Farmers’ markets burst with spring colors and make me excited to start cooking again. Each Saturday at my local market, a new exciting ingredient awaits. The last two weeks I’ve bought a shopping bag-full of overwintered spinach. This fall-sown spinach look like small Swiss chard leaves, and taste sweeter than baby spinach. Some people, including me, get a chalky coating on the roof of my mouth after eating baby spinach. These mature leaves don’t leave any of that texture, and have all the same benefits.
I’ve enjoyed the overwintered spinach sauteed with mushrooms and spooned over buttered whole-grain toast. It’s equally good as a salad green, tossed with toasted walnuts, slices of apple, and a classic vinaigrette. Drizzle with high-quality olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice for a tart and tasty appetizer.
This healthy spring sautee combines the spinach with leeks and carrots for a well-rounded, flavorful side. Make it a whole meal with brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Or, make it for a weekend brunch with two poached eggs.
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 large carrots, cut into four pieces lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 leeks, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 5 cups overwintered spinach, bottom of stems removed
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp butter
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil and heat until shimmering. Add the carrots and toss to coat in the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add the leeks and toss to combine with the carrots. Add 1/4 cup water and salt and pepper to taste. Let cook until the water evaporates, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach and toss to coat. Cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the butter and stir to coat the vegetables.
Serve over brown rice, or with whole-wheat pasta.