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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

National Spinach Day

March 26 is National Spinach Day so pop open a can of spinach and let your inner Popeye shine. Spinach often gets a bad rip but the truth is there are many ways to make up a delicious treat. By the way spinach is excellent for  the body just take a look at how buff popeye is. Spinach was first cultivated in ancient Persia and made its way to Italy in 827 and later Europe by the  1300s. Because spinach is available early spring it is a welcome sight when other vegetables began to run short. Often the Lent season was current and that made spinach a welcome sight and was often prepared and shared in early cookbooks.

In 1522 when Catherine de'Medici became the queen of France she insisted that spinach be served at every meal because she loved it so. Spinach "Florentine" is named after her as Catherine was from Florence.

You can find a variety of spinach types ranging from savoy which is  a dark green color with curly leaves often sold in bunches, flat leaf which is often placed in canned, frozen , soups and baby foods, and semi savoy which is found fresh and processed.

Easy Vegan Spinach Alfredo Pasta
vegan, makes 4 servings

1 "large pot of pasta" (I used organic spiral semolina)
*use any variety of pasta you'd like - the dry amount will vary - but it should cook up to be around 6 cups of fluffy cooked pasta
1/2 bag frozen spinach (about 3 cups frozen/packed or 5 fresh baby spinach, chopped)

"Vegan Alfredo" Sauce:
1/3 cup reserved pasta water (from drained pasta)
3-4 Tbsp Vegenaise (vegan mayo-like condiment)
3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt/pepper to taste
*add in some EVOO for a richer Alfredo texture

-red pepper flakes (garnish)
-EVOO for tossing cooked pasta
-vegan Parmesan cheese on top
-spritz of fresh lemon juice mixed in - adds a bright zesty accent

1. Cook your pasta. Drain. (Reserve 1/3 cup of the starchy hot pasta water). Toss pasta with a drizzle of EVOO (opt'l).

2. Pour drained pasta back into the warm pot you cooked it in. Fold in all the "Alfredo Sauce" ingredients. Since the pasta is still warm, they should all melt together quite nicely.

3. Next, fold in your spinach. You should thaw frozen spinach slightly before folding in. Fresh baby spinach will wilt nicely into the warm pasta.

4. Serve warm or store in fridge overnight! Garnish with red pepper flakes on top.

recipe source here

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