When talking about cooking with spinach, Chef Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute immediately clarifies how these tips are intended for spinach grown at The Chef’s Garden and available at Farmer Jones Farm.
“Our spinach,” he says, “is substantial and sweet with beautiful leaves and fantastic texture, nothing like flat baby spinach available in a bag.”
One of the simplest ways to cook spinach, he shares, is by steaming the leaves until they start to wilt. Because of the rich texture of fresh spinach available at the farm, this can take longer than it would for traditional baby leaves, but it’s still important not to overcook them.
“There’s no specific time and temperature that I can give you,” Jamie says, “because the amount of time can change over the seasons with spinach becoming even more delicious and wonderful as the temperatures cool. So, take the spinach off the heat when leaves start to brighten and just begin to soften and lose their natural shape.”
Or, if you’d like to cook your spinach down, do so with butter, cumin, and a bit of stock liquid.
“You can also fry your spinach and then use them in salads and on sandwiches,” Jamie shares. “I once had a hot dog with fried spinach on top and that was so cool. Because our spinach isn’t as delicate, it holds up well when frying.”
You can also take our spinach and marinade it like a steak and then “throw it on the grill until it chars on the edges. You can add garlic to this application for a fantastic side dish.”
Then there are spinach sauces. “These are really fun,” Jamie shares. “You juice the spinach and end up with a really rich liquid that you can warm on the stove with butter for a beautifully easy green sauce that pairs well with poultry, a fresh contrast to the flavor of pheasant, quail, and so forth.”
Plus, of course, you can steam and chill spinach before lightly dressing it for a flavorful salad. You can add fermented radishes, bean sprouts, kimchi, whatever appeals to you. “I promise you,” Jamie says, “that whatever applications you use, this is not like your grandmother’s green spinach.”
Finally, Jamie says that he loves exploring the use of spinach with the “usual suspects,” meaning simply using spinach, as is, in salads with raw mushroom, red onion, a smoky hard-boiled egg, and a light balsamic dressing.
Here are some of our favorite spinach recipes:
- Spinach Salad with Warm Beet Vinaigrette and Shaved Watermelon Radishes
- Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Old School Creamed Spinach
- Paleo Warm Spinach Fall Harvest Salad
- Baked Rigatoni with Garlic Artichoke and Wilted Greens
Besides being incredibly flavorful, spinach also provides plenty of health benefits. Here’s a quick overview.
Health Benefits of Spinach
Brimming with healthful vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, we share information about them in our post about the Magical Spinach Plant. As an overview, spinach provides calcium, iron, magnesium, and more and flushes out free radicals (that can help to prevent cancer). Thanks to its high potassium levels, this can be a good food to regularly incorporate into your diet if you’ve got high blood pressure (with its vitamin C playing a role in blood pressure management). For better bone health, spinach is recommended because of its calcium and vitamin K.
Because of antioxidants found in spinach, this lovely leafy vegetable can help with eye health. Spinach provides immunity strengthening and anti-inflammatory benefits as well as assisting in brain health and more.
Order Your Farm-Fresh Spinach
You can order your delicious and nutritious, regeneratively farmed fresh spinach here. Try our recipes and cooking tips or use yours in family favorites!