Recipe: Spinach Yogurt Dip | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Spinach Yogurt Dip

I do a lot of entertaining in the summer and I’m always looking for interesting dips to serve to guests. On a lazy afternoon at the cottage, I can set out a big bowl of fresh vegetables and some pita bread and let everyone nibble away as they please. I have some good hummus recipes that I go back to all the time, but sometimes you want something a little bit different. I liked the flavor combination of this spinach and yogurt dip. I actually drained the yogurt overnight because I got busy and didn’t end up making the dip when I intended to, and it was really thick by the time I was finished mixing in the other ingredients. Really, an hour of draining should do it.

It occurred to me that it would also make a great base for a grilled vegetable sandwich. You could fill a pita with some grilled eggplant and grilled red peppers and add a spoonful or two of the dip and it would be fantastic. It would be pretty amazing on a toasted bagel, too.

Even though my daughter has some fresh mint growing in her garden, I heeded the recipe and used dried mint. The recipe writer thought it gave the dish a nice woodsy flavor, and I suppose that is true. I think it would be good with fresh mint too, and perhaps it would give it a slightly brighter flavor. I always use mint sparingly because I find it takes over a dish and that is all I can taste, but this had a nice balance.

This recipe is from Food52.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: About 2 cups

Spinach and Yogurt Dip


  • 2 6-ounce packets spinach
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and divided into two separate batches
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tub (about 2 cups) very thick, drained yogurt
  • Dash salt
  • Dash dried mint for garnish
  • Handful crushed walnuts
  • Drizzle olive oil

Cooking directions

  1. Blanch your baby spinach. Rinse in cold water and drain well, squeezing it to get all the liquid out. Chop fine.
  2. Sauté 1/2 clove of garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil and add the baby spinach. Add salt to taste. Stir for a few minutes. Remove from stove, allow to cool.
  3. In a bowl, add yogurt, 1/2 clove of minced garlic, baby spinach and stir gently. Add salt to taste. Transfer to the bowl you are serving it in and sprinkle with dried mint, crushed walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Serve with lavash or whole wheat pita.


Super Healthy Food Combinations | Healthy and Natural World

Healthy and Natural World

super healthy food combinations

Combination of avocado and tomato enhances the absorption of lycopene, the healthy component in a tomato. When you eat spinach, you’d better combine it with a piece of orange to improve iron absorption. This article will overview the winning healthy food combinations that help the body fight cancer, reduce cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. If you are looking for a winning formula to improve your quality of life, then use less medication and take advantage of what nature gives us. And here we come to an important concept: winning healthy food combinations. Each food individually has health benefits of its own, but when paired with another food item, you get a real winning match. Which food combinations should we make in our menu?

Super healthy food combinations:

Tomato and avocado or broccoli

The combination of tomato and avocado, for example in guacamole, allows the tomato lycopene to be better absorbed in the presence of the fat in avocados. Lycopene is used as an antioxidant and an essential material to prevent heart disease and blood vessels problems. In addition, the lycopene reduces the risk factors for cancer. Similarly, lycopene in tomato sauce is absorbed better if there is olive oil than if it’s oil-free dressing. If you don’t like olive oil, prepare a tomato salad with nuts and seeds that are high in quality fat. Recently it became clear that combining tomatoes and broccoli helps prevent thyroid tumors and reduce their size. This mechanism has not yet fully explained in terms of research, but this delicious combination improves coping with cancer cells.

Apple and chocolate

Surprising winning combination is a red apple and chocolate. Apples contain powerful anti-inflammatory substance called quercetin, especially in the skin and the parts close to it. This ingredient fights against allergic reaction, heart problems, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Chocolate, as well as black grapes, berries and red wine, is rich in antioxidant called catechin that significantly reduces risk factors for atherosclerosis and cancer. Combining these foods reduces the adherence of blood platelets, enhances the activity of the cardiovascular system and prevents blood clotting disorders.Quercetin is also found in buckwheat, onions and berries, so you can build interesting food combinations such as sangria with sliced apples, bake of buckwheat filled with berries and more.

