Reasons to Love Your Fresh Spinach!

— Written By and last updated by
en Español

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.

English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

I love spinach! I love adding spinach to just about anything, for lots of reasons, one of the main ones is, that spinach is really really good for you! Spinach offers extraordinary nutritional value and the health benefits of spinach are numerous.

Spinach and other dark leafy greens like kale, collards, Swiss chard, turnip greens and bok choy are loaded with calcium, folic acid, vitamin K and iron. Spinach is also rich in vitamin C, fiber and carotenoids.

What does Spinach do for you? Spinach nutrition is amazing. The calcium content in spinach and the other dark leafy greens strengthens bones.

The A and C vitamins in spinach plus the fiber, folic acid, magnesium and other nutrients help control cancer, especially colon, lung and breast cancers. The flavonoids in spinach help protect against age related memory loss.

Spinach’s secret weapon, lutein, makes it one of the best foods in the world to prevent cataracts, as well as age related macular degeneration, the leading cause of preventable blindness in the elderly. Foods rich in lutein are also thought to help prevent cancer.

Fresh or frozen, add these greens to your food menu as often as you can. Here are ways to get more spinach in your diet. Find fresh local spinach at the Lenoir County Farmer’s Market!

  • Add chopped fresh or frozen spinach to lasagna to up the nutrient content of this tasty comfort food.
  • Add chopped or frozen spinach to your favorite vegetable soup recipe.
  • Sauté spinach with a bit of garlic for a tasty super food combination. Try it on top of a baked potato.
  • Use fresh spinach instead of lettuce to add a twist to your favorite sandwiches.
  • Add chopped fresh or frozen spinach to omelets and frittatas. Make sure frozen spinach is thawed and well drained.

Chicken Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Spinach

(This is one of my favorites to make and the more veggie you add the better, this one is a good recipe for the Mediterranean Diet too!)


  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped, drained of oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil drained from sun-dried tomatoes
  • ½ lb. chicken boneless and skinless (preferably, boneless skinless thighs), chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 Roma tomatoes chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 8 oz. spinach fresh
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 8 oz. whole grain spaghetti pasta (for an even healthier version cook up some spaghetti squash)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (use high quality olive oil or oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar)


Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, drained from sun-dried tomatoes, to a large skillet, on medium-low heat. Add chopped chicken (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs and prefer to use them, but you can use chopped chicken breast, as well), red pepper flakes, and salt over all of the ingredients in the skillet, and cook on medium heat until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Add chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh basil leaves, fresh spinach, and chopped garlic to the skillet with chicken, cook on medium heat about 3 to 5 minutes until spinach wilts just a little, and tomatoes release some of their juices. Remove from heat. Taste, and add more salt to taste, if needed. Cover with lid and keep off heat.

Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, and add cooked and drained pasta to the skillet with the chicken and vegetables. Reheat on low heat, mix everything well, add more seasonings (salt and pepper), if desired. Remove from heat.

At this point, when the pasta and vegetables are off heat, you can add more high quality olive oil, which is really tasty. Or you can add more olive oil from the jar from the sun-dried tomatoes.

**  I love sun-dried tomatoes, but if you want to make this all a little simpler, use crushed tomatoes, low sodium.

Sautéed Spinach and Sweet Potatoes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1½ teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup red onion
  • 1½ pounds spinach
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cut sweet potatoes into cubes; cook, stirring, until starting to soften, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add curry powder. Cook 1 minute. Add water and chopped red onion. Cook, stirring, until water evaporates and potatoes are tender and browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. In the same skillet, cook spinach in 2 batches, adding second batch when first wilts, 2 minutes. Drain; add to potatoes.
  4. Stir in balsamic vinegar; season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Spinach and Provolone


  • 2 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts butterflied
  • 2 slices Provolone cheese
  • 1 5oz container of fresh Baby Spinach
  • 4 clove minced Garlic
  • Dash of Paprika
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. In large frying pan add Olive Oil and Garlic, sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add Spinach and stir frequently until Spinach is wilted and cooked, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Butterfly chicken breasts, slice lengthwise down the middle but not all the way through.
  5. Place a slice of Provolone cheese over each chicken breast. Add Spinach and garlic on top of cheese.
  6. Fold chicken in half like a sandwich keeping the stuffing in. Place on greased baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle top of chicken with paprika. Bake uncovered 30 Minutes. Enjoy!

 Serves 2. Each serving contains Calories 467, Fat 20.7 g, Cholesterol 191mg, Sodium 554 mg, Carbohydrates 5 g, Protein 63 g.

Scalloped Potatoes with Spinach


  • 2½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ¼-inch slices (about 8 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 2½ cups low-fat milk
  • 1 pound chopped frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided


  1. Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425° F.
  2. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl until well coated. Divide between 2 large baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, rotating the pans from top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add, flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring for 1 minute more. Add milk; cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to medium high; cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens and bubbles, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Squeeze spinach to remove any excess moisture; stir into the sauce.
  4. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven. Preheat the broiler. Transfer half the potatoes to a 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the potatoes and top with ½ cup cheese. Add the remaining potatoes and top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Broil, watching carefully, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is beginning to brown, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  5. To make ahead: Roast potatoes (Step 2) up to 30 minutes ahead. Prepare sauce (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; gently reheat until steaming before combining with the potatoes and cheese.

Serves 10. Each serving contains Calories 212, Fat 7 g, Fiber 3 g, Cholesterol 9 mg, Sodium 318 mg, Carbohydrates 28 g, Protein 10 g.

Greek Pasta Made Easy


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 links cooked chicken sausage, or turkey (9 ounces), sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (8 ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 4 cups lightly packed baby spinach (half of a 5-ounce box)
  • 6 cups cooked whole-wheat rotini pasta
  • ¼ cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • ½ cup finely crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add sausage, onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until the onion is starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add tomato sauce, spinach, pasta and olives; cook, stirring often, until bubbling hot and the spinach is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if necessary, to keep the pasta from sticking. Stir in feta and basil, if using.

Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 487, Fat 20 g, Fiber 8 g, Cholesterol 62 mg, Sodium 623 mg, Carbohydrates 59 g, Protein 23 g.