Posts tagged spinach

Where to shove a bunch of silverbeet

I’m always on the look out for healthy snacks for the kids. Since silverbeet is currently in season ($3 or less for a good bunch), it seemed like a good idea to see what I could whip up with it.

As with all my recipes, I’m keen to incorporate the vegetables with as little manipulating as possible, so rather than blanching the leaves, I chop them finely instead, give them a light saute with oil and soy sauce, then I mix through the eggs and it’s ready for a quick bake. The result is like a crustless quiche – gluten free and vegetarian.

The first time I made this recipe it seemed entirely UNLIKELY that the kids would have anything to do with this ugly, green thing. BUT I was wrong. Feeding it to them as a starter (cashing in on their pre-dinner hunger), they gave this a happy thumbs up and came back for more.

Just goes to show that it’s always worth giving things a go – you never can 100% predict what the kids will & won’t like.

vegie-smugglers-spinach-bites

Silverbeet eggy bites (gluten free)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch silver beet. Washed well.
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce (use a GF soy sauce if you need)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 eggs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
8-10 baby bocconcini

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Set aside.

Use a large knife to trim the silver beet leaves off the stalks. Discard the stalks, stack the leaves and start hacking away until it is all finely shredded/chopped.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil then carefully place in the silver beet. It will sizzle and shrink. Use tongs to gently turn it over it so that it wilts evenly for a few minutes before sprinkling over the soy sauce. Stir through for another minute then set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk the mustard and eggs. Stir through the grated cheese and mix in the cooked spinach. Transfer contents into your tin. Spread evenly and push the bocconcinis into the mixture so the tops are just poking out.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Serves 2 adults & 2 kids as lunch or part of a larger meal (it’s nice with salad & bread – although that kind of kills the GF vibe, doesn’t it!).

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Other ways to cook with spinach or silver beet?

Try out my vegetarian lasagne, or these cute little filo cheese & spinach sticks.

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buy-1-get-1-free

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The best way to smuggle… spinach

In just the same way that a vegie, is a veggie, is a vege – you can get chard, silverbeet and the true English spinach and they can generally be interchangeable in most recipes. All are in season during the winter months and contain huge amounts of vitamins C, K, iron and nearly every mineral known to man.

So which spinach to use? Generally any of them can be used in recipes (except for salads, where the light English or baby spinach leaves are best), they’ll just need different preparations.

Frozen spinach just needs to be thawed (the microwave works ok for this) and the excess moisture squeezed out. The thick leaves of fresh chard and silverbeet need to be dunked in boiling water for a minute or two then drained and chopped. English spinach can just be chopped and chucked in.

For this recipe, I like to buy a bunch of fresh silverbeet and do the blanching thing. It does add 10 minutes to your prep time, but gives a really fantastic flavour that the kids will love. If the green flecks are going to cause grief for you, use a blender and pulp the spinach and it will hide in the recipe more easily.

I find though, that the amount of cheese in this bechamel-free lasagne overcomes any vegetable obstacles.

The best-ever vegetarian lasagna

This meal hides spinach, carrot, mushrooms and broccoli and I'm not exaggerating when I say that it IS the best ever!

The best-ever vegetarian lasagne

Ingredients
Cooking spray

Tomato sauce
800g can chopped tomatoes
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup sliced black olives (optional)
2 cups finely diced vegies (try broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms and carrot)
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
Salt & black pepper

Spinach layer
250g grated mozzarella
300g cottage cheese
150g other cheese of your choice (crumbled feta, grated cheddar, grated parmesan)
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 bunch silverbeet, blanched and chopped or a frozen 200g box of spinach, thawed, with the excess liquid squeezed out

500g box instant lasagne sheets
Handful grated cheese, for topping

Preheat oven to 180C. Spray a 5-litre lasagne dish with cooking spray.
For the tomato sauce, place all the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the initial crunch is taken out of the vegies and onion. Everything gets baked later, so avoid overcooking at this stage.

For the spinach layer, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to get everything mixed through well.

Now you’re ready to begin layering. This is the order: enough tomato sauce to cover the bottom of the dish, then pasta (break sheets to cover entire layer), half the spinach, pasta, half the remaining tomato sauce, pasta, rest of the spinach, pasta, rest of the tomato sauce. Did you keep up?

Top with a little more grated cheese and bake for 45 minutes or until golden and YUM.

SERVES 2 ADULTS & 4 KIDS

FREEZING & DEFROSTING
Wrap slices of lasagne in two layers of plastic wrap. Freeze on oven trays to maintain its shape and then transfer to freezer bags. Stores well for 3 months. Reheat by thawing in the fridge for 24-36 hours before microwaving until steaming hot throughout.

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