Stuff and Nonsense: spinach and greens

Showing posts with label spinach and greens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spinach and greens. Show all posts


Farfalle with Swiss Chard & Kielbasa

I was full of good intentions when I picked up a bunch of beautiful looking Swiss chard at the Newington Farmers Market last week ... but then days passed and the chard was still in my fridge and I knew something had to be done asap before the stuff started to compost in the crisper drawer.

I've made a dish similar to this with spinach and chicken sausage, so I knew my idea would work, but I forgot how much the red chard stems can bleed when cooking and so it's not as pretty as it could be. Maybe? I kind-of like the muddied ruby red.

Unfortunately, while I carefully wrote down all the ingredient amounts as I made this dish, I've lost my notes -- probably recycled them in a mad fit of tidying on garbage day -- so what follows is my best guess!

Farfalle with Swiss Chard & Kielbasa

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and rinsed
  • 2 smoked sausage links
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 servings mini farfalle
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Shredded Parmesan, if desired


  1. De-stem the chard. Chop the stems into very small pieces. Sliced the leaves into ribbons. Set aside.
  2. Chop the kielbasa, onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent. Add the chard stems and sun-dried tomatoes.
  5. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the stems begin to soften. Add the chard leaves and kielbasa and cook until the sausage begins to brown and the chard leaves have wilted.
  6. Add the pasta to the chard and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with shredded Parmesan.



Italian Pasta Salad

I'm not really sure that mozzarella and salami necessarily an Italian salad make, but I didn't know what else to call this dish. Everything-That-Needed-Eating-Up Salad? That would certainly be true, but also very prosaic.

"Antipasto" salad

Italian Pasta Salad
Serves 3 as lunch with fruit

5 oz mini farfalle pasta
4 oz baby spinach
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 small red onion, chopped small
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
6 Tbsp sun-dried tomato vinaigrette
3 oz thin-sliced uncured salami, sliced into strips
5 leaves fresh basil, rolled and sliced thin
Fresh ground black pepper, as desired

Cook pasta as directed by package. Drain. Toss warm pasta with spinach so the leaves wilt a bit. Add in remaining ingredients and toss well. Serve while still warm.
Ingredients like chopped canned artichokes, chickpeas, and olives would make tasty additions to this salad.

"Antipasto" salad


Eating the Alphabet: S is for Sorrel

I tend to think of sorrel as a spring green as it usually dies back at the onset of hot weather and does not return again until the following spring. However, this year my sorrel came back with a burst of green in early September and has been going strong ever since.

While sorrel (also known spinach dock) looks a bit like young spinach, it tastes very bright and sharp and green -- the long lost love child of spinach plant and a lemon tree? While sorrel can be eaten raw in salads or just on its on, I prefer it cooked with other ingredients to balance out its distinctive tang.

Unfortunately, cooked sorrel tends to turn a singularly unattractive shade of gray-green. I've no idea how to keep this from happening -- I think lemon juice usually keeps cooked greens from changing color, but sorrel's so tart already that adding lemon seems inadvisable. The color is not such a big deal in a brothy soup where the sorrel is mixed with chunks of potatoes and other vegetables, but it is a bit off-putting by itself.

So making a sorrel sauce for September's Eating the Alphabet Challenge? A delicious idea, certainly, but the results were not aesthetically pleasing.

Tilapia w/ Sorrel Sauce & Sorrel-Smashed Potatoes

Yes, that sauce is baby poop green. But it's yummy -- bright, tart, creamy -- and went surprisingly well with the baked tilapia. I'd half expected the sauce would overwhelm the mild tilapia, but the fish held its own. Still, I think the sauce would be awesome with something like baked salmon. Or with steak, as a substitute for chimichurri sauce!

(Of course, supper might have looked a smidge more attractive if I hadn't left the plates in our warm oven for two hours while a salesman successfully sold us a bridge).
Sorrel Sauce
Serves 2 plus leftovers

4 oz sorrel leaves, stemmed and washed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp half and half
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and black pepper to taste

Roll the wet sorrel leaves up like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons (chiffonade).

