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Cover: Quick cuisine

Recipes with spinach

27Jun 12

Vegetable lasagne

Vegetable lasagne with spinach and cranberriesI love experimenting with different kinds of lasagne because you can basically put just about anything into a lasagne, and it still turns out delicious. Here is one  vegetable lasagne in which I have used spinach, due to its pure healthiness, and cranberries since they are delicious and more versatile than just in desserts. (If you like meat in your pasta, try this beef and kale lasagne.)

Did you know that cranberries have lately been marketed as a “super-fruit” due to their high content in nutrients and antioxidant qualities? They are a great source of vitamin C and are low in calories but high in fibre.

Cranberries are very much part of North American and Canadian cuisine. They use them in marmalades, sauces, desserts and, not to forget, as a very important part of the Thanksgiving dinner.

Native Americans were the first to use cranberries as food. Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of foods, but also for medicines and dyes. It is believed that the natives introduced cranberries to starving English settlers who later incorporated them into the traditional feast of Thanksgiving.

What we need:

  • 6-8 lasagne noodles
  • 400ml of tomato sauce

  • 100ml of full fat milk

  • 1 teaspoon of thyme

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 onion

  • 200g of fresh spinach, chopped

  • 20 dried cranberries

  • 100g of cheddar cheese

How to make it:

  1. Pour the tomato sauce into a bowl and add the thyme, garlic and milk.

  2. Wash and peel the carrot. Cut both the carrot and onion into small slices.

  3. Mix the spinach, carrot, cranberries and onion all together.

  4. Pour some of the tomato sauce into the oven-safe form.

  5. Add a layer of lasagne noodles.

  6. Alternate between the pasta, tomato sauce and the veggie/cranberry mix.

  7. End the last layer with the last lasagne noodle. Add the last of the tomato sauce and sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top, grated or in slices.

  8. Place in the middle of the oven for 40 – 50 minutes.

Enjoy!

Serves: 2-3

Time needed: preparation time 15 minutes and then oven time.

Level: Easy

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08May 12

Rice salad with spinach and avocado

Rice and Spinach SaladPopeye was right – spinach is a superfood! Using spinach in salads is particularly healthy as spinach is extremely rich in antioxidants and has a high nutritional value, especially when fresh. It is also good for your eyes as it contains lutein. For you gents out there, it is believed that spinach can help fight prostate cancer, and girls, take note: it is good for keeping your iron levels high.

Since I have just discovered the health benefits and many uses of spinach, expect to see more recipes containing this health bomb. This rice salad with spinach and avocado is a yummy alternative to pasta salad, using rice in a cold salad together with vegetables and topping it off with a tasty yoghurt dressing.

Having added another superfood to this salad – the avocado, this salad becomes a virtual health injection and the boost you might just need after a long sluggish winter. This is the perfect spring salad! (I also recommend this chicken, spinach and feta salad.)

What we need:

  • 130g rice
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 5 small mushrooms
  • 30g of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 small tin of tuna (80g)
  • 100-150g of fresh spinach
  • 1dl of natural yoghurt
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon of ground herbs

How to make it:

1. Wash and boil the rice according to instructions on the package.
2. Peel and pit the avocado and cut it into small pieces.
3. Wash the mushrooms and cut them into medium-sized chunks.
4. Wash the tomatoes (both sun-dried and natural) and cut them into thin slices.
5. Wash the spinach and break into small pieces with your hands.
6. When the rice is ready, take it off the heat and let it cool, at which point you can add all the vegetables and mix in the tuna.
7. Take 1dl of natural yoghurt and add ½ – 1 tablespoon of salad herbs (according to taste) and mix.
8. Mix it carefully into the rice salad or keep it separate for each person to add according to preference.

Serves: 2
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: easy

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19Apr 12

Mini pancakes with mozzarella, spinach and pine nuts

Mini pancakesSometimes in the evening I just want a little something. I feel like a small snack to put me to bed without a rumbling stomach so that I get my daily beauty sleep and well-deserved rest. (If I do say so myself!)

On other occasions, I have a house full of dressed-up friends and want to keep them entertained while they wait for the main dish. Sometimes on those occasions, a single glass of white wine just doesn’t cut it because their stomachs are rumbling.

Mini pancakes with savoury toppings is a great way to keep my mingling guests happy while still hungry enough to tuck into the main dish once it arrives on the table.
Be it an evening snack or a formal appetizer, these mini pancakes are perfect and always welcome. Spinach and mozzarella blended with tomatoes and pine nuts are a heavenly combination and will do the trick on any occasion. They are delicious – and so easy to make.

Be prepared to receive recipe inquiries!

What we need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 75g of flour
  • 5 decilitres of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 125g of mozzarella cheese
  • 150g of fresh spinach
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 decilitres of pine nuts

How to make it:
1. Whip together the eggs, flour and milk.
2. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the mixture.
3. Pour the paste into a mini pancake cast-iron skillet (or one by one if you don’t have one) and fry on middle temperature.
4. Crumble the mozzarella cheese over the mini pancakes when they start to harden.
5. Let the cheese harden.
6. Fry the spinach and garlic in a saucepan using some butter or olive oil.
7. Chop the tomatoes.
8. Add the chopped tomatoes and pine nuts to the spinach and garlic.
9. Place a tablespoon of the mixture onto the pancakes and serve immediately on a large plate.

TIP: If you don’t have an iron skillet for mini pancakes, you can use ready-made blinis found in most supermarkets. Or you can try a similar basic pancake batter recipe.

Serves: 8
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: easy

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04Apr 12

Pita bread with fried vegetables, coriander and ricotta cheese

Pita bread with fried vegetables and ricotta cheese

Like I said in an earlier post, spinach is one of my new favourite foods, and I try to incorporate it into as many meals as possible. Fortunately, when you buy it fresh, it usually comes in a huge bag which will last you for many dishes. Another reason I like to use it fresh is because in this form, it retains more of its nutrients.

Another one of my favourites, this time an herb, is the exquisite coriander which gives a dish a lovely exotic feel. I thought mixing spinach and coriander might be a good idea, and yes, it turned out to be tasty. Interestingly, apart from being really delicious, did you know that coriander can help alleviate certain kinds of hay fever? Good to know in springtime, folks!

Here is a simple recipe for a pita bread with fried vegetables, coriander and ricotta cheese. If you don’t like tuna, you can just as well add any protein, such as smoked salmon or chicken. It feels like you have just made a luxury sandwich! (I also recommend this hot smoked salmon bruschetta.)

What we need:

  • 150g of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
  • 1 small tin of tuna
  • 2-3 pitas
  • 1 small onion
  • 90g of fresh spinach
  • 1 tomato
  • 10 small mushrooms
  • 60g of fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon of salad herbs

How to make it:
1. Wash and cut the mushrooms, tomato and onion. Place the olive oil in a frying pan and heat. Once at a medium temperature, throw in the veggies and fry until soft.
2. Wash the spinach and coriander. Cut off the stems and discard. Chop the leafy part into small bits and mix them together in a bowl.
3. Mix the salad herbs into the ricotta cheese.
4. When the vegetables in the frying pan are soft, pour out some of the excess liquid. Add the tin of tuna and the salt and let it all fry together for 3 minutes while mixing.
5. Preheat the pita bread in the oven.
6. When hot, cut a slit in each pita bread and fill them with fried vegetables, ricotta cheese and the spinach/coriander mix.
7. Serve with a glass of cold beer.

Serves: 2-3
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

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