The Green Machine

I laugh as I created this title…I used to have a car (when I was a teenager) that was nicknamed “the green machine.”  Who knew that 35 years later I would blog about spinach, coining the same nickname.

Yep, this blog is all about spinach.  You know the super power veggie that gave Popeye all his strength.  I didn’t know about spinach’s superpowers back when I drove the green machine, but I would trade the old machine for this phytonutrient. It’s a major part of my diet (and has been for a while), but is even more important because, yep…it helps with inflammation.

So what the heck is a phytonutrient anyway?  It’s a part of a plant (mostly that gives it its rich color) that helps prevent various diseases.  And spinach packs a punch.  Spinach not only is a phytonutrient, it also has magnesium, maganese, iron, zinc, and calcium.  It’s also a source of vitamin A, B6, C, and K.  All that in a dark, delicious green leaf.

Not only is spinach chocked full of goodness, it is also pretty versatile.  You can make a salad out of it, cook it in foods, or even blend it up and hide it in smoothies, brownies, or other dishes.  One of my go to breakfasts is two eggs with sauteed spinach.  It’s so easy and delicious.

So why am I so stoked on spinach?  Well, as I navigate through a new way of eating to reduce inflammation, I also want to ensure that I’m getting all the nutrients I need.  And with the versatility and taste (I personally love the taste of it), I have some every day.  If you are not getting your daily dose, you could really be missing out on some key nutrients.  And if you do suffer from inflammation, this could help.  And inflammation doesn’t mean just joint pain.  Inflammation could show up as belly bloat or low mood.  So if you are dealing with depression, the blues, belly bloat, or other types of inflammation, try incorporating some spinach into your diet.

I thought I would share a couple of recipes.  Here’s a new way to make a favorite party dip.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

FIXATE-Vegan-Spinach-Artichoke-Dip-715x358
Ingredients
Hot Water

(15-oz.) can artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained

3 packed cups raw spinach

1 medium ripe avocado

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1⁄3 cup nutritional yeast

1 clove garlic

½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

½ tsp. onion powder

Preparations

  1. Bring medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add artichoke hearts and spinach; cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and drain well.
  3. Place artichoke mixture in food processor. Add avocado, lemon juice, yeast, garlic, salt, pepper, and onion powder; process until smooth.

This dish gives you so much anti-inflammatory goodness:

Spinach and Broccoli Strata

Spinach_and_Broccoli_Strata

Ingredients
  • Hot water
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 tsp . olive oil
  • 1 medium onion , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , finely chopped
  • 8 large eggs , lightly beaten
  • 2 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
  • 2 cups raw spinach , chopped
  • ½ tsp . sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
  • ½ tsp . ground black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 8 slices low-sodium sprouted whole grain bread , cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (about 1½ oz.)
Instructions
  1. Boil water in steamer or large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high. Place broccoli in steamer basket; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender-crisp and bright green. Place in ice water bath to stop cooking process. Drain and coarsely chop. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  3. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  5. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  6. Combine eggs, milk, spinach, salt, pepper, broccoli, and onion mixture in a large bowl; mix well.
  7. Place bread and cheese in 3-quart baking dish that has been lightly coated with spray.
  8. Top with egg mixture. Press down gently so that bread absorbs egg mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes, or until strata has puffed up, is cooked through, and is lightly browned on top.
  10. Tip: Strata can be covered and refrigerated overnight before baking. (This may increase baking time.) This works well if you are serving it for brunch.

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