Get our newsletters

Dining In: Spinach is here, as fresh as it gets

Spring spinach and salads naturally seem to go together, and according to food expert Alton Brown , the combination likely began right here in Pennsylvania.

On the website he posits that it was the Pennsylvania Dutch who first started using early spinach in salads with warm bacon dressing rather than waiting for the traditional dandelion crop to appear in the spring.

Dandelion greens are good for you and contain a variety of nutrients, but spinach is even better, and was especially welcome in the days before refrigeration when people spent long winters without fresh vegetables.
One of the super-powered vegetables, spinach is full of vitamins A, C, K, E and folic acid, contains potassium, calcium and antioxidants, has 40 calories or less per cup and is fat-free.

Spinach is versatile in salads and pairs well with warm bacon dressing as well as fruit vinaigrettes. Cranberries, apples, nuts and tomatoes all go well in spinach salads. Chances are there will be spinach in many dishes served this weekend for Mother’s Day, whether at home or at local restaurants.

Spinach is believed to have originated in ancient Persia (today’s Iran), and was brought to Europe by the 1100s. Settlers to the New World brought spinach with them when they came to America.

If you prefer your spinach cooked, you can feel virtuous in knowing that it is one of the vegetables that allow you to absorb more nutritional value when eaten cooked rather than raw. But it still has lots to offer when the spinach is fresh; mom will definitely agree that it is good for you.

This recipe comes from Local strawberries won’t be available for a few more weeks, but plenty from Florida are available in supermarkets.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad
2 bunches spinach, rinsed and torn
into bite-size pieces
4 cups sliced strawberries

½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup white sugar
¼ teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and strawberries.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.

This alternative spinach salad recipe comes from

Spinach Salad with Bacon and Eggs
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin
olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
12 cups spinach leaves
4 eggs, hard boiled, peeled
and chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked crispy,
cooled and crumbled

1. Smash and peel garlic clove. Mince and mash with the side of a chef’s knife with the salt to form a paste. Scrape into a medium bowl. Whisk in vinegar and Dijon. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with pepper.
2. Place spinach, eggs and bacon in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.