spinach-mandarin power salad

spinach_mandarin_power_salad
Spinach is an amazing powerhouse of vitamins and minerals: Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, and K, plus folic acid, calcium, potassium, and zinc. Mandarin oranges contain vitamin C. Both mandarin oranges and spinach are fat-free, and pecans are high in fiber and protein. This colorful salad is not only nutritious, it’s also beautiful, and the complex dressing provides a wonderful burst of flavor!

1/4 cup pecans, toasted
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. brown mustard
2 Tbs. orange juice
Dash of salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 oz. baby spinach leaves, washed
11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained

1. Toast pecans in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes, watching them carefully. When they start to brown and release their oils (about 2 to 3 minutes), remove from pan and place on paper towels to cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine next 7 ingredients with a wire whisk to make the dressing.

3. Add spinach leaves and orange slices; combine with dressing. Arrange salad on serving plates. Top with toasted pecans.

Variations: You can add sliced green onions if you like them, or substitute toasted sliced almonds or pine nuts for the pecans.

Download the PDF: Spinach Mandarin Power Salad

asparagus “cream” soup

asparagus "cream" soup
Asparagus is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It has been cultivated around the world for centuries, dating as far back as ancient Egypt. What’s the secret to tender asparagus? Using a paring knife, cut a half-inch off the bottom of the stalk. If it cuts easily, it will be tender. If it resists cutting, try again a half-inch higher until you find the place where it can be sliced easily.

This soup is light, healthy and tasty. It’s great for a spring lunch or light supper. Try topping it with spicy croutons, and maybe a dollop of soy sour cream.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced (about 2/3 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 15-oz. cans vegetable broth
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 bunches of medium-size asparagus (about 7 cups, when chopped into 1-inch pieces)
1 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped
6 to 8 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk

1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is transparent (about 5 minutes). Add broth, carrots, celery, and asparagus. Reduce heat. Simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes.

2. Add spinach, mushrooms, parsley, and salt. Simmer another 30 minutes.

3. Turn off heat and add soy milk; stir. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with croutons and a dollop of soy sour cream (if desired).

spinach and peanut sauce over rice

Zainab Ali and her friend submitted this Gambian recipe. Serve over rice or couscous or millet.

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3/4 green bell pepper
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach (or fresh spinach)
2 vegetarian bouillon cubes
1/4 cup peanut butter
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Rice or couscous or millet
Optional: fried tofu

1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan. Sauté onion, garlic, and green pepper in the oil until onion is translucent. Scoop out the vegetables and set aside. Add the tomato paste to the saucepan for the process called “burning the paste,” which means cooking the tomato paste until it bubbles and is thoroughly cooked.

2. Stir in the onions, peppers, garlic, and spinach. If you’re using frozen spinach, no additional liquid is needed. If you’re using fresh spinach, add 1/8 cup of water. Add the bouillon cubes. Sauté spinach until cooked.

3. Stir in the peanut butter. Add cayenne and salt to taste. Serve over rice or couscous or millet.

Optional fried tofu: Cut extra firm tofu into cubes. Place millet or corn meal in a bowl; stir in the tofu to lightly coat the cubes. Add approximately 3 Tbs. olive oil or canola oil to a medium skillet. Sauté the tofu until lightly brown; stir into the spinach mixture.

thai golden curry with tofu

thai golden curry with tofu
This recipe is not difficult (don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients). Prepare all items in advance, including slicing the tofu. For best results, rinse the tofu block, and then stand it on its side and slice the narrowest edge into four slices. Then lay it flat and cut into about 2-inch cubes. The slices will be 1/2-inch thick and will cook more evenly.

1/3 cup light olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 16-ounce package firm tofu, rinsed
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. agave nectar OR 3 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 6-ounce package baby spinach leaves

1. Place 2 Tbs. olive oil, onion, ginger, and garlic into heated large cook pot or dutch oven. Stir occasionally until onion is transparent, about 3 minutes. Add remaning olive oil and tofu and cook until tofu is lightly browned. Add a bit more oil, if necessary.

2. Add coconut milk, pepper flakes, paprika, curry powder, soy sauce, agave nectar, and salt. Stir well.

3. Spread carrot slices on top, and add spinach leaves. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Mix before serving over rice or noodles.

tomato florentine soup

“Florentine” can be roughly translated as “in the style of Florence,” and dishes with this name in the title often contain spinach. Bring the style of Florence to your table with this tasty soup.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
5 cups vegetable broth
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2/3 cup uncooked small pasta shapes or orzo
1 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Fresh basil, finely chopped

1. Heat oil in a large stewpot over medium heat. Sautè onion and celery until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add pasta shapes. Cook about 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook until pasta is done. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and basil, and stir to combine. Ladle into serving bowls.

michelle’s spring rolls

Michelle, mother of five and a great vegan cook, submitted this recipe. You can set out the ingredients and let your guests make their own spring rolls.

2 oz. dried bean thread noodles or rice thread noodles
1 cucumber, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
12 large rice-paper wrappers (8-inch round or larger)
2 cups baby spinach leaves (or other hardy greens such as kale or romaine lettuce), cut in thin strips
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
8 oz. baked, seasoned tofu, cut into 1/4-inch sticks
12 fresh basil or mint leaves
Peanut sauce for dipping

1. Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 5 minutes or until softened. Drain well and set aside.

2. Remove and discard the seeds in the cucumber by scraping a spoon on the center of each piece. Cut each piece into thin strips.

3. Fill a large bowl (at least several inches larger than the rice wrappers) with warm water. Soak one wrapper until soft and pliable, 20-30 seconds. Remove the rice wrapper from the water and lay flat on a counter or cutting board. Place 1-2 tablespoons of spinach leaves along one edge of the wrapper. Place an equal amount of noodles over the spinach. Top with 1 tablespoon of carrot matchsticks, several pieces of cucumber and tofu, and a basil or mint leaf.

4. Roll the wrapper, starting with the filling side, folding the ends over the filling as you roll and forming a tight cylinder. Serve with small bowls of peanut sauce for dipping.

spicy coconut soup

Fans of Thai food, rejoice! This colorful soup is quick and easy.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp. red curry paste (read labels; the Thai Kitchen brand red curry paste is vegan) or more to taste
4 cups vegetable broth
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 12-oz. bag baby spinach leaves, larger leaves torn and stems removed

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic until onion is translucent but not browned (about 5 minutes). Add red curry paste, broth, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add zucchini and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add spinach leaves and cook until leaves are wilted. Serve with a cool salad.