Chopped Sorrel

Add to a saucepan with olive oil, thyme, and garlic powder.

Chopped Sorrel

Cook, covered on medium, for about 5 minutes or until sorrel is greatly reduced and gone an unattractive baby-gak green.

Wilted Sorrel

Remove from heat, add a splash of half and half, and puree until smooth. Add a little more half and half until desired thickness is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Try not to dwell on the color.

Sorrel Sauce

Serve over fish or meat.

Because I had chopped more sorrel than I needed, I decided to make sorrel-smashed potatoes to go with the fish! The sorrel's flavor was, obviously, much more subtle than in the sauce, but still gave the potatoes a slight lemony tang that was really quite nice.

Sorrel-Smashed Potatoes
Serves 2

12 oz small unpeeled red potatoes
1½ oz sorrel leaves
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter, melted
⅓ cup half and half, warmed
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook your potatoes however you like (I steamed mine whole in the microwave).

Meanwhile, roll the sorrel leaves up like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons (chiffonade, again). Place sorrel in a small saucepan with the oil. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until sorrel is completely wilted.

Add sorrel, butter, and half-and-half to potatoes. Mash until desired texture is reached, adding more half and half if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
(Another way to do this would be to stir any extra sorrel sauce into your already mashed potatoes).


Improv Challenge: Pasta & Cheese

My participation in the 2013 Improv Challenge has, sadly, been a bit sporadic. Many of the 2013 ingredient pairings have struck me as more sweet than savory and I just haven't been in the mood for sweet. Happily, September's ingredients are "Pasta and Cheese." Other than a lokshen kugel (noodle pudding), I don't know how pasta and cheese could be anything but savory! (Prove me wrong, Improv-ers).

Because we are supposed to be eating more healthfully here at Chez Savory Tart, I did not whip up a beautiful bacon-wrapped meatloaf stuffed with macaroni and cheese, but made a pretty (and decidedly more healthful) warm pasta salad using whole wheat pasta, blue cheese, beets, arugula, and pecans.

Warm Pasta & Arugula Salad

While I recommend using a mild blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola or Danish Blue, feel free to substitute fresh goat cheese if even the merest thought of blue cheese gives you the horrors.

If you don't have flax seed oil, olive oil will do fine. I just find flax seed oil gives greens a lovely nuttiness.

And, yes, feel free to go Martha and roast your own beets!
Warm Pasta and Blue Cheese Salad
Serves 2

4 oz whole wheat penne
3 oz fresh arugula
1 oz mild blue cheese, crumbled
[Gorgonzola or Danish blue]
Half 8 oz pkg cooked beets, drained and diced [Melissa's or Love Beets]
1 oz pecans, crushed
1 Tbsp flax seed oil [Barlean's]
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the arugula in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook pasta until al dente (or however you like your pasta). Drain pasta and pour, still hot, over arugula. Toss until arugula wilts a bit. (If your arugula looks like it isn't wilting, cover the bowl with a tea towel and go away for a few minutes).

Add blue cheese, beets, pecans, olive oil and balsamic, and toss again.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between two plates. Nom.

Warm Pasta & Arugula Salad


Chard Slaw, Because I Can

We had my parents up for a picnic and I wanted to serve a slaw with the turkey burgers and pasta salad, but I had far more chard on hand than cabbage and it seemed a good idea to use the chard I grew rather than go buy someone else's cabbage, but I didn't want to do a hot dish ... so I made a chard slaw.

Chard Slaw

I used Better Homes and Gardens' "Vinaigrette Coleslaw" recipe as my base (what would I do without my red-and-white gingham standby?) but tarted it up a bit with sriracha and whatnot.
Chard Slaw
Makes at least six side dish servings

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
[Katz Sauvignon Blanc Agrodolce Vinegar]
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp sriracha
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground caraway
½ tsp mustard powder
4 cups chard sliced into thin ribbons (save stems for a later use ... like pickles)
1 cup coarsely shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
½ shallot, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk together vinegar, honey, oil, sriracha, ground caraway, mustard, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl combine chard, cabbage, carrots, and red onion. Pour vinaigrette over cabbage mixture. Toss lightly to coat. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Chard Slaw

I'd recommend eating this within a day of making it, because the chard started to get a bit soggy by the second day.

