I used to eat raw spinach salads frequently. However, I learned that raw spinach is very high in oxalates. Cooking does help reduce the amount of oxalates a little, but not too much. I’m not particularly sensitive to oxalates but many people are sensitive and should avoid them.
As a compromise, I always cook spinach and eat it with a good fat like bacon fat, butter or ghee. These fats help in the absorption of the minerals in spinach and they are a good source of anti-oxidant fat soluble vitamins. Without the fat, you cannot assimilate the minerals. Eat your leafy greens, but cook them and eat them with fat.
Protection from oxalates
Anti-oxidants are the body’s main response to exposure to oxidants like oxalates. This works well until the oxalate levels get too high or when infection or illness burdens the body’s antioxidant systems.
Bacteria in the gut are usually able to transform oxalate to a harmless substance. Unfortunately, these bacteria are killed by antibiotics and/or may not be colonized properly in some people. These folks should avoid eating a lot of high oxalate foods.
Spinach has good nutrition
Aside from the oxalates, spinach is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E vitamin K, the B vitamins, including niacin, B6 and folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese.
Beware of E. coli
I love the idea of a “wilted” spinach salad, but as I said, I always cook the spinach these days. The term “wilted” just refers to a quick heat — not really cooking it.
Another reason I cook spinach these days is because I am a little nervous about the possible presence of the unwanted bacterium, E. coli. Of all the many food recalls we have had in the last few years, this one disturbed me the most. No more crapped up raw spinach for me. I’ll just cook mine from now on.
- 1 pound fresh organic spinach (or frozen organic)
- 8 slices crisp bacon (where to buy sugar and nitrate-free bacon)
- 1 large onion
- 3 medium Portobello mushroom caps
- 1 hard boiled egg
- Large fry pan with cover (where to buy a large fry pan with lid)
- Jar with lid
- Wash the spinach and pick off any large stems then set aside
- In the fry pan cook the bacon and drain on paper towels, saving the fat in the pan
- Slice the onion into small pieces
- Rinse the mushrooms, peel off the top layer of the cap and slice the mushrooms
- In the fry pan with the bacon fat, fry up the onion until browned
- Remove and fry the mushrooms until they are browned and remove
- The mushrooms will release water and that is OK
- Place the spinach into the pan and cover
- Cook the spinach down until it is totally wilted but still bright green (about 5 minutes)
- Remove and place back in the sieve and press out any water
- Return the spinach to the pan the cut up any large chunks
- Return the onions and mushroom to the pan and mix it all together
- Crumble the bacon and mix it all together leaving some for garnish
- Plate and decorate the four sides of the plate with a quartered hard boiled egg
Ingredients for the dressing
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (check out the ads running on my blog for a great olive oil)
- 2 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar (where to buy aged balsamic vinegar)
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (where to buy sea salt)
Instructions for the dressing
- Mix all together in a jar with a cover and drizzle over the spinach when ready to serve
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes