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Spinach ideas

I have gotten some beautiful spinach from my CSA and am expecting more this week. I am looking for some interesting ideas to use some beautiful spinach. What are your favorite uses? I have a LOT of it.

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  1. I like to make the Spinach Pie that I found in the NYTimes Cookbook (Craig Claiborne) years ago.. It is essentially spanakopita pie: Be sure to use fresh spinach!

    Greek Spinach Pie
    60g butter, melted
    24 sheets phyllo pastry
    60g butter
    1/2 cup thinly sliced spring onions
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    500g frozen spinach, thawed and drained (or 1kg fresh spinach, chopped)
    4 eggs
    250g feta cheese, crumbled
    1/4 cup chopped parsley
    1/4 cup chopped dill
    salt and pepper to taste

    Put butter in a saucepan, add onions and garlic, cook for 2 minutes, until soft. Stir in the spinach. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Combine spinach mixture, eggs, feta, parsley and dill, add salt and pepper. Brush a baking dish with melted butter. Unfold pastry sheets and use half to line the dish, brushing each sheet with butter. Keep the other sheets covered with plastic wrap and a damp teatowel while working. Spoon the spinach mixture into the lined dish. Fold edges of the pastry over the filling. Layer remaining pastry over the filling; brush between each sheet with butter. Trim edges; score pastry into 6-8 portions. Brush top with remaining butter and bake for 45 minutes at 180C until golden.

    1. Spinach Cabrini - I use fresh spinach in this recipe - usually a big bag of store-bought washed, chopped and sauteed is what I use for the full recipe (this makes WAY more than can fit in a 9x13 pan, however! LOL)


      4 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit

        Hey, LW! Spinach Cabrini much like my converted (formerly trashy with condensed cr. of mush.) Spinach Noodle Casserole--except mine doesn't have the 1/2 cup of melted butter--just 1 tablespoon. The original recipe was a favorite from the newspaper years ago:

        Another fresh spinach idea is just to cook it down with some garlic and a little Limoncello. Good luck with your ricotta making--there's nothing like spinach and ricotta. YUM!

        1. re: kattyeyes

          well tonight I am just using store bought ricotta.... but once i get the acid, i will make it from scratch.

          1. re: cassoulady

            Whole foods is carrying a new milk in the Cambridge stores from Highlawn Farm in Lee, MA. OMG!!! This milk makes even better cheese than Shaw Farms. Made fromage blanc with it last night. Will try a quart later this week for some ricotta.

            1. re: smtucker

              SMT, I have bought that milk at Russos as well in watertown.

      2. I had a bag I needed to use last night but was exhausted and didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

        I crumbled about 3 slices of frozen bacon and heated in a saute pan. Started heating water to poach an egg. Removed the bacon from the pan, added a little bit of olive oil and tossed in some shallots and garlic. While those were cooking, I grated up a little parmesan cheese. Put the egg in the simmering water. Added the spinach to the pan and cooked it until just wilted, then splashed in some red wine vinegar. Topped the spinach with the bacon, parmesan and egg. Salt and lots of pepper.

        Didn't have any white wine chilled so had a Terrapin Rye Squared with it. Mmmm. Quick, easy, and really good.

          1. Spinach and basil pesto (I use it for pasta, barley and even rice): put 250grams of fresh, chopped spinach in a food processor, add chopped basil, lemon juice, olive oil, chopped walnuts, toasted almonds or pine nuts, garlic, grated parmesan or pecorino, salt and pepper. Blend well and add to cooked pasta, stirring well and cooking for a further 2-3 minutes. Delicious.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Paula76

              This was going to be my vote. It's awesome cold on sandwiches, as well. It's like bargain pesto, but SO good.

            2. Get some milk.... and make ricotta. Then blanch the spinach. Make a filling of egg, ricotta, parmesian and the spinach finely chopped. Season to taste and stuff into manicottis or ravioli. I am doing the raviolis for tonight's dinner, freezing the leftovers so I have a quick meal already made.

              16 Replies
              1. re: smtucker

                smtucker, are you able to guide me in making my own ricotta?

