Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spinach, a Healthy Versitale Ingredient


Fresh spinach is great in salads, pasta, soups, dips and more.  It's a healthy addition to so many delicious meals and is great raw or cooks.  Spinach is full of important nutrients; folate, vitami E and lutein. 

Folate works in the production of new cells, especially red blood cells.  Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and scientists believe that it plays an important roll in immune function, DNA repair, the formation of red blood cells and vitamin K absorption.  Lutein may be able to reverse some of the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration.

Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto

  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  teaspoons dried oregano
  • 6 ounces spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

    1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot (or bell pepper) and chicken; cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to brown, 1 - 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in broth and oregano; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
    2. Add spinach and beans to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
    3. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Parmesan and basil in a food processor (a mini processor works well). Process until a coarse paste forms, adding a little water and scraping down the sides as necessary.
    4. Stir the  pesto into the pot. Season with pepper. Heat until hot.
    Recipe adapted from

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