Posts tagged with Spinach

Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Baby Spinach Salad with Peanut Dressing

If you like food with Asian-inspired flare, you'll love this Meatless Monday's take on spinach salad.

Rather than the ubiquitous berry/nut/soft cheese combo that normally dominates the spinach salad domain, this salad gets its kicks from a zesty peanut sauce that includes ginger, lime and brown sugar. Add in crispy noodles and fresh bell pepper and you've got a tasty, different spinach salad.

Baby Spinach Salad with Peanut Dressing

3 tablespoons unsweetened creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root

Grated zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon Asian chile sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

5 ounces baby spinach

1 carrot (shredded)

1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts (chopped, or sunflower seeds)

1/2 cup chow mein noodles

1/2 small red bell pepper (cut into thin slivers)

Place the dressing ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.

In a large bowl, toss together the baby spinach and shredded carrots. Add half of the peanut dressing and toss to coat the greens; add more dressing sparingly as needed.

Divide between chilled salad plates and garnish each serving with a sprinkling of peanuts, chow mein noodles and slivered pepper. Serves 2-3.

— Recipe from


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Cauliflower and Spinach Curry

Making curry, even on a Monday, really isn’t that big of a deal, so don’t let this long list of ingredients scare you off. Most of them are things you can either find in your spice rack, or buy very cheaply from the bulk bins at your favorite grocery store.

And, once you have the ingredients on hand, you can whip up some curry faster than it would take to order it and then pick it up from a restaurant.

Cauliflower and Spinach Curry

1 medium yellow onion (peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces)

1/2 jalapeño pepper (seeds and ribs discarded, or to taste)

2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon Madras curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup coconut milk

4 cups cauliflower florets

1 cup peeled and diced tomatoes (with juices)

4 cups, packed, baby spinach

Dash salt

Place the onion, ginger, and jalapeño in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the garam masala, curry powder, cardamom and cumin, and process until the mixture is thick and smooth.

Transfer the spice paste to a large saucepan and add the oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the paste starts to color, about 10 minutes — you'll want to continually scrape the bottom of the pot, as the mixture likes to stick.

Stir in the tomato paste and continue cooking, stirring and scraping very frequently, until the paste is brown and aromatic, about 5 more minutes. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add the coconut milk, cauliflower and tomatoes. Simmer over medium-low heat, covered, until the cauliflower is crisp-tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the spinach and cook, uncovered, until it wilts, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the lime juice and cilantro. Serve hot. Serves 4.

— Recipe from


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Spinach-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Like pizza? Like bruschetta? Like mushrooms?

This dinner entree (or side) is a little bit of all of the above. Juicy portobello mushroom caps serve as the base (rather than pizza dough or slices of baguette). Fill them with cheese, garlic, red pepper and spinach for a tasty, cheesy masterpiece.

At the store, similar pre-filled portobellos might be a bit more expensive. Thus, this recipe not only saves you money, but also allows you to sneak in a green (spinach) pretty easily.

It's a Meatless Monday winner, for sure.

Spinach-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

4 large portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound)

1/4 cup Italian dressing, divided

1/4 cup red peppers, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 (10-ounce) packages fresh spinach

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove stems from mushrooms; chop stems. Use spoon or sharp knife to scrape gills from caps; discard gills. Brush 1 tablespoon of dressing onto rounded sides of caps; place, rounded-sides down, in foil-lined 15x10x1-inch pan.

Heat remaining dressing in large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add chopped stems, peppers and garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add spinach; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat 4 minutes or until spinach is wilted, stirring after 2 minutes. Spoon over mushroom caps; top with cheese.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

— Recipe from


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Spinach Manicotti

One great thing about Meatless Monday is that if you had a busy weekend and didn’t have a chance to make something substantial for dinners or lunches for the week ahead, it’s easy to rectify with the right family-style entrée.

An entrée like this one: spinach manicotti. It’s simple, full of flavor, makes a ton and is sure to please adults and kids alike. Plus, it’ll reheat well and gives you a sneaky serving of spinach, right in there among the tasty red sauce and ooey-gooey cheese.

