And no, I don’t mean the fried chicken from Popeye’s! 😉
Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A (and especially high in lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach.
Polyglutamyl folate (Vitamin B9 or folic acid) is a vital constituent of cells and spinach is a good source of folic acid. Boiling spinach can more than halve the level of folate left in the spinach, but microwaving does not affect folate content. Vitamin B9 was first isolated from spinach in 1941.
With this much going for it, it’s easy to understand why Popeye is so gung-ho for his spinach!
I love to incorporate fresh spinach leaves into my green tossed salads when I can, but the more you can get of this nutrient-rich, dark, leafy green, the better, says I — and so does Popeye! Hubby and I have come to enjoy this very simple, quick to put together Spinach Side Salad. You can dress it as you like, but our favorite way to dress it is with splashes of balsamic vinegar — and, of course, some olive oil! 😉
Fresh Spinach Salad (Easy to make a single serving or enough to serve a crowd)
- Desired amount of fresh spinach leaves for each individual salad (probably around 2 ounces per salad) (I use the kind that’s “washed and ready” in those convenient packages in the grocery)
- Grape or cherub tomatoes (optional) for each salad (I like about 6 or 8 for each individual salad; you could also just add in some halved or quartered cherry tomatoes or sliced/diced tomato)
- Sprinkling of toasted walnuts (halves or pieces — it adds an unbelievably wonderful flavor, and some more good for you vitamins)
- Sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese (we usually use reduced fat)
- Salt and coarse ground pepper to taste
- Drizzle of your favorite salad dressing
- Toast walnuts You can toast them in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring and watching closely, or toast in the toaster oven at about 375F, watching closely. Honestly, you’ve gotta watch ’em closely — they’ll burn to a crisp the second you turn your back — but toasting them really brings out the flavor and makes the salad.
- Toss together spinach leaves, tomatoes (if using — they’re optional), and sprinkling of crumbled feta. (When I’m only making a couple – three salads, I just distribute the fresh spinach among the salad bowls/plates and sprinkle each with a bit of crumbed feta). Top with sprinkling of toasted walnuts.
- Season to taste with salt (suggest coarse ground sea salt) and pepper (suggest coarse-ground black pepper).
- Dress as desired (we love a healthy splash of balsamic vinegar and a wee drizzle of olive oil.
I promise, you’ll find it difficult to believe that something so easy can be both so good for you AND so yummy at the same time. 😉