It’s Spinach Week!

May 19th, 2011

Make that Spinach Month.

I am trying to consume all the spinach my garden can give me…

And I am failing.

But it is a fun kind of failure!  And delicious too! Here are a few of the meals I have made that include heaping helpings of spinach (and garden fresh oregano too!).

This is wilted spinach, sun dried tomatoes, shallots, garlic powder, red wine and salt all stir fried together in olive oil….

And added to pasta for a deeliteful pasta dish.  I also added some freshly grated parmesan and Romano cheeses to add a bit of bite, but if seasoned properly, this dish could easily be vegan.

Next up, I made some manicotti.

This dish is a huge hassle to make, but does it ever pay off! Even the boys liked it!  It is also super hearty which as a new vegetarian, I sometimes miss a dish that destroys my hunger in one fell swoop the way a burger or a steak does.  But manicotti really satisfies.  I used this recipe as a guide.  I especially liked how it did not make me cook the noodles prior to stuffing them.  It turned out great.

Although I would not call her particularly photogenic.

I made these black bean and spinach quesadillas tonight.

They are my favorite spinach dish so far.

I drained two cans of black beans and added one can of rotel to them as well as garlic powder, cayenne and salt to taste.  I mashed the beans and let them simmer down to a nice thick consistency.

In a separate pan, I heated some olive oil and added the spinach (about three handfulls) some garlic powder, cayenne, salt and about a tablespoon of vinegar.  I cooked it until it was just wilted and then set it aside.

To make the quesadillas, brown both sides of the tortilla in your choice of oil ( I used butter).  Then spread a generous dollop of the mashed bean mixture onto the tortilla, add the spinach and your choice of cheese.  Fold the tortilla in half and let the cheese melt for a few minutes and then remove from pan and slice in half with a pizza cutter.

I think the vinegar really brightened up the spinach and adds a nice punch to the mix.  It was yummo!

Sorry!  I am not much of a food photographer!


  • Hahahaha – I was just making out my shopping list and added a few things to the list to make both dishes. I LOVE SPINACH…

    I think I might be a vegetarian for the next 2 or 3 days.

  • That manicotti looks delish! I wish I would have started my Spinach early enough to have some now :/

  • GA in GA:

    The spinach dishes look yummy. Nice to see your son in the background – no doubt working on homework at the kitchen table while plugged into an iPod.

    My spinach bolted after a week of 90+ days. :-(

  • Megan:

    YUM! We love spinach. Our favorite around here is a vegan spanakopita. The kids think it’s fancy when I make their servings in tiny little filo tarts.

  • LucyJoy:

    Yum! Everything looks delicious, but especially the quesadillas – I love black beans but have never thought to pair them with spinach.

    The Noble Pig made a Pasta Pie a couple years ago, that reminds me of your manacotti. They used ground beef & rigatoni, but I imagine it could be adapted using spinach. I haven’t made it, but it sure looks purty! :o)

  • nola rice:

    I always make Big Daddy add a touch of vinegar to spinach, but when I saute mine with garlic, shallots and olive oil I only add truffle oil on top it is to die for. I also add the truffle oil to the garlic smashed potatos-hell I can’t spell potatoes, whichever way, the truffle oil is great.

    No spinach in China.

    • Hooty:

      Hey Nola Rice, a very popular green in China is convolvulous, or water spinach. It has longer, tougher stems, but with more cooking, it’s the same. It is readily available year-round from the outdoor markets there. I used to eat it daily, and now I’m back in the US and I miss it.

      • Lee (sometimes known as Another Lee):

        Hooty that stuff is to die for! It was my favorite food in China. Just need to remember to bring the floss!

  • Kay in KCMO:

    Manicotti where you don’t have to boil the noodles beforehand? What is this demonry? Seriously, I want to know; I might actually make it.

