Ah, spinach. These dark leafy greens are packed with nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. I started eating a lot of spinach when I went plant based thinking I'd be able to get my daily iron intake. And while I did, I got so much more. Spinach provides high amounts of iron, magnesium, folate, vitamin K, vitamin A, potassium, and fiber and is also a great source for health benefits in a number of issues. According to an article by Medical News Today spinach helps with diabetes management, cancer prevention, asthma prevention, lowering blood pressure, bone health, promoting regularity, and having healthy skin and hair.
Cooked vs. Raw
Did you know cooked spinach actually gives you 3x as much nutrients as raw spinach? This is because the body has an easier time breaking down cooked spinach versus raw and is able to absorb all the nutrients. Plus 1 cup of cooked spinach is actually closer to 3 cups of raw (because it gets smaller when it is cooked), so you're actually eating MORE spinach when its cooked.
Now, I know a lot of people don't like cooked spinach for several reasons - it can be slimy, chewy, and sometimes it leaves a weird feeling on your teeth. I have a couple of easy tips to incorporate cooked spinach into your meals and you won't even notice its there.
- Cook and cool spinach and then use it with basil in making a pesto
- Make spinach ravioli
- Chop it up small and toss it in soups, chilis, and stews
- Add it to a lasagne in a layers (recipe coming shortly)
- Add it to your Green Smoothie (recipe here)
Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary magnesium, which is necessary for energy metabolism, maintaining muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm, a healthy immune system and maintaining blood pressure.
Here's the breakdown for 1 cup of raw spinach:
- 0.1 grams of fat
- 0 mg of cholesterol
- 167 mg of potassium - helps heart, brain, kidney, and muscle tissue health
- 0.7 grams of fiber
- 56% daily value of Vitamin A - strong eyes, vision, helps heart, lungs, and kidney function
- High in Vitamin K - fights cancer
- High in Magnesium - helps prevent high blood pressure
My best advice to get you to eat more spinach is to replace all your salad greens with spinach. Any salad, sandwich, or burger topping you'd use lettuce in, replace it with spinach - its that easy!
This salad is so amazingly good! Its crunchy, sweet, salty and full of fresh and crispy ingredients. I've made a vinaigrette to go along with this salad, but its also good with a dash of Follow Your Heart Vegan Blue Cheese Dressing.
Looking for a plant based, vegan version of an egg salad sandwich? Look no further! I haven't had egg salad in years and have been missing it, until now! There's something about the combination of mashed chickpeas, Vegenaise, celery, pickle relish, and dill that tastes JUST LIKE an egg salad sandwich!
This soup has all the delicious ingredients of a samosa, and the warm and comforting aromas of a savory soup. It looks a little complex, but its super quick and easy to put together!
Want a lasagne, but don't have an hour to make it? Make this soup! It tastes just like lasagne, but in the deliciousness of being a soup!
I loooooooooove soup! Here are my top ten favorite vegan soups to make this winter and spring!
Need a little pick me up from a cold winter? This winter greens soup is a great antioxidant boost to your day. It takes about 45 minutes to make, but most of that time is just letting the vegetables cook!
Ready for an immune system boost? This bowl is full of good things for you - protein packed quinoa, antioxidant full blueberries, crunchy almonds and carrots, super greens, and more! Its delicious in a bowl or wrapped up into a whole wheat tortilla! One bite and you’ll already feel like your immune system is in super power mode!
Korma is one of my FAVORITE things to get when I go out for Indian food. Its a little spicy, saucy, and so delicious. I've made a new version with a few substitutes that makes this a super tasty dinner on those cold winter nights!
You can easily make this curry on your stove top in an hour, or in a crockpot over four hours. Its a warm and hearty curry full of flavor and spices and can be served over rice or quinoa or you can just eat it on its own!
It can't really get better than fresh spring rolls! These can be a little tricky to make, only due to the rice paper. It may take a few tries to get one right, but don't give up - its totally worth it!
Sautéed mushrooms, peppers, and onions on a bed of spinach and cashew cheese spread?! Just like a traditional philly this sammy is MESSY, but oh so delicious!
