Most people think spinach is limited to salads and green juices, but it’s actually one of the most versatile vegetables out there. Spinach is super easy to incorporate in so many different meals and contains a variety of nutrients. While many kids wouldn’t touch a spinach leaf on its own, if you blend it into a smoothie or mix it in with sausage or scrambled eggs, your kid might just gobble it up.
Certain foods can be so nourishing and healing to our bodies—and spinach is one of them. There are various health benefits of spinach that I explore later, but first, enjoy this amazing lasagna recipe. It has tons of veggies and meat that will keep your family full and happy all night long.
- 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 lb. 100% grass-fed ground beef
- 2 (28 oz.) jars organic marinara sauce
- 1/2 onion
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1 zucchini squash
- 1 cup mushrooms
- A handful of spinach
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tbsp. dried parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- A pinch of sea salt and pepper
- Mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley and oregano. Set aside.
- Brown ground beef with chopped onion and minced garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with about 2 cups of marinara sauce.
- Add a layer of uncooked noodles. Spread cheese mixture over the noodles. Cover cheese layer with chopped zucchini, spinach, and mushrooms.
- Add 4 noodles. Cover with 2 cups of marinara sauce. Cover with ground beef.
- Cover with noodles and 2 cups of marinara sauce.
- Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 30 minutes more.
- Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese and serve hot!
Food facts about Spinach
Spinach contains high amounts of folate. Folate is a type of B vitamin that helps synthesize and regulate neurotransmitters (those little guys that help brain cells send messages!) This means that spinach is crazy good for brain health. Folate has also been shown to help reduce depressive symptoms in people, making spinach a great way to keep your mental health boosted.
Spinach is also a source of l-tyrosine. This is an amino that helps synthesize dopamine (a neurotransmitter). “Dopamine is believed to play a role in cognitive function, reward, motivation, and allowing us to feel pleasure… There is significant evidence to support the hypothesis that low dopamine can: impair cognition, decrease motivation, and make us feel totally apathetic… Dopamine doesn’t just magically appear in the brain, our body manufactures it by breaking down the amnio acid tyrosine–which can be obtained from food sources.” If you didn’t pick up on it yet, spinach is amazing for your brain.
Spinach is also high in many phytonutrients! Check out this list:
- Lutein: a compound linked to improved eye health
- Kaempferol: an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of cancer and chronic diseases
- Nitrates: may promote hearth health
- Quercetin: wards off infection and inflammation. Spinach is one of the richest dietary sources of this nutrient!
- Zeaxanthin: can also improve eye health
Other ways to enjoy spinach
- Spinach sausage omelet
- Spinach and strawberry salad with feta and balsamic glaze
- Pasta with peas, spinach, and cheese
- Mixed berry smoothie with added spinach
- Added to any casserole
- Chicken and spinach vegetable soup
- Spinach artichoke dip made with greek yogurt and jalapeños
- Add it to enchiladas
What ways do you love to enjoy your spinach? Let me know in the comments!