I think the slaw came out pretty well for a first try -- my mother certainly liked it -- and I will make it again but I might add chopped toasted almonds (or hazelnuts) and dried cranberries (or cherries). Also, maybe a little crumbled blue cheese? But would it even be a slaw then?


Eating the Alphabet: K is for Kale

July's Eating the Alphabet letters are K and/or L. I was leaning toward "L is for lemongrass" when I saw a recipe for kale salad on Whole Foods' website where an avocado was mashed into kale to form a dressing!

It sounded interesting, but I never have avocados on hand. I do, however, quite often have Whole Foods or Wholly guacamole on hand. I wondered why couldn't I mash my kale with guacamole? And then I thought, since I was using guacamole, maybe I'd like to toss in some black beans? Roasted corn? Chopped tomato? A little lime juice? Blackened chicken strips? And, lo, "Southwestern-Style Kale Salad" was born.

Making Kale Salad

Southwestern-Style Kale Salad
Serves 2

Double handful of chopped kale
½ cup drained and rinsed black beans
½ cup thawed frozen roasted corn
6 chopped grape tomatoes
Guacamole, as desired
Lime juice, as desired
1 cup diced cooked chicken

Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl and toss until the kale is evenly coated with the guacamole.

Making Kale Salad

Squeeze a bit of lime juice over it, if desired, and toss again (lime juice is a great "brightener" and, if you are not serving the salad right away, will also help keep the guacamole from discoloring). Portion out into two bowls. Top with chicken. Eat!

Making Kale Salad
How did it taste? Quite fabulous, really, and I felt totes smug eating it since it was packed full of good-for-me ingredients.


The Eating O' The Greens

There was a bit of ham, cabbage, and peas leftover from other recipes and I had the idea to sauté them together in a pan with olive oil and seasonings. The idea, I think, was a sound one ... but the application left a little to be desired. Definitely a (delicious) work in progress!

Cabbage, Peas, & Ham

I used my food processor's shredding disc to prepare the cabbage and that was not the best idea as the disk turned the cabbage into itty-bitty confetti pieces similar to what you'd find in KFC cole slaw. Not what I wanted at all and, because the cabbage was so finely shredded, in the pan it went from crisp-tender to squishy in the blink of an eye. That was disappointing and I was prepared to be displeased by the whole dish, but the broth created by all the vegetable and ham juices was phenomenal and redeemed it all.

(If I made this again, I'd definitely use the slicing disk).

Sautéed Cabbage, Peas, and Ham

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups Napa cabbage, coarsely shredded
1 cup baby spinach, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped cooked smoked ham
Zest of half a lemon
Dried savory, to taste
Ground caraway, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat until hot; add peas, cabbage, spinach, ham, and zest. Sauté, stirring occassionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until cabbage is wilted and tender.

Cabbage, Peas, & Ham

Remove pot from heat and stir in caraway, savory, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and serve over brown rice or buttered noodles.


Eating the Alphabet: W is for Watercress & Walnuts

November's Eating the Alphabet Challenge was to use U, V, and/or W ingredients. I knew I wanted to use peppery watercress when I saw beautiful green bunches of it piled in with the mint and dill at Shoprite. Not only is watercress delicious, it's full of nutrients like iron, calcium, and Vitamin A and C. I like to eat it in cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, but that's not really exciting and the Alphabet Challenge is all about excitement and pushing boundaries, you know.

So needed a new spin on watercress. Why not salad? Something light and filling and green? I was first tempted by Patti LaBelle's recipe for "Out-of-This-World Watercress Salad," but tomatoes aren't in season, anymore, and I didn't want to ruin what sounded like a perfectly lovely recipe with questionable tomatoes. So I turned to Martha Stewart and she did not disappoint. Her recipe for "Watercress Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes" is delightfully simple and seasonable. If my family was comprised of more adventurous eaters, it's the kind of dish I might start Thanksgiving dinner with. It's very clean-tasting and just looks, to me, like autumn on a plate.