Marci had a version of this AMAZING breakfast scramble when we were in Tahoe a few weeks ago. We stopped at the Fire Sign Cafe in Tahoe City for breakfast after an incredible weekend in Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes, and South Lake Tahoe and I was inspired by this special they had on their menu and decided to make my own version. I love this restaurant and they always have a few vegan options. If you're ever in the area make sure you stop by and have some of their delicious food! Until then, you can make this super delicious scramble!
Looking for another alternative to a typical veggie burger? Try out my portobello mushroom burger! A quick balsamic marinade with garlic and black pepper and you'll be grilling in no time. Top with a zesty red pepper hummus sauce for a tangy zip!
This BBQ Eggplant Sandwich is ridiculously easy and quick - it only has 2 main ingredients. A little peeling, a little slicing, a short marinade, and a quick grill and you're ready for a great summer sandwich. The great thing is you can make exactly as many sandwiches as you like because each slice you cut from the eggplant is one sandwich.
This soup is loaded with fresh herbs and veggies - its light, yet filling and perfect for a spring dinner!
Happy New Year everyone! There are some who say that eating beans on New Year's Day will bring good luck for the year ahead. So here is a super simple and quick bean soup you can whip up in under 30 minutes and enjoy the good fortune it may bring.
I LOVE these wraps! These are my go to wraps when I need something quick, filling, and delicious to eat. A few years ago I was moving in between apartments and didn't have a refrigerator for a week so I packed a cooler with the ingredients of these wraps and ate them every day!
This is my new favorite summer smoothie! Both cucumbers and melons are super high in water content replenishing fluids after a hot summer day. Whiz this up and have a tasty treat!
This smoothie is packed with ingredients that are just going to make you FEEL GOOD. Chia and pumpkin seeds for energy, flax seeds for good digestion, cucumber for more hydration, spinach for its high iron count, blueberries and plums for antioxidants, and a banana for potassium. This is one of my favorite post- workout smoothies!
Here's a completely dairy free-substitute free potato salad that you will LOVE for hot summer days. Lemon juice, a dash of vinegar, chopped spinach, oregano, and parsley - its great for a picnic, a day at the beach, or a backyard BBQ!
This salad is just as good hot as it is cold, which makes it PERFECT for leftovers! Its great as a full meal or a side dish and perfect for pot luck dinners! Its simple and easy to make with lots of vitamins and protein!
I love this salad! Its perfect for a hot day - cool and refreshing, crunchy and juicy, and includes all your favorites - apples, grapes, celery, and walnuts. You can serve it over lettuce or spinach to fill it out, or wrap it up in a tortilla for a delicious lunch!
This Burrito Bowl is what you need to try when you want to go plant based and you're not sure what to eat. Its super easy, full of protein, iron, and calcium, and its incredibly tasty. I usually eat this Burrito Bowl at least once a week!
This smoothie is packed with ingredients that are just going to make you FEEL GOOD. Chia and pumpkin seeds for energy, flax seeds for good digestion, strawberries, apples, and beets for antioxidants, kale and spinach for calcium, and tart cherry juice for its anti-inflammatory properties.
This salad is sweet, salty, crunchy, a tiny bit tart, and incredibly fresh and filling! A great transition salad into the spring, ready in under 5 minutes!
Ready for a green power crunch lunch? This wrap has all things good in it: spinach, sprouts, cucumber, jicama, avocado, radishes, and pesto. So easy and so good!
Alright, this seems like a lot of ingredients, but its actually super quick to put together. And trust me, the extra effort is totally worth it! Tofu, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and more deliciousness!
This soup is super easy, only has five ingredients, and can be quickly made for a weeknight dinner. it is super flavorful for its simplicity and is perfect for a cold, rainy day!
Have a lot of greens on hand and don't know what to do with them? Try this out! I love this dish using quinoa pasta and four different kinds of dark leafy greens. It may seem like a lot of greens, but they cook down quickly. A little spicy with some crushed red pepper and a little sweet with added diced tomatoes.
This is my absolute favorite breakfast. Tom and I make it almost every Saturday and it really gets us going for a full day of hiking, yard work, or running errands. Its crazy how good a simple and easy sandwich can be.