Dinner

By Lindsay Hunt | April 11, 2011

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

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.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

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.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

  • 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

Directions

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.

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