Broccoli Rising and why I Crush on Spinach
I love broccoli That’s why I call my Substack feed Broccoli Rising. But I’m easy. I have a thing for all green vegetables. I was into kale before it was cool. I’m still into kale now that the trend has shifted to mushrooms. I love mushrooms, too, but that’s another story.
I realize not everyone loves greens the way I do. Hey, relationships take time. Start with spinach, the most easygoing green. In its own leafy greenway, it’s as promiscuous as I am, appearing in almost every regional cuisine, whatever the region is — from Asia to Africa.
Our first stop on the spinach love tour is Catalonia. Catalonia is part of Barcelona, and the recipe is Catalan spinach. To call it Spanish spinach is alliterative (and I love alliteration), but it’s not quite accurate. Catalonia is influenced by the Romans who invaded and the French who live just over the Pyranees. All that comes together in Catalan spinach.
Catalan spinach is a classic tapas bar item, and the one I get most excited about when it’s on a menu, but it’s even more exciting to make at home. Catalan spinach knows how to accessorize, rocking sultanas (fancy term for white raisins) for a bit of sweetness and pignoli (fancy term for pine nuts) for fun crunch and healthy fat. Everything gets danced around in a skillet with the wee-est bit of olive oil, a splash of sherry vinegar. Take it off the heat just as the leaves start to soften and you’re done. I’ve clocked it at under 5 minutes.
The speed alone is reason to love this recipe, or at least take it out for a date. Add to that how easy it is to make and how fun to eat. It’s may be just the thing to make your child (and maybe you) crush on spinach like I do. Thank of Catalan spinach as a gateway to more green greatness, and there’s so much more to love.
easy to grow
easy to love
— nutrient density, especially folate
The folate in spinach and other leafy greens helps support your body. It can also serve to boost your mood, an important thing to remember during Mental Health Awareness Month.
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Catalan Spinach swaps
Pignoli are small, sweet, Italian and expensive. Feel free to substitute another nut — I’ve been using pistachios lately.
Nut allergy? Pumpkin seeds aka pepitas, will give you that rewarding crunch, brown buttery flavor and happy mouthfeel. They’re also high in vitamin A for glowing skin and mood.
Sultanas are sweet and photogenic, but don’t underestimate your basic raisins —they get the job, too. You can also substitute three or four dried apricots, chopped or a small handful dried cranberries.
Sherry vinegar is milder than regular white vinegar, and you want something softer and milder here. Rice vinegar is your next best bet.
1/4 cup raisins
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts, pistachios or chopped almonds
6 cups spinach, chopped
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Pour raisins in a small bowl and cover with warm water. This plumps them up.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mince garlic clove and add, cooking briefly, just until the garlic starts to turn golden and fragrant. Drain raisins and add them to the skillet.
Then add the nuts. Stir so they toast, just for a minute or two.
Now add your chopped spinach by the handful. Turn off the heat, stir and let the spinach wilt just slightly. The leaves should remain bright green.
Splash in the sherry vinegar, stir for another minute and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Looking for a printable version of this recipe? Grab it here.
More sexy ways with spinach
Borani esfanaj — Middle Eastern spinach dip —creamy good, and fun to say, too
Seven seed quinoa with spinach and sesame (okay, I have a thing about alliteration)
Hetty McKinnon’s spinach and walnut pesto pasta
Vegan Richa’s vegan palak paneer
Still suspicious about spinach? Serve up this leafy lovely on homemade biscuits.
Broccoli Rising readers, I love you all. Special big thanks to my new paid subscribers. I am knocked out. Exclusive Broccoli Rising content for paid subscribers debuts this summer. But Broccoli Rising content keeps on coming to free subscribers every week. This week’s bonus — Potcake in all his glory.
In Case You Missed It
I’m way excited to be speaking at the International Sprout Growers Association conference this Thursday, May 25 right here in Miami. Sprout growers and sprout eaters welcome. Join us!
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