Greens are the darlings of the vegetable world. Kale is an obvious example, though the boom might finally be over. In its stead, we’re starting to see a wider variety of leafy eats like beet tops and collards. Even before the green mania we see everywhere from drive-throughs to gourmet establishments, salads were the go-to meals for folks trying to eat healthy. Spinach has been there through it all, even if it never induced the same sort of hysteria as those other greens. We think it’s time to give this veggie the recognition it deserves.
In terms of health benefits, spinach is unbeatable. Men’s Journal likes the green for its high levels of energy-boosting iron, loads of vitamins, and shockingly low calorie count, only 2 calories per leaf. Spinach is also a lot more versatile than other leafy vegetables, because it’s tender enough to eat raw and also holds up well to cooking. With a delicate, mineral-like flavor, it’s also a lot more palatable than heartier greens.
Though throwing together a simple salad with some sort of lean protein on top is an easy route, spinach is capable of so much more. It adapts to nearly every type of cuisine and works as both a star ingredient and a supporting player. Try these five recipes to see just how delicious spinach can be. No salads required.
1. Skillet-Baked Eggs with Spinach, Yogurt, and Chili Butter
You don’t have to rely on tons of cheese or fatty meat to make a phenomenal breakfast. This easy spinach and egg dish from Yotam Ottolenghi, featured on Bon Appétit, gets plenty of flavor from some tangy yogurt, sweet leeks, and a spicy herb butter. It also makes a great dinner.
If you usually go for sweetened yogurt in the morning, you’re in for a great surprise. The creamy dairy might be even better when combined with savory ingredients, and it’s a lot healthier. Pairing it with spinach is a great way to boost your bone health, as both ingredients will give you a dose of calcium.
- ⅔ cup plain, Greek-style yogurt
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped leek, white and pale parts only
- 2 tablespoon chopped scallion, white and pale parts only
- 10 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ teaspoon Turkish chili powder or ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus a pinch of paprika
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Directions: Mix yogurt, garlic, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with the 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add leek and scallion, and reduce heat to low. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add spinach and lemon juice, and season with salt. Increase heat to medium-high. Cooking, stirring often, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer spinach to a 10-inch skillet, leaving accumulated liquid behind. Make four indentations in the spinach, and carefully crack an egg into each. Bake until egg whites are set, but yolks are still runny, 10 to 15 minutes.
Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add spices and a pinch of salt, and cook until butter begins to brown on bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Add oregano, cook for 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Remove garlic halves from yogurt, and discard. Spoon yogurt over eggs. Drizzle with spiced butter, and serve.