Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever — or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples every which way.
I used to think of spinach as one of those underwhelming, ubiquitous green vegetables, prepared only one of two ways: used as salad greens or simply sautéed with garlic and oil. As I got older, I became increasingly aware that what I thought was an underwhelming vegetable is actually quite beautiful, and tasty, and lends itself to all sorts of dishes.
While it’s available throughout the year, spinach is best in the spring; it’s one of the first greens available at the markets, and usually one of the last to leave before it closes for winter. Here are some of my favorite meals to make with this nutrient-packed green.
Spring Onion, Spinach, and Pine Nut Soup with Toasted Cumin
Spring soups are a favorite around my house. In this one, I love the combination of the mildly bitter spinach and the subtleness of spring alliums. The pine nuts add a few nutty notes — and some creaminess — while the cumin offers toastiness. One pot is all you need to bring it all together for a cozy spring meal.
Vegan Spinach and Chive Pesto
There are many greens and herbs that lend themselves well to pesto. But each spring, I find myself coming back to this spinach and chive combination; it’s hearty and light all at the same time, plus the pistachios give its flavor a bit more depth. Pair it with your favorite pasta, slather it over vegetables, use it as a dressing, or try it on any pizza or flatbread.
Lemon-Braised Spinach and Egg Toasts
These braised spinach and egg toasts are a quick and comforting meal for any day of the week. Braising sounds a lot more complicated than it is; all that’s needed here is some olive oil, a bit of chopped shallot or onion, roughly chopped spinach, and a squeeze of lemon. Cook it up for a couple of minutes and add it to a piece of avocado toast topped with a soft-boiled egg. Go ahead, put an egg on it!
Chopped Spinach Fattoush Salad with Tahini-Sumac Sauce
Fattoush hails from many parts of the Middle East. Generally, fattoush salads are made up of seasonal, chopped vegetables, a bit of stale pita or flatbread, and lots of herbs. Here, I chose to highlight spinach in its raw form — chopped a bit along with vegetables, a whole bunch of parsley, mint, chives, and a creamy, tahini-sumac sauce. This is one of my absolute favorite things to eat.
Spinach, Mung Bean, and Millet Burgers
Spinach gives a veggie burger a vibrant green color, along with a bit of earthiness that’s not too overpowering. Prepare it on the stovetop, bake it in a hot oven, or cook it outside on a grill — it’s up to you. And they can be made ahead of time, too, then kept in the freezer, defrosted, and cooked whenever you’re ready.
Makes 4 burgers
1/2 cup cooked mung beans
1/2 cup cooked millet
3/4 cup fresh spinach, washed and stems trimmed
2 large leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or chili powder)
Salt to taste
Olive oil for cooking
- Add all ingredients to a food processor, and blend until mixture comes together. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to a day. (If you’re pressed for time, you can skip this, but I like chilling them for as long as possible to let the flavors meld.)
- Make the veggie burger patties. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop the mixture to form a round patty. Using you hands, form the patties with 3/4-inch thickness and about 2 1/2-inch diameter. Repeat with remaining mixture and set the patties aside.
- Heat a 10-inch skillet over a medium-low flame. When pan is hot, add a bit of oil. Gently transfer the patties to skillet and cook about 5 to 6 minutes on each side, until each side is lightly browned.
- Transfer cooked patties to a plate or platter lined with a paper towel. Allow the paper towel to soak up any unwanted oil.
- Serve the spinach burgers with toasted buns, over a salad or on their own! I also like serving them sriracha, tahini, or mustard.
Photos by Lindsey S. Love | Dolly and Oatmeal
This article originally appeared on Food52.com: A Few Bunches of Spinach, 5 Dinners