Spinach: one of natures vitamin pills.
Perpetual Spinach in my winter garden.
The winter garden is sparse after a bountiful summer and autumn harvest, spinach and silver beet or swiss chard as it is often known, are an abundant source of winter greens.
I have a mixture of different varieties of spinach and silver beet growing all year round and pick it fresh just before I need to cook it, vegetables start to loose their vitamin and mineral content as soon as they are harvested and the faster they loose their water content, the faster nutrients are decreased. It is best to tear salad greens and leafy vegetables, when torn they break away along the cell boundaries, when you cut them with a knife, you cut through the cell structure releasing nutrients faster.
Spinach would seem to have originated in the middle-east and early records trace it back to Persia during the 2nd – 6th century A.D and in early documents from the 7th Century A.D in China after it was introduced from Nepal. It wasn’t until the 11th century A.D that the Moors introduced spinach to Europe.
Spinach contains flavonoids and carotenoids, it is a rich source of vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, K and the minerals calcium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus and contains many vital amino acids and enzymes, including tryptophan, that are essential for our well being.
Many of the nutrients of this vegetable are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
My recipe for Spinach and Fetta Lasagne is on the recipe page, I hope you enjoy it, I will add more great spinach and silver beet recipes over the coming weeks.
Spinach and Fetta Lasagne Recipe
Spinach and Fetta Lasagne ~ Fodmap friendly
- 1 large bunch spinach and silver beet.
- 1 bunch spring onion tops or chives.
- 4 whole eggs.
- 1 cup crumbled fetta cheese.
- 1 cup grated Mozzarella.
- 1 packet gluten free lasagna sheets.
- 1 table spoon good quality garlic infused olive oil.
- salt and pepper to taste.
- a pinch of sweet paprika.
Ingredients for white sauce
- half a cup of corn flour, make sure that it is made from maize and not wheat.
- 1 litre of lactose free milk.
- 1 table spoon Nuttelex.
- 1 table spoon french mustard (un seeded)
- a pinch of sweet paprika.
- Put the garlic oil in a heavy base sauce pan and place on the hob ready for use.
- pull the spinach and silver beet leaves from the stems and tear into smaller pieces, wash and set aside.
- wash the stems and set aside separately.
- wash the onion tops and chives and chop into 1-2 centimetre lengths.
- heat the oil in saucepan, add the chives and onion tops and allow them to sweat, stirring occasionally.
- quickly chop the stems of the spinach and sliver beet and place in the pan with the chives and onion tops, grind a small amount of sea salt and black pepper over the top, turn the heat down, stir and place the lid on the pan, saute for 5 mins.
- add the torn leaves to the pan and simmer very slowly in it’s own juices.
- turn on the oven and pre-heat to 180 degrees C.
- while the oven is heating and the spinach is cooking make a white sauce ( see recipe for white sauce).
- once the spinach has cooled, add the crumbled fetta and the eggs and stir well
- in a lightly oiled large baking dish add a small amount of the milk, (lactose free) just to cover the bottom.
- place a layer of the lasagna sheets on top of the milk.
- spread a thin layer of cooled mixture on the pasta sheets.
- continue to build alternate layers of pasta sheets and the spinach mixture until you have three layers of mixture, and four layers of pasta (including the base layer) reserve a small amount of liquid from the mixture to brush over the top layer of pasta sheets
- pour the white sauce over the top.
- top with mozzarella.
- sprinkle with sweet paprika.
- bake in the pre heated oven for 45 mins or until the pasta is soft and the topping is golden brown.
- allow to cool for 10 mins before serving.
Suggested side dishes
Baked potatoes cooked with a dusting of fresh herbs and freshly ground sea salt with black pepper and a drizzle of good quality olive oil.
Fresh garden salad.