Spinach Manicotti

1 box (8 ounces) uncooked manicotti shells (14 shells)

2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (8 ounces)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese

1 box (10 ounces) frozen cut spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 (25.5-ounce) jar pasta sauce

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook manicotti as directed on box. Rinse with cool water; drain well. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 ½ cups of the Italian cheese blend, the red pepper, ricotta cheese, spinach, garlic and egg.

In bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce. Spoon ricotta mixture into manicotti, place over sauce in dish. Pour remaining sauce over manicotti. Cover tightly with foil.

Bake about 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling. Uncover dish; sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Italian cheese blend. Bake uncovered 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

— Recipe from


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Simple Spinach Stuffed Shells

This Monday happens to be the warmest day of the week with the temperature topping out at 50 degrees.

As the temperature (inevitably) drops, you'll be happy you took advantage of Meatless Monday by using it to make something delicious that can be reheated all week. Thus, you'll be less inclined to give up and order pizza or another warming take-out option if you have these Simple Spinach Stuffed Shells leftover in the fridge.

Warm and comforting, this sophisticated take on a classic Italian dish includes all-star green spinach and adult ingredients like fennel seeds, garlic and basil. The result is something familiar yet different, indulgent yet a bit lighter.

Simple Spinach Stuffed Shells

1 1/4 pounds spinach (2 10-oz bags frozen, or 1 big bunch fresh)

18 ounces low-fat cottage cheese

1 cups shredded Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup for shells plus 1/2 cup for topping)

2 tablespoons washed and chopped fresh basil (or use 2 teaspoons dried basil)

1 tablespoon washed, dried and minced fresh parsley

1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

4 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Sea salt & pepper to taste

3 1/2 cups pasta sauce

16 ounces pasta shells (about 32 shells)

If working with dried pasta, cook shells as directed, wash and drain. Prepare spinach (wash, dry and chop fine if fresh; thaw if frozen) and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add cottage cheese, 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, fresh basil, parsley, fennel seeds and minced garlic. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blend to desired consistency. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings if needed. Note: Go easy on the sea salt, as cottage cheese is a bit saltier than the classic version of stuffed shells that call for ricotta cheese.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9x13-inch baking dish, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce to coat the bottom of the dish and to prevent sticking. You may also add a dash of extra virgin olive oil if desired.

Using a serving spoon and clean hands, fill each pasta shell with the spinach mixture. Carefully transfer stuffed shells, filling side up, to the prepared baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining shredded Parmesan cheese.

Cover the baking dish loosely with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Allow the shells to settle for 10 minutes before serving (or else they may be juicy).

— Recipe from


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Pan-Fried Tofu with Spinach, Pear and Star Anise

I'm feeling in the mood for an Asian-inspired Meatless Monday. I mean, why not? Yes, it's hot out, but this tofu and spinach combo can be enjoyed both on the deck and in the comfort of your air-conditioned home. Win-win. Plus it's a nice, break from salads while still managing to use local ingredients (spinach and Central Soy tofu).

So, enjoy this special dish with some steamed veggies and some rice and call it dinner. Bonus: Your house will smell amazing!

Pan-Fried Tofu with Spinach, Pear and Star Anise

1 package tofu (use extra firm tofu) halved horizontally

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoon ginger root minced

1 clove garlic minced

1 red chile cut in paper thin circles

3 whole star anise

1/3 cup roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1/2 limes juice freshly squeezed

2 pounds baby spinach

1 pear or Asian pear, sliced into thin wedges

Lay several layers of paper towels on a cutting board, then place the tofu squares on top, side by side. Cover the tofu with more paper towels and place a plate on top. Add a can or two to press down and drain out some of the water in the curd. This makes the tofu denser and meatier.

In a large skillet, heat the peanut and sesame oils just to the smoking point. Fry the tofu on both sides, flipping occasionally with a spatula, until golden, about 8 minutes total. Remove the tofu from the pan and drain it on a plate lined with paper towels.