                1. re: cassoulady

                  Sure. These directions are based on the recipe at http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/..., but modified to reflect my "real life."

                  You can substitute vinegar or lemon juice for the citric acid, but I don't get the same consistent results.

                  1 gallon fresh milk [supermarket milk really varies. I splurge and buy farm milk
                  ]1 tsp citric acid
                  1/2 cup cool water
                  1 tsp salt

                  Place milk in a sauce pan that is bigger than you think you need to allow for some milk bubbling. Dissolve the citric acid in the water, and then add to the milk. Stir briskly for 10 seconds.

                  Slowly warm the milk to 190º [F] and then turn the heat off. As the curds rise, gently stir from side to side. Let the curds rest for 10-15 minutes.

                  While curds rest, set some cheesecloth in a colander. Ladle the curds into the cheese cloth, catching the whey in another pan.

                  With the remaining whey, turn on the heat again, add some vinegar and bring up to about 190º again. The yield will be less than the first heating, but seems worth the effort. Skim the new curds and add to the cheesecloth.

                  Hang the cheesecloth over the sink for about 20 minutes and you are done.

                  The remaining whey is great in bread or as the water for homemade pasta. I have actually read that some people add koolaid powder to it and drink it.

                  1. re: smtucker

                    this may sound silly, but is citric acid and easy to find item- where would i get it?

                    1. re: smtucker

                      I want to know where to get citric acid too! And how much ricotta do you get from a gallon of milk? And what sort of milk is best 1%, 2%, whole, etc.


                      1. re: scuzzo

                        cassoulady & scuzzo

                        You can find citric acid in health food stores, supplement stores, pharmacies, and other places, or get it from Amazon


                      2. re: smtucker

                        I think my question might be sillier... exactly how much ricotta do you end up with?
                        Sounds really good, so not to use rennet, use the citric acid?
                        Fresh ricotta sounds wonderful, I accidentally bought an extra gallon of whole milk, and I need to lay off the ice cream!

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          My yield varies based on the fat content and freshness of the milk, but generally, I get half the quantity. So 1 gallon of milk will yield a half gallon of ricotta, again, give or take. [More fat, higher yield; fresher milk, higher yield.]

                          No rennet. This is a soft, fresh cheese. Just the acid.

                          With that much milk, you could play with straining the cheese longer, and then placing something heavy over the cheese to push even more moisture out to make a ricotta salata. Never done this myself, but I bet it is great with some herbs and garlic.

                          1. re: smtucker

                            Thanks, that's a nice amount for eating and baking. I love soft fresh cheese. And yes adding chives and garlic would be nice too.

                            1. re: chef chicklet

                              ricotta people, i've been wanting to give you all a heads up on the great-looking dish from pioneer woman, "springy shells" -- a lovely pasta dish with ricotta and fresh veggies. and, as always, it's served up in ree's humorous style, with nice photos (how does she do that, anyway?). <check out all of her gorgeous photos. she's so talented! plus, she gives excellent advice.>


                              1. re: alkapal

                                oh wow. that looked delicious, I love love love vegetarian ( you know what I mean) versions of pasta dishes more than meat.
                                What a beautiful dish too!

                                So much wonderful food to cook, but so little space left in my jeans.

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  <<So much wonderful food to cook, but so little space left in my jeans.>>

                                  HA HA! Well said, chef chicklet. I feel that way often myself. I am a fool for my own cooking. ;)

                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                    I am so glad this thread came back around, I saw it and decided that I needed to thumb through it and am I ever glad!

                                    I have all of the green stuff,and a container of the ricotta that I shoud use. It will also be a test run on a side for a party coming up. ( I have a feeling the little kids that are coming are going to love this!) For some reason the kids in my group, are picky eaters at their own homes, but will eat anything over here.

                                    I realize the dish is not very Halloween-ish, seriously though I don't really go for the Halloween looking food, unless it's a dessert, soooo. Okay wings, I can go for devilish wings.