Fish and garlic or soy

Who has not combined together fish and garlic in one recipe or another? the recommendation to combine fish and fresh or cooked garlic is not mainly for taste reasons: this combination enhances the body’s ability to utilize anti-inflammatory components, reduce cholesterol levels in fish and utilize the essential fatty acid omega 3. The cholesterol-lowering effect is more powerful when eating these two foods together. Because fish are rich in vitamin D, another recommended food combination is salmon or tuna with soybean (Edamame) or other soy products. Soy is rich in flavonoid that increases the availability of vitamin D in the tissues. It is important to know that fish is in itself a perfect synergy between minerals such as zinc, iron, copper, iodine and selenium, that work together as a powerful anti-inflammatory component.

Berries and grapes

Various berries such as blueberries, cranberries, currants and raspberries, combined with black grapes and a little bit of goji berry create dish that allows our body to utilize the most of the antioxidant action of these fruits, and to give us tremendous energy.

Spinach and citrus fruits

The combination of vitamin C and iron is known to improve the absorption of iron in the cells. Therefore, it is recommended to combine foods rich in this vitamin, such as leafy greens, citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, red pepper, melon and broccoli, with a plant-based foods rich in iron, such as spinach, kale, green beans, leeks and chard.

Green salad and lemon

When preparing a green salad it’s worth remembering to spice it with a little lemon and allow our immune system and our muscles get stronger.

Grilled meat and rosemary

Roasting meat on fire exposes us to many dangerous substances and carcinogens. To reduce this exposure it’s better to roast the meat with rosemary sprigs. Rosemary contains antioxidants that reduce the amount of hazardous substances at high temperature by absorbing free radicals of the meat.

Vitamin combinations

It’s been known that a combination of vitamin D with calcium reduces the risk of colon cancer, preserves bone mass and relieves distressing symptoms such as PMS. This combination also improves the ability to reduce weight. Another familiar combination is of foods rich in vitamins that are fat soluble such as vitamin A (carrots, broccoli, peas), vitamin D (fish, milk, yogurt) or vitamin E (sweet potatoes, spinach, fish), and quality fat found for example in olive oil or almonds. This combination allows the vitamins to be absorbed effectively in our body. So try from now on to eat yogurt plus almonds or nuts

Even a bowl of oatmeal and a glass full of fresh juice is recommended, and can be further upgraded with slices of orange or kiwifruit. The combination of oatmeal and vitamin C (orange juice or lemonade, kiwi, cantaloupe melon, strawberries, tomatoes or red peppers) reduces the values ​​of LDL (bad cholesterol), cleanse the blood vessels and helps prevent heart attacks, compared with consumption of each of the components separately.

In conclusion, it is important to understand that combining certain foods may contribute more to our health and reduce damage caused by consumption of other foods. These winning combinations can fill us with energy and improve our mood and well-being.

44 Healthy Foods Under $1 | Greatist

Here at Greatist, we joke about how to deal with snack attacks and sudden hankerings for chocolate. But for millions of kids and adults across the U.S., cravings are hardly a laughing matter. Every day, people throughout the country deal with persistent hunger and live without access to nutritious, affordably priced eats. What’s worse, SNAP, our nation’s food stamp program, is potentially facing huge budget cuts that would directly impact the millions of families that rely on food stamps.

This year Greatist is participating in the Food Bloggers Against Hunger campaign, an initiative to help end hunger across the country. The campaign was inspired by the documentary film “A Place at the Table,” which follows three families struggling with food insecurity. We’re asking our readers to take part, too, by signing this petition asking Congress to protect federal nutrition programs for children and checking out the documentary in your city or on iTunes or Amazon.

We also want to help dispel the myth that healthy eating always means emptying our wallets. Below is a list of 44 nutritious (and delicious) foods that cost less than $1 per serving, from edamame to pumpkin to cottage cheese. So get cooking, start talking, and help raise awareness about this important issue that affects everyone living in the U.S. today.Forget that 99 cent bag of Fritos or dirty water dog. Stroll smart down the grocery aisle and choose feel-good foods that are great for the body and even better for our budget. Here’s our list of 44 tasty, healthy(!) foods, all for under a buck per serving. *Prices may vary depending on location and store; we averaged price based on multiple sources.