    Everything looks really good. The spouse and I eat separately because he works odd hours so I don’t really *cook*, but I might be able to entice him with some of this. If only black beans didn’t make me fart ’til next Tuesday…

  • theresa:

    The manicotti looks so yummy! Our spinach is also bustin out all over!! Lettuce, too. We make the wilted spinach a lot. I have 6 kids, so I use a fartload of it for a meal.

  • I am so so jealous. it’s so cold here and wet we haven’t planted one damn thing. I’d love to come eat spinich man with you!

  • Jeanne:

    Oooh, spinach is my favorite! I love your photos and dinner ideas. I always buy organic spinach in big bags to use with salads, in pasta, and just to par-boil and eat!

    I’m loving your blog, by the way…Jeanne

  • action squirrel:

    Spinach soup! Uses a ton of fresh spinach, hard to mess up, tends to be shockingly delicious and freezes pretty well.

    • Rechelle:

      direct me to a recipe please.

      • action squirrel:

        This one looks more or less like what I do, though it’s not very well written. Just leave out the meat altogether, use veggie broth (or white wine, I tried this once and it was not bad!) and don’t bother cutting the spinach, that’s for sissies. Just take rip out any giant stems. Also I’d slice the garlic rather than press, so that it doesn’t burn and turn everything bitter. I don’t know what a “slice” of butter is, but be generous with it since you’re not using bacon. Or crayfish.

        I absolutely recommend using an immersion blender (or your mixer if it tolerates heat) to get everything creamy before serving. Stringy chunky bits of spinach in soup is not very amazing.

        You can skip the nutmeg if you don’t like it (I don’t), and just stick to a good quality sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Or white pepper is also good here. Top it with a few shavings of whatever hard cheese you have lying around. We did pine nuts once, that worked, too. Serve it with a crusty sourdough or french bread.

        You can also wilt the spinach beforehand in the same pan as you fry up the garlic, remove it to a bowl while you fry the onion and add it back in at the end. A certain someone does this and it’s actually a great tip, improves the flavor of the spinach…….

  • Rechelle if you want the recipe for a soup that is very hearty and filling, I’d be happy to share. It can be made for meat eaters(with the addition of pancetta) or vegetarians(take out the pancetta and use veggie stock). It’s called ribollita. The basic ingredients are spinach, cannellinni beans, diced tomatoes, herbs, parmesan rind, spaghetti pieces, onion, carrot, celery, tomato paste, garlic, salt, and stock. Very yummy!

    • Rechelle:

      Thanks Amy. My spinach is about to peter out, but I may be able to get enough to give this a try.

    • Bridget:

      Amy F: Would you mind posting the recipe? I have too much spinach and don’t know what to do with it all, and this soup sounds like it freezes well. Also it sound delicious. Or if it is easier to email it? Not sure. Email is delilahdog11 at yahoo dot com. Thank you.

      • Sure thing. My email is acting wonky at the moment so I will post.

        Ribollita (4-6 servings easily doubles, triples, whatever)

        1/4 cup olive oil
        1 onion, chopped
        1 carrot, peeled and chopped
        4 oz pancetta, chopped (optional-can omit for vegetarians)
        2 garlic cloves, minced
        1/2 tsp salt
        1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
        1 tablespoon tomato paste
        1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
        1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach ( thawed and squeezed dry) or equivalent fresh
        1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
        2 tsp herbes de Provence
        6 cups chicken broth( veggie broth for vegetarians)
        1 bay leaf
        parmesan rind
        1 cup spaghetti broken into 1 inch pieces
        grated parmesan, for serving

        Heat oil in large, heavy pot over med. heat. Add onion, carrot, pancetta, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until onion is golden brown and pancetta is crisp, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir until dissolved. Add the tomatoes and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up all the good brown bits. Add spinach, beans, herbes de Provence, broth, bay leaf, and parmesan rind. Bring soup to a boil, then add spaghetti, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Discard parmesan rind and bay leaf, and ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

        Hope your family enjoys as much as mine does!