Using the same pan, sauté the ginger, garlic, chile, star anise, and peanuts. In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice together. Briefly toss the spinach in the pan, stirring just to wilt, no more than 30 seconds. Remove the spinach to a bowl, scraping the peanut mixture in there also. Put the pan back on the heat and heat the hoisin mixture. Combine the sauce with the spinach and divide between two bowls. Lay the pear slices and tofu on top, and enjoy.

— Recipe from


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Spinach, Fennel and Three-Cheese Calzones

Warm pizza dough filled with three types of cheese and a surprising veggie punch? Yes, please.

This recipe uses fun spring veggies — spinach and fennel — to create a dish so hearty even your household’s most carnivorous eater won’t object. Serve with a Italian-dressing topped salad and you’ve got yourself a meal.

Even better: It's a nice warm meal on a day where there's snow on the ground and an ice-cold void where college basketball had been 24 hours before. Time for some comfort food!

Spinach, Fennel and Three-Cheese Calzones

1/2 cup (2 ounces) dried tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 bulb fresh fennel, thinly sliced and chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

10 ounces fresh spinach leaves, cleaned, stemmed, and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fennel leaves

8 ounces provolone, shredded (2 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup ricotta

1/2 cup shredded parmesan


2 six-ounce packages pizza crust mix

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 egg, mixed with 1 tablespoon water

To make filling: Soak tomatoes in a little hot water for 20 minutes. Heat oil in a large skillet; add chopped fennel, onions, and garlic. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes, stirring often. Drain the tomato-water into skillet, raise heat and boil until liquid is syrupy. Add spinach and chopped fennel leaves; cook, stirring often, until liquid is evaporated. Cool the mixture. Chop the drained tomatoes. Stir tomatoes, provolone, ricotta and Parmesan into the spinach mixture. Season with pepper to taste.

To fill calzones: Heat oven to 450 degrees (with baking stone inside, if using.) Sprinkle a wooden pizza paddle with cornmeal or grease a large baking sheet. Combine crust mix, basil, and 1 cup very warm water; beat 1/2 minute. Cover bowl; let stand on stovetop 5 minutes. Turn dough onto floured surface, roll it lightly in the flour; divide into 4 balls. Roll each ball into a 7-inch circle, place a quarter of the filling in center, and brush egg-water mixture around edges. Fold dough over filling; crimp or roll edges to form a tight seal.

To bake: Place calzones on paddle or baking sheet; brush tops with egg mixture. (If using baking stone, slide calzones from paddle to hot stone.) Bake 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes and then serve them up.

— Recipe from Terese Allen for


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Linguine with Spinach, Artichokes, and Red Lentil Sauce

Linguine with Spinach, Artichokes, and Red Lentil Sauce from

Linguine with Spinach, Artichokes, and Red Lentil Sauce from by Sarah Henning

Sometimes it’s just worth it to fall back on that old pantry staple: pasta.

But it doesn’t just have to be pasta with the requisite red sauce. No, vegetarian dishes can be so much more. Here’s a handy (and yummy) example: Linguine with Spinach, Artichokes, and Red Lentil Sauce.

OK, yes, the sauce is technically red, but this isn’t your ubiquitous marinara. Rather, it’s a hearty dish with plenty of protein (thanks, lentils!) and extra special flavor from the spinach and artichokes. Chow down!

Linguine with Spinach, Artichokes, and Red Lentil Sauce

2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

3/4 cup dried red lentils

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

6 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 pound whole wheat linguine

1 bunch spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped

4 artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered

In a medium pot, heat mustard seeds over medium heat until they begin to pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully add broth, 1 cup water, onion, lentils and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until lentils are very tender and falling apart, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and stir until lentils break apart to make a sauce. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add linguine and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain and return to pot. Immediately add spinach, artichoke hearts and lentil sauce to hot pasta, toss well and serve. Serves 4.

— Recipe and photo from