                                    This dish has that lovely creaminess of an alfredo, and I think the munchkins willl like it. If not, the bigger kids will. I'm going to use small shells, I for some reason want to add fresh tomatoes (from the garden) to the top (after baking) (just a little acid) and color. Lots of cracked black pepper and this will be a winner.

                                    By the way Pioneer Woman does make her food look outstandingly good!

                          2. re: smtucker

                            SMTucker- if I use lemon juice instead of citric acid, how much should i use?

                            1. re: cassoulady

                              I have read 3 tablespoons of lemon juice per gallon. I have always needed a little bit more to get my full curd output.

                      3. I love a fresh spinach pasta with some fresh shrimp or scallops, a light simple lemon vinaigrette with onions, garlic and some fresh mushrooms. Very clean and light. A nice parm

                        I also love it just sauteed with onion, a little garlic, balsamic and a dash of honey. So simple.

                        I love to add it to my cubes stove top potatoes in heavy cream. Add the last couple of minutes and then serve. Decadent.

                        I make a great spinach and potato gratain. Fresh spinach is the key. Really good with fresh gruyere and layered with proscuitto.

                        Last one
                        A spinach and cheese layered dish with portabellos, spinach and cheese and bread crumbs. A light bechemel and baked. Looks like lasagna but no noodles. Really good and not hard.

                        If you want any recipes, let me know.

                        1. we love love LOVE america's test kitchen's spinach lasagna. in fact, i was just revisiting that recipe a few hours ago.

                          Be sure to use Italian fontina rather than bland and rubbery Danish or American fontina. If it is not available, substitute whole milk mozzarella. To make the cheese easier to shred, freeze it for 30 minutes to firm it up. If fresh nutmeg is unavailable, use only 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Because the lasagna is broiled at the end of cooking to brown the surface, make sure to use a baking dish that is broilersafe.

                          Serves 6 to 8

                          1 tablespoon table salt
                          20 ounces curly spinach (2 bags), stemmed and rinsed

                          5 tablespoons unsalted butter
                          1 tablespoon unsalted butter for baking dish
                          5 large shallots , minced (about 1 cup)
                          4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (generous 1 tablespoon)
                          1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
                          3 1/2 cups whole milk
                          2 bay leaves
                          3/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
                          1/2 teaspoon table salt
                          1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
                          1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)

                          Cheeses and Pasta
                          8 ounces whole milk cottage cheese
                          1 large egg
                          1/4 teaspoon table salt
                          12 no-boil lasagna noodles from 1 box
                          2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
                          8 ounces Italian fontina cheese , shredded (about 2 cups)

                          1. For the spinach: Fill large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven or stockpot over high heat; add salt and spinach, stirring until spinach is just wilted, about 5 seconds. Using skimmer or fine-mesh strainer, transfer spinach to ice water and let stand until completely cool, about 1 minute, then drain spinach and transfer to clean kitchen towel. Wrap towel tightly around spinach to form ball and wring until dry. Chop spinach medium and set aside.

                          2. For the bechamel: Melt 5 tablespoons butter until foaming in medium saucepan over medium heat; add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 1/2 minutes. Do not brown. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, whisk in bay leaves, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Whisk in Parmesan and discard bay leaves. Transfer sauce to bowl, press plastic wrap directly against surface, and set aside.

                          3. For the cheeses, pasta, and assembly: Blend cottage cheese, egg, and salt in food processor or blender until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl and set aside. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Place noodles in 13- by 9-inch broilersafe baking dish and cover with hot tap water; let soak 5 minutes, agitating noodles occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on kitchen towel. Wipe baking dish dry and coat with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Use rubber spatula to distribute 1/2 cup bechamel in bottom of baking dish; position 3 noodles on top of sauce. Stir spinach into remaining bechamel in bowl, mixing well to break up clumps of spinach (you should have about 4 cups spinach/bechamel mixture). Spread 1 cup spinach mixture evenly over noodles, sprinkle evenly with Parmesan, and top with 3 more noodles. Spread 1 cup spinach mixture evenly over noodles, sprinkle evenly with 1 cup fontina, and top with 3 more noodles. Spread 1 cup spinach mixture evenly over noodles, followed by cottage cheese mixture. Finish with 3 noodles, remaining cup spinach mixture, and remaining cup fontina. Lightly spray large sheet foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes, then remove foil. Remove lasagna and adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Broil lasagna until cheese is spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve.