BeansPhoto by Caitlin Covington

1. Black beans, $0.30 cents per ½ cup serving, about $1 per can
These unassuming beans pack a ton of fiber and have a solid amount of calcium, fiber, potassium, and folic acid. Pro-tip: Buy the dry beans for an even better nutritious and money deal — boiling beans at home may preserve more of their cancer-fighting antioxidants [1]. Cook up some black bean soup, or make a healthy black-bean dip.

2. Eggs, $0.19 per egg, about $2 per dozen
When in need of some protein, eggs are a quick, delicious, fix [2]. Scramble with veggies for a filling breakfast, add to homemade fried brown rice, or make a frittata!

3. Almonds, $0.60 for a 1oz serving (20-25 nuts), about $5 per 8oz bag
Rich in monounsaturated fat and fiber, these super-nuts could reduce the risk of diabetes and decrease body weight [3]. (Sorry, Almond Joys don’t count.) Munch on ’em during the day, or add to a bowl of cereal or oatmeal for extra healthy fats and protein.

4. Peanuts, $0.50 for a 1oz serving (25-30 nuts), about $4 per 8oz bag
Take me out to the ball game on the cheap. Sure, peanut butter might be a dangerfood, but in their natural form, these legumes are a healthy treat. When eating in moderation, peanuts supply a dose of healthy fats and can reduce the risk of heart disease [4]. When in any chicken and veggie dish, they add a great Asian-inspired flare!

5. Garbanzo beans, $0.30 per ½ cup serving, about $1 per can
These little beans pack a serious amount of fiber. Add to a salad, roast them with curry powder, or make your own hummus.

6. Lentils, $0.12 per ½ cup serving, about $1 per pound (dry, in bulk)
With more protein per pound than beef, lentils are a filling food rich with antioxidants (and quite tasty, too) [5]. Here are seven ways to make lentil soup, along with a killer recipe for vegetarian lentil tacos!

7. Oats, $0.13 per serving, about $1 per pound (in bulk)
Take a tip from Mr. Ed. Oats are high in fiber, low in fat, and may even help lower cholesterol [6]. What’s not to love? Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, substitute for flour in cookies, or even use as breadcrumbs.

8. Pinto beans, $0.30 cents per ½ cup serving, about $1 per can
The health factor of refried beans at a Mexican restaurant may be questionable, so mash them up at home. These beans are full of protein and fiber and are a delicious addition to any homemade burrito — breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

9. Tofu, $0.50 cents per 4oz serving, about $2 per pound
High in protein and low in fat, tofu is a delicious source of protein for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Plus, soy in moderation may help reduce cholesterol and the risk of breast cancer [7]. Pan-fry tofu with veggies in the next stir-fry, or even add the silken variety to a fruit smoothie.

10. Pumpkin seeds, $0.50 per 1oz serving, about $5 per pound
Move over birds, these seeds are for us humans (and not just on Halloween)! Filled with essential vitamins and minerals, along with protein and iron, sprinkle these in a salad or roast with spices for a healthy, crunchy treat [8].

11. Chicken breasts, $0.75 per 4 oz serving, about $2.99 per pound
Forgo the McChicken on the dollar menu — a small fresh chicken breast is $0.25 cleaper and filled with healthy, lean protein. Grill ’em, bake ’em, or enjoy sliced in a whole-wheat wrap with veggies.

12. Canned salmon, $0.75 per serving, about $1.50 per can
No need to splurge on a salmon filet to enjoy this Omega-3-packed seafood. Grab the canned version for some protein power without dishing out the big bucks. Whip up some homemade salmon burgers or chowder with a twist.

13. Canned tuna, $0.75 cents, about $1.50 per can
Not only is tuna fish cheap, but it’s an easy way to get Omega-3’s (which could make us brilliant). Mix with Greek yogurt and chopped veggies for a healthier tuna salad.

14. Whey protein, $0.75 cents per scoop, about $40 per 3 lb container
Need an extra dose of protein? Add whey protein to a smoothie, bowl of oatmeal, or sneak it into the next batch of brownies.


