If you can clearly recall the cartoon “Popeye the Sailor” and the comic adventures aimed to please his shrill sweetheart Olive, probably your parents took advantage of it to make you eat spinach during your childhood. As it is like hell to convince kids to engage in a beneficial action without their free will, there remains only one way: deceiving.
I do not know how many kids in former generations who thought spinach as an awkwardly tasted, teeth annoying green leaf, started eating it just for the sake of gaining superhuman strength like Popeye. Notion popularized by Popeye was that spinach contains high level of iron to make you stronger. Unfortunately this reference was a bit misleading due to the fact that the iron content in spinach was incorrectly reported in an 1870 medical journal article by Dr E. von Wolf. Because of a misplaced decimal point, the myth about spinach was created stating that it had ten times more iron than it contains.
However, it is still an important iron source compared to other foods and a nutritional powerhouse thanks to various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in it. So, it is good to consume spinach especially during the winter without expecting it to double the size of your biceps all of a sudden like Popeye. Enrolling to a gym might serve you better if you have such a purpose in mind.
Spinach was first found in Nepal in 7th century than it made its way to Spain through 11th century. It is believed to be introduced to France by Catherine Medici who married to King Henry II and became the queen. She was really fond of spinach and liked to have most of the dishes like eggs, fish and white meat served on a bed of spinach which was called “a la Florentine” referring to her family roots from Florence.
Spinach has three types ; savoy (curly and dark colored), flat leaf (with broad leaves), semi savoy (in between two) but whichever you choose make sure not to keep it in your refrigerator more than a week since it loses the nutritional value each day. It is best to eat within two-three days after your purchase.
Even though I talked about the history of this legendary vegetable, my intention was to share a toothsome family recipe (from my family, not the renowned Medicis!). Recipe is featuring not the spinach but its roots. So next time you buy spinach please keep their roots aside so as to try this recipe. You will feel sorry for the spinach roots you threw away until now. This is a perfect meal for a balanced diet with its protein content coming from green lentil and chickpeas along with all the valuable elements of spinach roots, and a vitamin C boost thanks to generous lemon juice.
So, make yourself a favor with the following recipe and enjoy the roots of this ancient vegetable even if you may not have royal roots in your family.
Ingredients (makes 6 servings)
- 165 g (5.8 oz) washed and drained spinach roots (wash until you make sure that no soil and dirt is left inside the roots)
- 1 mid-sized onion
- 1 cup boiled and drained chickpeas
- 2/3 cup boiled and drained green lentils (boiling for 5 minutes is enough)
- 1 lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups drinking water
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
|1.||Finely chop the onion.|
|2.||Pour olive oil in a saucepan placed on medium heat, add onion and stir frequently.|
|3.||When onion becomes translucent, combine tomato paste and keep on stirring for an additional 2 minutes.|
|4.||Add spinach roots and blend with onion, cook for 2-3 minutes.|
|5.||Stir in the green lentil and chickpeas.|
|6.||Pour 4 cups of water and add black pepper and sea salt according to your taste.|
|7.||Stir carefully not to smash spinach roots and chickpeas and cook for additional 15 minutes then turn off the heat.|
|8.||Add juice of one lemon, stir and serve (plain yogurt is a nice accompany for this dish).|