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Posted at: Feb 10, 2018, 1:47 AM; last updated: Feb 10, 2018, 1:47 AM (IST)

Go green

Here are five ways in which you can add spinach to your daily meals

Protima Tiwary

While spinach is now available throughout the year, we still feel winter is the best time to enjoy it. The leafy green makes an appearance in gravies, kebabs, paranthas, soups, rice and almost every other dish that is prepared in winter. Needless to say it is a super nutritious food that promotes good health. An essential and nutritious ingredient for a well-balanced diet, spinach is often looked at as a rather bland ingredient in cooking. Essentially, its subtle taste makes it an exciting ingredient to include in your cooking without affecting the taste too much and providing your body with the vitamins, minerals and iron that it contains. Let the greens sneak into any meal — be it your mains or your sides, and you’ve got your healthy fix for the day. Below are five simple and interesting recipes to include spinach in your diet.


Spinach chicken curry

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

n 1 lbs chicken, broilers or fryers meat only, raw

n 1.5 tbsp pepper red or cayenne

n 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste

n 1.5 tbsp coriander powder

n 0.25 tsp turmeric ground

n 0.25 cup plain yogurt 

n 200 gm spinach raw

n 1 tsp garam masala

n 1.5 tsp table salt 

n 1 tsp cumin seed

n 1 cup onions raw

n 5 gms cinnamon

n 0.5 cup water

n 1 cardamom

n 2 tomatoes

n 4 tbsp oil

n 1 bay leaf

n 2 cloves

DIRECTIONS

Chop the chicken into small pieces and marinate it with yogurt, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, garam masala and coriander paste for 30 minutes. In a pan, heat oil. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf and saute until it gives out a nice aroma. Add chopped onions and cook until it becomes soft. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook until it loses its raw smell. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until it becomes soft and mushy. Add marinated chicken, half a cup of water and cover and cook until the chicken gets cooked completely. Keep stirring in between. In the meantime, blanch spinach in hot water for 3 to 5 minutes, allow it to cool and make a smooth puree and add it to the cooked chicken. Check for the salt and remove from heat immediately. Serve hot with steamed rice or chapattis.


Chicken, pesto and spinach soup

Serves 4

Prep time: 8 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 quarts organic chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1½ cups shredded, cooked chicken
  • 2–3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 200g dried wide egg noodles
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add carrots, celery and onion and sauté until the vegetables are soft and the onions translucent. Add garlic and thyme and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant (about 1 minute). Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock and bring to boil. Add the noodles. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered for 5 minutes or until the noodles have softened a bit. Stir in the chicken and the spinach and simmer until the chicken is heated through and the noodles are fully cooked. Season generously with salt and pepper.


Pearl barley, spinach & feta salad

Serves 4

Prep time: 7 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup almonds, slivered
  • 2 cups cooked pearl barley
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon + 1 more to serve
  • 4 cups baby spinach, stems removed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional, for garnishing)

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add garlic, cardamom, lemon juice and zest and cook for 30 seconds. Add spinach, lemon juice and zest. Keep stirring until spinach is wilted (approximately for about 30 seconds). Add cooked barley, feta, almonds and raisins. Season with salt and pepper. Heat through if serving warm and drizzle with the juice of one lemon and chopped fresh parsley. For a great salad option: Store in an air-tight container in the fridge and serve cold. Drizzle with more fresh lemon juice when serving.


Prawn, lemon and spinach pasta

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

n 3 tbsp butter

n 300g spaghetti 

n 1 lemon, juice and zest

n 2 cloves garlic, minced

n 5-6 cups packed baby spinach

n 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

n Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

n 300g frozen cooked and peeled prawns, defrosted and water drained

DIRECTIONS

Bring a pan of water to boil and cook the pasta for around 10 minutes or until tender. Drain the pasta, reserving 75ml of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pan. Over low heat, stir in the garlic and spinach and cook until the spinach is just beginning to wilt. Add in the parmesan, lemon juice and prawns, along with the reserved cooking liquid. Stir until combined, then season and heat further for a minute. To serve, divide between four plates and then scatter the lemon zest on top. 


Spinach in scrambled eggs

Serves 2

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 3 eggs with 2 yolks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Whisk eggs in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium flame. Add spinach and cook; keep tossing for a minute or until it wilts. Add the eggs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just set (about 1 minute). You can also add grated cheese and 4 tablespoons of milk while scrambling the eggs for a different consistency.

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