15. Yogurt, about $1 per 6 oz cup
Skip the bagel and pick up a quick treat that’s filled with protein and calcium! Enjoy for breakfast with some granola, or as a post-workout snack. Just beware of flavors loaded with extra sugar, and remember that low-fat varieties will be lower in calories (if you’re counting). Extra points for choosing superfood Greek yogurt — though it can be more expensive, so waiting for it to go on sale is a smart move!

16. Low-Fat Milk, $0.25 cents per cup, about $4 per gallon
Got milk? One calcium-filled glass can help keep teeth strong and even help keep off those excess pounds [9] [10]. Add a splash to a fruit smoothie, or enjoy in a bowl of oats or cereal.

17. Cottage cheese, $0.88 per 1/2 cup serving, about $3.50 per 16 oz container
It’s time to put looks aside. This clumpy, mild cheese is surprisingly high in protein, and tastes great in both sweet and savory dishes. Like yogurt and most other dairy products, cottage cheese typically comes in full-fat, low-fat, and fat-free varieties — choose whichever fits best into your diet. Try it topped with sliced pineapple and berries for a sweet protein-packed treat, or make it savory in a creamy pasta sauce.

Whole Grains

PopcornPhoto by Perry Santanachote

18. Whole-grain pasta, $0.37 cents per ½ cup serving, about $3 per box
Move over, white stuff; the whole wheat version of pasta is full of fiber, antioxidants, and protein, and may help lower risk of heart disease [11]. Enjoy its nutty flavor with stir-fried veggies and hearty marinara sauce.

19. Brown rice, $0.18 per ¼ cup serving, about $2 per pound
Listen to our manifesto: Choose brown rice over white (especially at Chipotle). The whole-grain version is full o’ fiber and may cut the risk of diabetes [12].

20. Popcorn, $0.30 per ½ cup serving, about $1 per pound for plain kernels
Snack attack? Pick a low-calorie snack that’s also a good source of fiber.Pop kernels in the kitchen and add spices. Movie theater popcorn ain’t got nothin’ on this!

21. Quinoa, $0.60 per ¼ cup serving, about $4 per box
It may be hard to pronounce (that’s keen-wah), but it’s easy to prepare and packs a nutritious punch. Filled with protein and fiber, this superfood also contains nine essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce on their own [13].



22. Grapes, $0.75 per 1 cup serving, about $1.50 per pound
These sweet little treats are high in antioxidants, which may help reduce cholesterol. They’re a perfect snack when that sweet tooth rolls in; freeze them for a fresh alternative for popsicles!

23. Apples, about $0.50 to $0.75 per apple (depending on variety)
It’ll keep the doctor away, so grab this superfood for a serving of vitamin C and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Snack with almond butter or add to a sandwich.

24. Bananas, $0.20 to $0.50 per banana, about $0.60 per pound or $2 per bunch
It’s time to go bananas for… bananas. Filled with fiber and potassium, these 100-calorie “snack-packs” may even help with that hangover. Enjoy sliced with peanut butter, or impress friends with banana ice cream!

25. Kiwi, about $0.40 per kiwi
Fun fact: Kiwi’s are actually berries and are filled with vitamin C and fiber. Slice it up in that next fruit salad or enjoy straight up with a spoon.

26. Cantaloupe, $0.50 per ½ cup serving, about $3 per small melon
C is for cantaloupe and vitamin C. Filled with antioxidants, cantaloupe is cheap and makes a perfect spring or summer treat! Feeling creative? Freeze chunks of this sweet fruit for an extra-special warm weather snack.

27. Watermelon, $0.30 per 1 cup serving, $5 per melon
This feisty superfood may have Viagra-like effects, but it’s also guaranteed to be filled with vitamin C — a cancer-fighting antioxidant that helps strengthen immunity and promote bone health. Slice ’em up and enjoy (or make a watermelon daquiri).