  • Bridget:

    Rechelle: Oh wait before I go down the garden road- do you or anyone who may read this have any ideas on how to include more cottage cheese in your diet? I didn’t know if you have given any thought to that now that you aren’t eating meat, but it has a ton of protein and contains a couple of important amino acids, normally found in meat??…but anyway it is suppose to be very healthy for you, but I just can’t get over the texture. I don’t know that question sort of popped in there.

    I also have a have a few gardening questions for you. There aren’t very many gardening centers around and I have found way too much information on the internet, so I haven’t been able to get a clear, direct answer.

    Okay. About three years ago I ripped out a bunch of cedar shrubs from around my house. I am not sure what kind because I didn’t plant them. I have decided that I would like to plant hydrangeas and lilac bushes.

    One side of the house gets full sun all day long, (I guess that would be the east side), the front of the house gets some sun, but it is mostly in the shade and the western side only gets afternoon sun. Would these plants work in these conditions?

    And should I do a soil test first to see if it should be amended because of the cedar shrubs or should I just add a ton of organic material. I remember you saying something about pines or cedars making the soil acidic.

    I have had some luck in one area with an herb garden and strawberry plants, but none of them have gotten huge. I also was able to grow watermelons in the same area, but all other melons failed. Could have been the soil or the gardener. The only herb that has gotten big is the fennel and some savory. The thyme, rosemary, chives, winter savory, parsley, lavender have all stayed smallish and any sage that I plant dies within a couple of weeks. I don’t think the soil drains well in some areas and it seems rather compact all over.

    I am wondering if I should plant some barley or winter wheat to break up the deeper layers of soil. To get down where I can’t shovel or till. Also is tilling important when not planting vegetables? There is also a small mimosa tree which seems to be fairing well.

    Also if you have time any other suggestions for what I might be able to plant? I am looking for affordable, somewhat fragrant bushes, shrubs, etc. I don’t care when they flower or how long the flowers stay around. I would like to plant some things that attract butterflies and/or hummingbirds. Also I would love to plant flowers or herbs or anything that keep bugs and pests away from my vegetable plants.

    i love the look of the Spirea Vanhouttei you posted about. I also love crepe myrtle trees even more than my luggage, maybe because I don’t really own any luggage but still. I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland- which lately has been having very wet, some what cold springs, hot, humid, dry summers, generally, it doesn’t frost until mid november and stays in the upper 50′s-low 60′s until then, and very wet, very gray mild winters. Although two years ago we had four back to back snow storms that dumped over 25 feet of snow. So mild may be debatable. I am not sure which grow zone I am in, so I provided all that additional, probably not necessary information. I think I am in zone 6b or 7a.

    Sorry for the deluge of information. No worries if you don’t have time to answer my gardening questionnaire. I didn’t expect to be this long winded- who am I kidding? You should charge some sort of hourly rate to answer all of this. My sister hired some sort of landscaping architect that did all of this for her and he charged quite a bit. I would be happy to send you some freshly made, all organic strawberry jam or some My Little Ponies and Barbie clothes that I just found in my parents basement for Pie Near Woman. Imagine Tia Juana riding a magical pony with rainbow hair. Actually I would be happy to send you the ponies & clothes either way.

    But I just thought that it might be better to approach this project differently, by getting information first, rather than my normal trial and error method of gardening. Vegetable plants and seeds are much less costly than buying perennial and annuals. Also I don’t mind planting a mixture of both, but I tend to be lazy when it comes to flowers and the such because most of my time is spent in the vegetable garden.

    Also I am wondering if I am too late to start any of this and would it be better to do all this planting next year or in the fall?

  • poppy:

    I don’t know whether or not you’re into Indian food, but palak paneer uses a crap-ton of spinach. I would bathe in it if I could,

  • Trudy:

    I love a spinach and feta omelette….the saltiness of the feta with the spinach is just amazing.