From all this ...
... to this!
Watercress Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Slightly Adapted From Martha Stewart
Serves 4

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long sticks
3 Tbsp + ½ tsp olive oil
Sea salt and ground pepper
½ cup walnuts
¼ tsp sriracha
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
12 oz watercress, stems trimmed
4 oz fat free feta crumbles

Preheat oven to 450 °F, with racks on upper and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast on upper rack, until tender, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently. [Stewart's recipe cooks them longer with less stirring, but mine started to burn so ...]


Remove potatoes from oven and set aside. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss walnuts with sriracha and ½ tsp oil. Bake on lower rack, stirring occasionally, until golden (about 5 minutes).


In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, honey, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. [Or put it all in an old jar and shakeshakeshake your dressing]. Toss watercress and dressing together. Serve topped with sweet potatoes, walnuts, and feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


This salad best served while the sweet potatoes are still warm -- otherwise they just go kind of cold and chewy and that's not a good thing!

Overall, I really liked this salad.  It was easy, elegant, and completely yum! I'd definitely make it again, but I'll keep a close eye on the oven as some of my sweet potato sticks charred a bit!

If you can't find watercress, I'm sure baby spinach would work fine. Ohhh, baby spinach and blue cheese and sweet potatoes and pecans ...


Eating the Alphabet: S is for Spinach

October's Eating the Alphabet Challenge is S and/or T ingredients. Being pressed for time, I rolled the Alphabet Challenge up with homework for my online Italian cooking class and made "Stracciatella" (Italian egg-drop soup with spinach). I only began appreciating spinach once I reached adulthood and, even as recently has three years ago, I would only eat it raw in salads. Now I love it prepared pretty much anyway imaginable!

Indeed, I've grown to love leafy greens of all kinds and can only shake my head at childhood me who would only eat lettuces and cabbage for leafy greens.

Of course, childhood me would be appalled by many of the things I eat now.

Italian Egg-Drop Soup (Stracciatella)

Beginners Stracciatella

10 cups chicken broth or stock [I used half broth, half stock]
1 bag fresh baby spinach
2 large eggs beaten with ½ cup of cold water
¼ cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg [I used mace]
1 cup orzo, uncooked

Heat chicken broth in a large pot over medium/low heat until simmering, add pasta and cook for five minutes, lower heat. Sauté garlic with the olive oil over low heat in a skillet until garlic is fragrant.

Coarsely chop spinach and add to broth. Add the garlic & oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to the pot. Stir well. Make sure the broth is hot, but not boiling. Slowly drizzle the beaten egg into the soup as you briskly whisk it so that thin ribbons of egg form. Cook and stir for one minute. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Serves 4 generously.
Peppery and rich, this soup will definitely chase your Monday blahs away!


Improv Challenge: Potatoes & Cheese

I knew I had to sign on for March’s Improv Challenge (hosted by the wonderful Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker) when I saw the ingredients where potatoes and cheese. Potatoes and cheese! Is there any combination of potatoes and cheese I wouldn’t like? Methinks not.

Anyway, despite days spent pinning hearty cheesy potato soup recipes and casseroles, I ended up making "Healthy Sweet Potato Skins" from Pinch of Yum, because it used three ingredients I like a lot -- sweet potatoes, spinach, and chickpeas. Also, lots of dairy. Mmm, dairy!
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Ingredients 
Healthy Sweet Potato Skins
Reproduced with permission by the author: Pinch of Yum
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 2-3

2 medium or large sweet potatoes
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
1 bag fresh baby spinach
¼ cup light sour cream
2 ounces light cream cheese
1 cup chickpeas
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Bake sweet potatoes at 350 for 45-60 minutes, or until fork tender.