28. Pears, $0.85 each, about $1.75 per pound (depending on variety)
It’s not just an apple a day that may keep the doc away; white fleshy pears may help prevent strokes [14]. They’re also full o’ fiber. Keep things mixed up and try the Barlett, Bosc, and Anjou varieties.

29. Oranges, $0.50 each, about $1 per pound (in family-sized pack)
Oranges aren’t just about their vitamin C. This citrus fruit is also filled with fiber, folate, and potassium. Skip the glass and go with the whole fruit to surpass the excess sugar and get a healthy dose of antioxidants.


GarlicPhoto by Caitlin Covington

30. Garlic, about $0.30 per bulb
It doesn’t only put a stink to our breath. Garlic has some smarty-pants benefits, helping enhance memory [15]. It’s also full of antioxidants to promote heart health and reduce the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s [16]. Add to a pan of veggies or tomato sauce to spice up the flavor, or roast it in the oven for a sweeter flavor.

31. Canned pumpkin, $0.75 per ½ cup serving, about $2.50 per 15oz can
No need to go pickin’ to reap the benefits of the pumpkin patch. A pumpkin’s orange color is thanks to carotenoids, a plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties [17]. Head to the kitchen and whip up some pumpkin pasta sauce or even pumpkin hummus.

32. Canned tomatoes (Diced), $0.50 per ½ cup serving, about $1.80 per 14.8 oz can
To really get a bang for that buck, go the canned route. Canned tomatoes are perfect for homemade sauces and stews. Tomatoes also contain exceptional amounts of the antioxidant lycopene that remains in the flesh even after cooking and canning [18]. Just keep on the lookout for cans with no sodium added.

33. Onions, $0.18 each, about $0.59 per pound
Quit crying — onions pack a surprising nutritious punch, including a hefty dose of antioxidants [19]. Sautée and add to an omelet, or stack on a sandwich for extra flavor.

34. Sweet potatoes, $0.50 each, about $1 per pound
The white ones may be a dangerfood, but this time around, the sweet stuff is the way to go. It tips the scale with its high levels of vitamin A , contains beta-carotene (which may help prevent cancer and protect us from the sun) and also helps keep that skin silky smooth.

35. Winter squash (acorn, butternut, etc.), $0.50 per ½ cup serving, about $1.50 a pound
Squash isn’t only an awesome racquet sport. It’s also a versatile veggie filled with vitamins, fiber, and potassium. Skip the bowl and roast a squash and fill with other hearty goodness!

36. Kale, $0.50 per cup (raw, chopped), about $2 per bunch
Popeye was missing out. Kale is the antioxidant king among all fruits and veggies, and contains vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium (phew!). Plus… kale chips.

37. Broccoli, $0.50 per ½ cup serving,$2 per bunch
Need another reason to go green? Broccoli has remarkably high levels of folate and vitamin C, which may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease [20] [21].

38. Beets, $0.35 each, about $1 per pound
These purple gems are filled with betalains, which may help prevent cancer and other degenerative diseases [22] [23]. They are also packed with folate, fiber, and vitamins galore, making them one of the best health bargains around. Chop ’em, roast ’em, or add to a berry smoothie!

39. Spinach, $0.50 per cup (raw), about $2 per bunch
These unassuming greens are unbeleafable. They’re nutrient dense with vitamin A, K, and calcium. Try sautéing them with mushrooms or subbing for iceberg in the next lunchtime salad.

40. Carrots, $0.50 each, about $2 per pound
Those rabbits are on to something. Carrots provide a nutritious crunch with their fill of vitamin A [24]. They’re perfect for dipping into hummus, or taste great roasted with other root veggies and a drizzle of olive oil.

41. Edamame, $0.50 per ½ cup serving,$3 per 10oz package (frozen)
This star legume is filled with target=_blank”fiber and protein and makes a great afternoon snack. Skip the chips and enjoy with a touch of salt for a quick, nutritious treat.


Morning Coffee

42. Coffee, $0.40 per 16 oz cup (brewed), about $10 per pound
Not only is it amazing for you, but brewing coffee at home can save some real dolla dolla bills. This morning pick-me-up also contains antioxidants to help protect the heart, and is a great pre-workout fuel to help increase endurance. Not thirsty? This kitchen staple doubles as the key ingredient for variety of other household chores, too!

