Time and time again I’ve found people are apprehensive to try new ingredients. Spinach is one of the hardest ones to introduce to people. I don’t know if it’s because of a stigma against spinach, but when I mention spinach people are immediately turned away.
Spinach is a superfood rich in potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins B, C, and E. The lutein in spinach also promotes healthy eyes.
After a lot of experimenting I have found some spinach recipes that people love. The key really is to have some type of sauce to combat the flavor of spinach.
The first recipe is easy to make, and tastes great. You can always add more spinach to this recipe too.
Mom’s Bake Chicken & Spinach Pasta
adapted from Bitchin Camero
1 lb. pasta (I used whole wheat shells)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.), diced
1/4 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. thyme
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
5 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°. Set a large pot of water to boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, salt it and cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain.
While the pasta is cooking, set a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, heat the olive oil then add the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides – about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and simmer with the chicken until it’s fragrant and begins to turn golden – about 3 minutes.
Add the salt. spinach, chicken stock, and white wine vinegar to the skillet and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes, or until the spinach begins to wilt. Toss the contents of the skillet with the pasta and place in a casserole dish. Mix in oregano, rosemary, thyme, and basil. Cover with cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
Makes about 8 servings.
The next recipe not only includes spinach, but also butternut squash. Butternut squash is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, carotenoids, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin A, and potassium. This superfood fights heart disease, various cancers, promotes a healthy digestive system, and much more.
Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna Rolls
from Skinny Taste
For the Butternut Parmesan Sauce:
- 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup shallots, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Lasagna:
- 9 lasagna noodles, cooked (use gluten free noodles for gluten free)
- 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, heated and squeezed well
- 15 oz fat free ricotta cheese (I like Polly-o)
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- salt and fresh pepper
- 9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim shredded Italian Blend Cheese (I used Sargento)
- 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon, reserve about 1 cup of the water and set aside, then blend until smooth with an immersion blender, adding 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid to thin out.
Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, add the oil, sauté the shallots and garlic over medium-low heat until soft and golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little more of the reserved water to thin out to your liking. Stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Ladle about 1/2 cup butternut sauce sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.
Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
Ladle about 1 cup of sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp Italian cheese blend. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts and everything is hot and bubbly. Top with parsley and serve. Makes 9 rolls.
To serve, ladle a little extra sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.
For more healthy recipes with spinach, butternut squash, and more check out Pinterest.