Spinach is Greener than Grass, on Both Sides

31 Mar

While music artists such as Ray Charles and Billy Joel seem to have American states on their mind , I seem to always have spinach on mine. It is creeping into all of my meals. My hands unwittingly nudge a bag of spinach out of the refrigerator, then excitedly plop the leaves into a  pan of food simmering on the stove top. If I’m not careful, the cheese in my macaroni and cheese will soon be replaced with spinach, I will justify extra carbs by the addition of cooked spinach, and I’ll even be anticipating Popeye-esque muscle bulges.

Though I wouldn’t mention this ingredient’s increasing prevalence in my life on, say, a first date, at least I’m stalling old age. That’s right. I did a little research and discovered some interesting, dare I say exciting, health benefits of spinach. Researchers involved in The Chicago Health and Aging Project reported that eating three servings of spinach (or other green, leafy, vegetables) each day could slow down cognitive decline by 40%. That equates to five years of younger age, according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The anti-aging benefits of spinach are due to the  antioxidants it is packed with, which block the effects of free radicals – toxins produced by the body that damage cells and can lead to heart disease, cancer and strokes.

Ok, ok – I’ll stop now, for the sake of any readers I haven’t already lost. Below is a simple recipe for pesto and noodles. It took me about 20 minutes, flat, to make it last Sunday. Enjoy!

PESTO WITH FETTUCCINE NOODLES

INGREDIENTS (Makes 4 servings):

– 10 oz. package frozen spinach

– 3 cloves garlic (or 1 Tbs. minced garlic)

– 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

– 1 tsp salt

– 1/4 tsp pepper

– 1/4 cup oil

– 1/4 cup water

– 6 oz. fettuccine noodles

DIRECTIONS:

1. Prepare fettuccine noodles according to dire

ctions on box.

2. Combine spinach, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, oil, and water in a blender or foodprocesser. Pulse until well combined.

3. Combine cold pesto with hot noodles. Eat!

CALORIES (per serving): 325

I love, and have always loved, this recipe in some form. The one presented here is a healthier version of my mom’s (I substituted water for some of the oil, and eliminated the walnuts). But, as per always, if you have an adjustment that you think would enhance this recipe, tweak it.

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