The spinach has been looking lovely at the Market recently, and it’s such a handy and versatile green. Chop fresh spinach to add to almost any soup, salad, or sauce. It goes great in scrambled eggs or on a breakfast sandwich as well.

Here is a trio of fantastic ways to use gorgeous fresh local spinach:

Sausage, Potato, and Spinach Soup

recipe from Damn Delicious

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, bulk, or casing removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb. red potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups baby spinach*
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot or over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  2. Stir in garlic, onion, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Stir in chicken broth and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in spinach until it begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

*Cook’s Note: Although spinach is deliciously tender and flavorful in this soup, you can always substitute chard, kale, collards, or other greens of your liking in any dish that call for spinach.

Lentil Salad with Beets and Spinach

recipe from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup precooked lentils*
  • 1 roasted golden beet, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

Combine the vinegar, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil until emulsified. Stir together the lentils, beets, and spinach in a bowl. Toss with the dressing. Top with the walnuts and cheese. Makes 1 individual serving.

*Cook’s Note: I have bought packets of pre-cooked lentils at Aldi. You may be able to find them at other local groceries as well.

Chicken and Butternut Gnocchi with Spinach

recipe by Paige Grandjean for Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 (6-oz.) skinless, boneless chicken thighs,* cut into 1-in. pieces
  • 3 cups (1/2-in.) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 (12-oz.) pkg. gnocchi*
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 oz. parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Place chicken in a bowl.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium. Add squash and onion; cook 8 minutes. Add squash mixture to chicken. Add gnocchi to pan; cook 2 minutes. Add chicken mixture, stock, pesto, sage, garlic, and spinach to pan; cook 1 minute. Top with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

*Cook’s Note: Gnocchi is wonderful, but you could use any chunky pasta for this dish, like penne, rigatoni, elbow macaroni, orecchiette, or small shells. You could also use chicken breast, or even another type of meat/ground meat or mushroom for your protein.