43. Tea, $0.10 per tea bag, about $5 a box (varies based on type)
The varying health benefits of tea are a-plenty, ranging from their antioxidant powers to helping maintain a healthy weight [25]. Skip the sugary stuff and try brewing iced tea at home, and opt for green if looking to maximize antioxidant intake.

44. Water, free. (Well, kind of.)
Head to the nearest faucet — our bodies depend on it. Water keeps us hydrated (shocking), flushes out toxins in the body, and helps when trying to lose a few pesky pounds [26].

Spicy Stir-Fried Eggplant, Tofu and Water Spinach (Ong Choy) –

Spicy Stir-Fried Eggplant, Tofu and Water Spinach (Ong Choy)

I had never cooked ong choy, also known as water spinach, until experimenting with this stir-fry. The hollow stems require a little more time to cook than the leaves so they are added first to the wok. I found that the leaves can be a bit stringy, but chopping them resolves that issue.

1 long Asian eggplant, about 3/4 pound

1 12-ounce bunch water spinach (ong choy) (substitute regular spinach if water spinach is unavailable; stem and wash leaves, and chop coarsely)

1 14-ounce box firm tofu, drained and cut in 3/4 inch x 2-inch dominoes

2 tablespoons soy sauce (more if desired)

1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry

1/4 cup vegetable stock or water

1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons peanut, canola, rice bran or grape seed oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, minced

1 sweet red onion, sliced

2 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score down to but not through the skin. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil, lightly oil the foil and place the eggplant on it cut side down. Roast for 15 minutes, until the skin begins to shrivel. Remove from the oven, transfer to a colander and let the eggplant drain, cut-side down, while you prepare the other ingredients. Then cut the eggplant in half down the middle and into 3/4–inch pieces.

2. Meanwhile, drain and dry the tofu slices on paper towels and prepare the water spinach. Cut or break away the bottom 2 inches of the stalks. Break off the thicker, bottom part of the stems and wash thoroughly in 2 changes of water. Cut into 2-inch pieces. Spin in a salad spinner, then place on several thicknesses of paper towels to dry. Wash the leafy top part of the greens in 2 changes of water, spin dry twice, and chop coarsely. Place separately on paper towels to drain.

3. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, and stock or water. Add the salt and sugar and stir until dissolved. Combine the garlic, ginger and chiles in another bowl. Have all the ingredients within arm’s length of your pan.

4. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch steel skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within a second or two when added to the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil by pouring it down the sides of the pan and swirling the pan, then add the tofu and stir-fry until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a plate.

5. Swirl in the remaining oil, add the garlic, ginger and chiles and stir-fry for no more than 10 seconds. Add the red onion and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the eggplant and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, until all of it is tender. Add the water spinach stems and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the spinach leaves, stir-fry for about 30 seconds and add the soy sauce mixture. Stir-fry for 1 minute, until the spinach has wilted, return the tofu to the wok along with cilantro. Stir together for a few seconds to amalgamate and remove from the heat. Serve with rice or noodles.

Yield: Serves 4

Advance preparation: Stir-fries are last minute dishes as far as cooking goes but you can prepare all of your ingredients hours in advance. The eggplant can be roasted a day ahead. Keep in the refrigerator until 15 to 30 minutes before you cook.

Nutritional information per serving: 217 calories; 11 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 5 grams polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 18 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 384 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 13 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”


Spinach & Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette | Lemons and Anchovies

Spinach and Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette |

I hope you all had a fabulous Father’s Day weekend. Did you fire up the grill for burgers and barbecue? Or did you visit dad’s favorite restaurant and participate in his favorite activities? My family drove up to Yountville and St. Helena Saturday for brunch and much-enjoyed quality time with my husband, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law.

My parents had their first harvest from their vegetable garden and were generous to give me a basketful of goodies when we saw each other: eggplants, cucumbers and bell peppers. After the delightful–but heavy–brunch of chicken and waffles from Bouchon, wine and a sweet treat or two, I was happy to feast on a simple dinner made with homegrown vegetables for dinner that night.

