.
Complete recipe | Green smoothie
6. Strawberry, spinach and goat cheese salad with strawberry vinaigrette
Ingredients: Strawberry in pieces to make the vinegar 100 g, Sugar 25 g, White balsamic vinegar 125 ml, Fresh spinach in sprouts 175 g, Extra virgin olive oil 70 ml, Strawberry cut in half for salad 350 g, Goat cheese in a roll 125 g.
preparation: To make the strawberry vinegar we start by crushing the strawberries with the sugar until we obtain a fine puree. We add the vinegar. We let it rest for an hour. We strain all the preparation through a fine sieve and store in the fridge in an airtight jar. In cold it will keep us from one week to ten days. In a bowl we mix the strawberry vinegar and the salt. We are adding a drizzle of olive oil until obtaining the vinaigrette. We reserve in a kitchen bottle or bottle. Next, we wash and chop the strawberries in a quarter, as well as the spinach sprouts. We divide the vegetables into four plates, add the strawberries and the goat cheese. Salt and lightly dress with the strawberry vinaigrette.
Complete recipe | Strawberry, spinach and goat cheese salad with strawberry vinaigrette
7. Frittata with spinach, portobello mushrooms and Manchego cheese
Ingredients: Portobello mushrooms 400 g, Fresh baby spinach 200 g, Leek 1, Egg L 4, Milk 50 ml, Manchego cheese 50 g, Extra virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons, Garlic clove 2, Salt and pepper to taste.
preparation: We will start by preheating the oven to 150 degrees with heat up and down. Then we grease a round mold about 23 centimeters in diameter with a few drops of oil, and line its base with baking paper. In a frying pan we put the oil to heat and sauté the minced garlic as well as the leek cut into thin slices. Add the portobello mushrooms, chopped into pieces, and cook them until almost tender. Add the spinach sprouts and sauté them with the rest of the vegetables for five minutes. In a bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt, add the grated Manchego cheese, the milk and add the sautéed vegetables. We pass the mixture to the mold and bake for 30 minutes or until the curd mixture is seen.
Complete recipe | Frittata with spinach, portobello mushrooms and Manchego cheese
8. Spinach and chicken salad with soy
Ingredients: Fresh spinach 200 g, Chicken breast 2, Onion 100 g, Soy sauce 30 g, Roasted peanuts without salt 100 g, Salt, Ground black pepper.
preparation: We are going to rinse the spinach leaves in water, drain them and then cut the stems that were very long. Chop the onion that we fry for about 2 to 3 minutes in a pan with olive oil. Immediately cut the chicken into cubes that we add to the onion. Season with salt, pepper and leave for about 10 minutes in the fire at medium intensity. Then we add the peanuts and the soy sauce. We stir again and leave an additional 5 to 8 minutes, always on the fire at medium intensity. To serve we place the spinach …