                          1. On homemade pizza! Thrown in lentil soup after it's turned off. There's a spinach salad with dried cranberries in it that I've had but never made and don't recall what else is in it.

                            1. I usually do this w/baby spinach but you can use the growed-up kind!
                              Get a large, flat pan good and hot- add some olive oil and the rinsed, dried and rough chopped spinach then lower the heat.
                              Have ready about 4 cloves of chunky chopped garlic, some chicken broth and some good grated parm.
                              Once the spinach wilts add some chicken broth, and let the garlic cook to tender but don't let it brown.
                              Get a good cover of cheese on top of everything and turn the heat off.
                              You may like it with black pepper (I do)
                              I can survive on just that for a few weeks-it's my #1 green veggie pick. I can do it with other veggies and it's good, but for some reason the spinach is just tastier.

                              1. A light cream of spinach soup is a favorite with fresh fennel and some shredded carrots. It has a wonderful flavor.

                                Fresh spinach lightly pan sauteed with garlic and onion, feta, some tomatoes in a pita pocked. No need for meat

                                Also spinach patties mixed with chick peas and garden veggies are wonderful.

                                1. If you are craving something Japanese, quickly blanch the spinach and top with soy sauce and sesame oil. If you have some toasted sesame seeds, toss them on top after crushing.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Yukari

                                    I made a spinach salad found on http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/ it was out of this world!

                                  2. Spinach with Bacon and Pine Nuts!

                                    Fry small bacon pieces or cubed pancetta until almost crispy; drain off some of the excess fat so the pan is simply lightly oiled. Add chopped garlic and spinach and saute; toss with toasted pine nuts, a splash of balsamic, and a little salt. A quicker/slightly healthier version saute's the spinach in olive oil, and then toss with pre-cooked turkey bacon pieces before serving. Don't use soy bacon; it's awful. A delicious side, or make a lot for a meal and serve with garlic bread or fresh tomato bruschetta.

                                    I also like a simple sauteed spinach with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Nice and light on hot nights.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: thursday

                                      Because of Batali, I rarely use crushed or chopped garlic anymore. I slice it. As he says, then anyone who doesn't want to bite into garlic can pick it out. So I lightly oil a saute pan, throw in the roughly chopped spinach and the sliced garlic. Cook til done to my liking, squeeze lemon juice over, s&p.

                                      When/if the spinach gets old, toss into soup or stew at the end.

                                    2. Went to a family gathering yesterday and my husband's cousin had made spinach/strawberrry salad. I'm restricted from eating greens for now, so didn't get to have any, so not sure of other ingredients.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: lgss

                                        Oh that is a great salad! Walnuts, honey balsamic, some fresh shallots and even some other fruit if you want. Great salad.

                                      2. As a veggie, it is delicious Chinese style (note: this works only for fry leaf spinach, not frozen chopped or whole lelaf).

                                        It's simple. Add enough cooking oil to the bottom of a pan big enough to accomodate the spinach. Don't worry, the stuff cooks down considerably. Add about 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and1/4 tsp. MSG. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until it is done, soft, with a dark green colour. Tangy and tasty, unlike the sodden stuff that usually passes for boiled spiach.

                                        1. Spinach Update- I madea few great salads with it this week- one with roasted zucchini and feta. I also did a crostini that had spinach and fresh mozzarella. Tonight I am making spinach ricotta stuffed shells for later in the week/lunch.

                                          1. Weeknights we put a bag of baby spinach in a colander and pour a pot of store bought tortellini, boiling water and all over it.. Toss in the colander and the spinach will cook as the water drains. We usually have a red sauce but cheese and butter worksl.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: ginnyhw

                                              That borders on true brilliance.

