The Amazing Health benefits of Spinach

The amazing health benefits of spinach may surprise you.

The benefits begin here but that’s not all.

Read on for all the great things spinach can do for you.

In just one cup of cooked spinach…

High in Protein – The highest vegetable protein around! One cup of spinach equals 5g of protein. (12% DV)

Super high in Vitamin A – Over 18,000 IU (377% DV). Vitamin A benefits the heart by preventing cholesterol from becoming oxidized in the body.

Crazy high in Vitamin K – Second only to Cauliflower with over 880 mcg (1111% DV) Vitamin K is essential as it helps calcium adhere to the bone making them stronger.

Great source of Folate/Folic Acid – Over 260 mcg or 66% DV. Which is particularly important for pregnant or nursing women.

Nice source of Vitamin C – With 17.6 mg or 29% DV. This also benefits the heart by preventing cholesterol from becoming oxidized in the body.

Great source of Minerals – 84% DV of manganese, 39% DV of magnesium, 36% DV of iron, 24% DV of potassium, and 24% DV of calcium.

13 Flavonoids that help to fight cancer, protect against age related memory loss, and prevent heart disease.
Decent source of Fiber with 4.3g or 17% DV.

Look through PantryDiaries for more recipes and ideas for spinach.

Yummy, Spinach and Cannellini Soup

With a few staples in the pantry you can create fresh and filling healthy meals by adding a seasonal ingredient or two.

Cannellini or white kidney beans, garlic, yellow onion and coconut oil are always on hand.

A bunch of fresh spinach added to a few simple staples puts this meal over the top.

Coconut oil, garlic and yellow onion sauté until soft and then add spicy and beans.

Add a few cups of water and allow the everything to simmer together.

I have been avoiding soup bases and bullion because they contain MSG…even the vegan brands, for the most part.

This dish doesn’t need it.

The richness of the coconut oil makes this soup tasty without any added chemicals.

This meal is very clean and filling.

Talk about cheap!

There is no excuse not to eat well when you can have a meal like this in minutes.

Enjoy and share!

Pizza Perfection! Goat Cheese and Spinach with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Sauce! Pepperoni with Fresh Oregano! The Perfect Margarhita Pizza!

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We have making pizza down to science here.

And I must admit that this is due to the secret weapon in my kitchen; My Daughter!

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She has the perfect touch when it comes to preparing the dough; which we buy at a local pizzeria, and she has the perfect touch when it comes to layering the ingredients!

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She gets the dough just right. Thin but not too thin and she has a light touch with the cheese, which is key to proper cooking.

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Her specialties include but are not limited to the Margarhita and pepperoni pizzas.

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We were so confident with our skills that we threw these pizzas on the grill! First time ever and they were perfect!

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Fresh oregano made the pepperoni especially delicious for th meat eaters but the overwhelming favorite was the Margarhita with basil fresh from the garden and fresh mozzarella.

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I tried my hand at something a bit more fancy; spinach and red onion with mushroom and goat cheese topped off with a balsamic vinegar reduction.

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The reduction came out perfectly, it was my first attempt! I simply poured about 1 cup of balsamic vinegar into a small frying pan and on meduim heat let it cook until it started to thicken.

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My mistake was to pour it over the pizza before baking. I should have drizzled it over the pizza when it was finished cooking to keep the thick texture that I so proudly created!

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Lightly blanche the spinach before layering on your pizza. It can dry and burn if you don’t.

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Tr your hand with your favorite ingredients. Be patient. Cook with loved ones and Enjoy!

Meatless Monday! Spinach and Feta Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Burger

004 spinach and feta stuffed portobello burger PD

Meatless Monday! is gaining momentum! And for good reason. Protein is everywhere! We can afford to give the planet a break at least one day a week.

Portobello mushrooms stuffed with spinach and feta were amazing!

Nutritious mushrooms are yummy and good for you.

Delicious olive oil drizzled on everything created a rich and filling burgeresque sandwich.

007portobella burger PD

I dug out the stem and brushed the tops with olive oil and broiled for about 10 minutes.

Cooking makes them meatier and tastier so don’t hesitate to brown them well for maximum flavor!

010spinach and feta stuffed portobella PD

I blanched spinach for about 5 minutes and added feta cheese and mixed well, then stuffed the mushrooms, drizzeled olive oil on top and broiled them until them until things started to bubble and smell good.

020portabello mushroom burger PD

I also broiled the whole wheat buns with a little bit of olive oil until toasty!

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Tomato and red onion added the final touch.

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Yogurt sauce would have aslo made a nice condiment compliment but we were ravenous!

We couldn’t wait to dig in!

portabello burger PD

Sushi, Scallops, Hearts of Palm and Polenta at Dante!

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Dante was the scene of a fabulous late night supper and wine tasting.

Not only did Dante roll sushi just for us; Sushi is a happy hour hour item and we were well past happy hour! But he was gracious enough to accommodate my lust.

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I find that it is best just to sit back and enjoy. I never order. I just graciously accept what this world class chef puts in front of me.

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Hearts of palm with spinach, portobello and ginger vinaigrette was amazing with crispy fried red onions.

034spinach and hearts of palm with fried red onion Dante PD

Our bartender kept the wines flowing as we took a world tour of reds from Italy to France, California and South America!

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There were Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Pinot, Malbec…..

This was, by far, one of the best dining experiences that I have had in a while.

Dante is a true gem! In Cleveland or otherwise; world class!

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Scallops and polenta are divine!

Meatless Monday! Spinach Fettuccine with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic with Eggplant and Fresh Mozzarella

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Meatless Monday! Fried Eggplant and spinach fettuccine is easy and fresh!

