Get Your Superpower Like Popeye, Eat Your Spinach!!

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Interesting Fact, when Popeye the Sailor Man cartoons touted spinach as giving him a superpower to save Olive Oyl from danger, American spinach consumption increased by over a third. Also interesting, spinach was chosen by E.C. Seegar, Popeye’s creator, because a German chemist misplaced a decimal point, instead of publishing that spinach had 3.5 milligrams of iron
per serving, he published that it contained 35 milligrams of iron. What a magnificent indirect marketing tool!!
The German chemist did get it right when he said that spinach is one of the most nutrient-rich leafy vegetables. Raw or cooked it contains vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and of course is low in sugar and calories. Spinach can be used as a simple salad or side dish, but it’s potential in meal
prep is limitless.
A single cup of raw spinach contains only 6.9 calories and 1.10 carbohydrates and still provides;
 .9 g. of protein
 .8 g. of iron
 .7 g. of dietary fiber
 167 mg. of potassium
 24 mg. of magnesium
 58 mcg of folate
 And is still a good source of vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, as well as riboflavin, manganese,
copper, phosphorus, and zinc.
Spinach is high in fiber. Most of the carbohydrates in spinach come from fiber, making them very healthy carbs. Getting adequate fiber can improve function and may help with healthy weight management. High fiber intake may also help lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other similar conditions.
Spinach is loaded with antioxidants. The phytochemicals and bioactives in spinach prompt your body to release hormones that help you feel full, making you less likely to overeat. They also act as antioxidants and help regulate metabolism and inflammation, which may lower the risk of developing cancer, high blood sugar, and cholesterol.
I love incorporating spinach into all kinds of recipes, here are some ways you can too!
 Mix raw spinach with carious lettuces of different textures and add other salad veggies,
 Use full or chopped leaves to give any soup and earthly flavor, add mustard greens and kale for an extra boost of nutrition,
 Spinach can be a great compliment to garlic, onion, and ginger in any stir-fry
 Add spinach to pasta or zoodles with garlic and olive oil,
 Fold chopped spinach into an omelet, add it to a quiche, or use as a garnish to any egg
 Sauté chopped or whole spinach leaves in olive oil and garlic for a very classic side dish
Here are some super recipes that might just give you some superpower!!

Steakhouse Creamed Spinach

One of my favorites!! This can also be done using kale.
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound baby spinach
8 tablespoons butter, unsalted
¼ cup finely diced yellow onion
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 pinch ground nutmeg

Heat olive oil in a saucepan or large skillet set over medium-high heat.
Add the spinach to the heated oil and cook for 2 minutes or until wilted, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and transfer the spinach to a cutting board; once it is cool enough to handle, chop it up. Set aside.
Wipe down the saucepan and set it over medium heat. Add butter to the pan and melt it. Swirl around from time to time to melt nicely and prevent from browning.
To the melted butter, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes or until just softened. Sprinkle the flour over the onions; cook and whisk for 2 more minutes or until lightly browned.
Add the milk in a slow stream while whisking; whisk until completely combined, and the mixture begins to boil and slightly thicken. Whisk in salt, pepper, paprika, and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently.
Add the chopped spinach to the pan, stir to combine, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently, folding in the spinach as you stir. You want to mix and stir to combine the spinach with the sauce completely.
Remove from heat. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust accordingly. Serve.
Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 182, Carbohydrates 8g., Protein 4g., Sodium 215mg.,
Fiber 1g., Sugar 3g.

Italian Orzo Spinach Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 (14-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning

1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo pasta
2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach, or kale
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Toppings, freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese and/or chopped fresh basil
Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add stock, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the broth reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer.
Stir in the orzo until combined. Cover the pot with a lid and continue simmering the soup, stirring occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, until the orzo is just barely al dente. (Try to avoid overcooking the orzo!)
Stir the spinach into the soup. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with your favorite toppings, and enjoy! Serves 8.

Winter Pear and Spinach Salad

For the Salad

3 pears
2 tablespoons lemon juice
10 ounces fresh spinach
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup candied walnuts
½ cup goat cheese, crumbled

For the Balsamic Dressing

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons local honey
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cut the pears in half, core, and thinly slice.
Add to a bowl and coat with lemon juice to prevent browning.
In a serving bowl layer lettuce, pears, cranberries, walnuts, and goat cheese.
Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper until well blended and set immediately dress the salad.
Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 318, Carbohydrates 24g., Protein 4g., Sodium 263mg.,
Fiber 3g., Sugar 17g.

Spinach Lasagna with Ricotta

1 box oven ready lasagna noodles
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup onion, diced
2 pounds Ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated and divided
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
2 10-ounce packages of frozen spinach, thawed
3 cups milk, gently warmed
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 375° F.
In a large skillet sweat the onion in olive oil over moderate heat for 4-5 minutes. Add spinach and season with salt and pepper; sauté for 5 minutes. Remove from heat to cool down.
Ricotta mixture: Combine ricotta, spinach, and ¾ cup Parmigiano cheese; season with salt and pepper.
Prepare béchamel sauce: In a sauce pan melt butter and add flour, cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add warm milk and bring to a simmer, whisk well so there are no clumps, season with salt and pepper.
When the sauce comes up to a simmer cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Pan spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
On the first layer spread ½ cup béchamel sauce.
Top with 4 lasagna sheets, 1 cup ricotta mixture and a sprinkle of Parmigiano cheese.
Continue the same procedure for 3 more layers.
For the top layer spread remaining béchamel and ricotta mixture, sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese; bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly on top. Before slicing the ricotta and spinach lasagna, let it rest for 5 minutes.
Serves 12, each serving contains; Calories 412, Carbohydrates 37g., Protein 19g.