Cut sweet potatoes in half and let cool for 5-10 minutes. While sweet potatoes are cooling, saute the shallots with the butter over medium heat until translucent. Add fresh spinach and heat for 2-3 minutes, until spinach has cooked down. Set aside. [I dumped the chickpeas into the hot pan and gave them a stir 'round until they were lightly toasted]

Sauteed Spinach w/ Chickpeas

Scrape the sweet potato out of the peel, leaving a thin layer inside with the peel so that it can stand up on its own. Mash the sweet potato with the cream cheese and sour cream. Stir in chickpeas, spinach, and salt and pepper.

Sweet Potato Filling

Coat potato skins with a drizzle of oil and bake for about 5 minutes to get a crispier outside. Remove from oven and fill each skin with the sweet potato mixture and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake again for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is heated through.

Twice-baked Stuffed Sweet Potato
I love these potatoes -- they're pretty, portable, and perfectly delicious. I baked two large sweet potatoes and took a potato half to work each day for lunch. They reheated really well using the staff room toaster oven and a little foil and, paired with a small salad, they kept me going all afternoon. No three o'clock slump for me! No sirree, Bob. Not with these potatoes.

When I make these again, because I will be making them again, I might season the chickpeas and spinach with sweet curry powder and swap the mozzarella out for some fresh goat cheese crumbles.

Eating the Alphabet: C is for Chickpeas

I knew I wanted to use chickpeas in this month's Eating the Alphabet Challenge and so was pleased to find Oxmoor House's "Lemony Fusilli with Chickpeas, Raisins, and Spinach" posted on This was a warm pasta salad made from whole wheat pasta, lemon juice and zest, chickpeas, baby spinach, and golden raisins. With all that yellow and green, it seemed like an excellent recipe to welcome Spring!

Lemony Fusilli with Chickpeas, Raisins, and Spinach

I made this salad twice and the second time through I changed up the amounts of seasonings (the first iteration was a bit bland) and subbed fresh goat cheese crumbles for the shredded fontina as, while fontina is a tasty cheese, I thought this salad needed a tangy-sweet creaminess to balance the lemon. Also, I really like fresh goat cheese crumbles!
Pasta With Chickpeas, Spinach, and Golden Raisins

3 cups uncooked whole wheat rotini
2 lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (9-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
¾ cup golden raisins
¼ cup (1 ounce) goat cheese crumbles

Cook pasta as directed.

While pasta cooks, zest lemons and squeeze juice from lemons to measure 4 teaspoons zest and ¼ cup juice. Whisk zest, juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and garlic together in a really big bowl. Add spinach, chickpeas, and raisins; toss well. (I think you could do this an hour or two ahead of time to really let the spinach, raisins, and chickpeas pick up as much flavor from the dressing as possible).

Drain pasta and return to hot pot. Immediately add the spinach mixture, stirring until spinach wilts. Taste for salt. Serve warm sprinkled with goat cheese crumbles. Serves 4.


Easy Mixed Greens & Tomatoes

Last week I was at Shoprite looking for The Husband's favorite ice cream and, while I didn't find that, I did find a big display Glory Foods bagged chopped greens! Super-excited, I snapped up a bag of mixed greens and brought it home, full of fantasies of the good things I could make from it. When I got home, I knew I wanted "proper" greens -- rich, flavorful, hearty greens -- but I didn't want to use meat in the dish. I ended up with this, which is an amalgamation of ideas I found on the internetz and, yes, the recipe on the back of the greens' bag:

Greens & Tomaters

Easy Greens & Tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 16 oz bag Glory Foods chopped mixed greens
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth stock
A dash or two of liquid smoke
1 14.5 oz can Muir Glen no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
Salt and black pepper, as desired
Red wine vinegar, as desired.

Heat oil in a French/Dutch oven. Sauté onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes until onion is until tender and fragrant. Add greens and cook for about a minute, stirring. Add broth and liquid smoke, cover pot, and simmer on low for about 40 minutes or until the greens are much reduced in volume and most of the liquid has cooked away. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until tomatoes are heated through. Season with salt and pepper, as desired, and serve drizzled with a little red wine vinegar.
Oh, this was delicious! I used leftover cheddar biscuits to sop up the pot liquor and it was an awesome flavor combination.