Fresh mozzarella puts the finishing touch on thinly sliced eggplant lightly coated in Italian breadcrumbs.

Roasted garlic and roasted cherry tomatoes add rich flavor to spinach fettuccine.

With all this flavor, who misses the meat?

Top with shredded parmesan and enjoy!

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Toss tomatoes in olive oil and roast on 400 degrees until they pop open! and smell delicious!

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Beautiful beaujolais makes dinner…beautiful!

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Egg and water then bread crumbs go into frying pan with hot oil for a quick, light frying.

Mash up roasted garlic with a fork and mix in about 1/4 cup olive oil to create a “sauce”.

Add salt to taste.
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Just throw in fresh baby spinach to the last few minutes to boiling pasta to add flavor and nutrition.

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Steamed Veggies with Pesto and Arugula Salad with Lemon and Olive oil

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I eat steamed veggies everyday, usually kale, broccoli, spinach and whatever else may be fresh that day.

Keeping it interesting is sometimes a challange.

The last thing that I want to do is add more empty calories.

I have been in the habit of keeping homemade pesto in my fridge and freezer.

I make mine with basil. olive oil, garlic and pine nuts. Real simple; real fast and real food.

I plop about 1 tablespoon on steamed veggies and it is a meal.

Another tip that I like to share is that I always slice garlic into the vegetables while they are steaming. It adds rich flavor.

003arugula with lemon and olive oil PD

This meal is filling and will keep me going all day!

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This arugula is my new favorite! Just greens with some fresh squeezed lemon and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

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So delicious, full of healthy fats, high in fiber and low in calories.

Meatless Monday! Pizza Night!

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Meatless Monday! Was Pizza Night for us this week.

The girls were in charge.

I picked up dough at my favorite pizza spot; $3.50 for one large dough which makes a 17 inch pizza. That is a great value and a tremendous time saver. Plus, you know that it will be perfect every time.

We made tomato and basil, shiitake and spinach, pesto and pine nut, and a red sauce and cheese.

For the shiitake and spinach I sautéed the mushrooms and spinach in olive oil before adding them to the pizza. For the base I spread parmesan, garlic and olive oil cream sauce spread which I made beforehand then topped it off with shredded mozzarella cheese. Delish!

The tomato, basil and mozzarella pizza was fantastic! After preparing the dough we coated the top with a drizzle of olive oil then laid on the veggies…..this one was best; Belle’s creation! Gorgeous!

Homemade pesto, a few pine nuts and mozzarella made a great light pizza which was great with the Blue Moon Belgian wheat beer.

This is not only Meatless Monday! But family night and Pizzalicious!

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038Pesto pine nut and cheese pizza Meatless Monday PD

Broccoli, Spinach and Pinto Beans with Ginger, Garlic and Red Chili Paste

010spinach and broccoli and beans PD

I wish that my meals looked as good as they taste.

How can I convince you that nutritious, yummy vegan meals are satisfying and delicious when they look so awful in photographs?

Food photography is indeed an art unto itself; an art which I have not mastered and do not see doing so in the near future.

However, making this stuff look good must take a talent far beyond my reach so I will have to ask you to indulge me; trust me, this food is great, not just nutritionally balanced but tasty!

When I make a meal like this I consider all the nutritional elements and the flavor notes, as well.

Some ingredients just lend themselves to certain herbs and spice combinations. Sometimes it’s nice to think outside the proverbial box and combine the unexpected.

And getting over the notion that you need a pound of flesh at every meal will liberate you to introduce your palate to flavors and textures that will seduce into a new way of eating.

It will also allow you to obtain necessary nutrition and micro-nutrients from foods which you haven’t been eating.

For my main meal of the day I consider a few things: I like to eat a lot of vegetables, I need to incorporate a healthy fat, and I like to make sure that there is protein.

Herbs and spices are important to healthy body function and can help fight off disease and increase overall wellness.

This recipe includes fresh ginger and garlic as well as crushed red pepper and red chili paste.

Coconut oil and avocado help provide that creamy mouth feel which leads to satiety and provide a vehicle for fat soluble nutrients.

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Ingredients

1 TBSP coconut oil
2 TBSP red chili paste (or to taste)
1 TBSP crushed red pepper flakes
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
fresh ginger to taste, sliced
2-3 Cups of broccoli
1-2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup pinto beans
1 avocado sliced, for garnish

Method

In a frying pan, saute coconut oil, garlic, ginger, red chili paste and crushed red pepper.

Add the broccoli and spinach and allow to cook; Just a few minutes on high.

Add 1/2 cup of pinto beans and allow to cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve with sliced avocado.

Enjoy!

Spicy Peanut Veggies and Pasta

007Broccoli and spinach with crushed red pepper and peanut sauce

OK. I know that some of my posts will seem really boring. I eat pretty much the same thing every day.

I follow a vegan diet and my children are primarily vegetarians; eating cheese and eggs.

But I am truly on a mission to make vegan meals tasty and completely nutritious and enjoyable for everyone. I also, try to keep these meals as inexpensive as possible.

I realize that there is a big emphasis on inexpensive meals, but keeping them nutritious is the real challange.

Adding veggies to everything is a great habit to get into and you will find that your cravings for less than healthy foods will decrease if you’re meeting your nutritional needs regularly.

Today I have put together some of my favorite flavors; garlic, coconut, peanut , and crushed red pepper.

I simply steamed the broccoli, spinach, and garlic. When that was done I added the crushed red pepper and the peanut sauce.

It was fantastic.

You can boil whole wheat pasta and add more of the peanut sauce and toss in the vegetables for a great meal or a side dish.

Use the pepper to taste. I love things hot and spicy but you could modify this.

Enjoy!
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