                                            2. I made some ricotta and spinach gnocchi last night. Really easy and delicious:

                                              Wilt some 250 grams of spinach. Squeeze and drain well. Mix in a food processor with 200 grams of ricotta and 2 eggs. Add the mix to 150 grams of a/p flour mixed with 80 grams of semolina, salt and pepper. Knead for 2-3 minutes and rest the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

                                              Separate the dough into balls, roll out into long strips and cut into square pieces. Roll them onto a fork and boil them until they pop up to the surface (6-7 minutes). Serve with sauce of your choice and grated cheese.

                                              1. One of my favorites ways is for breakfast.
                                                With eggs, green onions, bean sprouts, and mushroom. Mix in a little toasted sesame seed oil, and it'svery close to egg foo yung. Serve with a light sauce, or soy sauce. YUM!

                                                I only use fresh spinach for this.

                                                1. Doesn't anyone make creamed spinach anymore? I must be getting old!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    Coll....I have 2 sons who LOVE creamed spinach...I keep a family size bag of Pict-Sweet spinach in my freezer at all times...for a quick version of it, I microwave the frozen spinach and then add some cream cheese to it INSTEAD of butter & salt....son #3 goes wild. It's a cheating way of doing it but I think people do like it.

                                                  2. This is a way spinach is served sometimes in Tuscany. 1 supermarket-size bunch of spinach is enough for 2 small servings, because spinach really cooks down a lot.

                                                    1. Pinch the stems off the spinach leaves and discard the stems.
                                                    2. Wash the leaves thoroughly in a colander.
                                                    3. Put the leaves into a saucepan without shaking the water off, cover, and turn the heat on high. Don't worry if they don't seem to all fit into the pan; stuff them in, because they will really cook down.
                                                    4. After a minute or so, open the pan and stir the leaves around. Keep stirring them around until all of them are wilted; this won't take very long.
                                                    5, Toss the cooked leaves into a big bowl of ice water. Once they are cold, drain them again in the colander.
                                                    6. Squeeze as much of the liquid out as you can, by pressing wads of the cold leaves between your palms. Squeeze hard, to get most of the water out.
                                                    7. Roughly chop the squeezed leaves.

                                                    You can do steps 1 - 7 well in advance. If so, refrigerate the squeezed leaves.

                                                    8. Saute some minced garlic in a little olive oil over low heat, in a nonstick pan.
                                                    9. Put the squeezed, chopped leaves into the pan, add a little salt, and saute them, stirring, for a few minutes -- basically, just until the spinach is heated through. (You cooked them plenty in the saucepan.)
                                                    10. Plate the sauteed leaves, and pour a little bit of really, really good olive oil on them.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: ozhead

                                                      Spinach Dal is an easy dish that I tried recently.


                                                      * 1 cup mung dal (split mung beans)
                                                      * 2 1/2 cups spinach, chopped
                                                      * Salt to taste

                                                      For Seasoning

                                                      * 6 tsp vegetable oil
                                                      * 2 1/2 tsp urad dal (split balck gram)
                                                      * 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
                                                      * Asafoetida (hing), a pinch
                                                      * 4 red chillies, cut into big pieces
                                                      * 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
                                                      * 1/4 tsp turmeric powder


                                                      1. Wash the mung dal a couple times, so it's not too sticky when cooked.

                                                      2. Cook the dal and spinach in the pressure cooker with 1 1/2 cups of water for about 3 whistles or 8 minutes.

                                                      3. Heat oil in a deep pan on high heat.

                                                      4. Add hing, urad dal, and mustard seeds. When the seeds start to pop, add the red chillies and fry for a few seconds until they brown.

                                                      5. Add the red chilli powder and turmeric powder.

                                                      6. Add the cooked dal and spinach to this seasoning with 1 cup of water and salt.

                                                      7. Let the spinach dal come to a boil.

                                                      8. Serve the dal with chapathis or any Indian bread or with rice, ghee, and lime pickle.

                                                      Recipe from :

                                                    2. These baked eggs with creamed spinach and mushrooms were delicious. I saw them on smittenkitchen, and of course her gorgeous photos made me drool. We weren't disappointed!