Spinach & Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette |

If you feel you’ve over-indulged this weekend here’s a summer salad that has a little bit of everything. We can’t seem to get enough spinach lately. They go in our smoothies during the day and in salads at night. And did you know that beets, though they’re often considered a winter vegetable, are at their best this time of the year? I love them raw, pickled, roasted…any way they’re served, really, but I tend to roast them at home.

When I shared a picture of my peeled beets on Instagram before I roasted them, it prompted a comment from someone that she peels her beets after they’ve been roasted. Of course I Googled which way is more common and I was surprised to see that I’ve been doing it differently from everyone else! I didn’t grow up eating home-cooked beets so I just got into the habit of peeling them before roasting them years ago; I never minded the scarlet fingers. Well. Next time I’ll go mainstream and do it the other way. I learned that peeling after preserves their color, too. You learn something new everyday.

Whichever way you prepare your beets, I think you’ll like this salad as much as I did. I threw in all the goodies in my refrigerator and pantry that I thought would go well together and you can see from the festive colors how flavorful this salad is. Salads with a spinach base always go well with a berry-based vinaigrette so I used low-sugar raspberry jam and white balsamic vinegar to drizzle over everything for a light, fruity, tangy finish. I still have a few wheels of soft cheese so I added blue cheese (brie would work well, too), candied pecans, blackberries, red onions and bacon, of course. This is a refreshing salad providing multi-layers of flavor–I roasted the beets the night before so they were chilled when I served them with the spinach. This is healthy, summer eating at its best.

Spinach and Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette |

Spinach & Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette |

Spinach & Roasted Beet Salad with Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Loaded with fresh ingredients, this is healthy, summer eating at its best.

Author: Lemons & Anchovies

Recipe type: Salad

Serves: 2


  1. Roast the beets: Preheat your oven to 375℉. Arrange them on a baking tray and roast for 35-40 minutes (peeled or unpeeled). Cool to room temperature before slicing for the salad.
  2. To prepare the vinaigrette: combine all the ingredients from the jam to the vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the olive oil and whisk until emulsified.
  3. Assemble the salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette before serving.


Adjust the vinaigrette ingredients according to your taste. I use a low-sugar jam and white balsamic vinegar is less sweet than the regular variety so this may not be as sweet as you expect. Feel free to add a bit of sugar if that is what you prefer.

Love What’s Growing Locally | Whole Foods Market

Summer is the perfect season to explore local fruits and vegetables. With tasty new offerings springing up every day, it can be hard to keep track of everything you need to try, but we’re here to help.

If you love the convenience of one-stop shopping, our stores carry local produce at its peak and the offerings vary from store to store. Chat up your produce team to find out what’s available where you live. Tip: to keep summertime around all year long, employ your trusty freezer. Just remember to clean and dry produce thoroughly before storing in a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag.

White Bean and Spinach Salad

White Bean and Spinach Salad


  • The northeast is a hotbed for late spring and summer foraging.
  • Garlic and onions scapes (the growth shoots of the planted bulb) must be trimmed in order to encourage the growth of the planted garlic and onion bulbs. Lucky for us they make a perfect pesto or addition to a summer sauté.
  • Wild garlic and leeks (called ramps) might still be available in cooler areas.
  • Creamy cooked shelling beans, like fresh cranberry beans, will certainly convert bean-abstainers to serious fans.

Summer Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Summer Chicken and Vegetable Soup


  • You may already have sweet corn and tomatoes in this region. Zip raw corn off the cob for an instant salad or impromptu topping for grilled goodies and consider canning your famous salsa or fresh tomato sauce for use year round.
  • Okra loves hot weather and is excellent sliced raw for veggie salads or stewed in summer soups.
  • Juicy, perfumed peaches enjoy a nice long season in the South. Be sure to eat as many as you can fresh, but also try them grilled or frozen and blended into smoothies.
  • Cactus paddles and prickly pears are edible Southwest fare that can be eaten raw or even whipped into an unusual ice cream. Be sure to handle fresh cacti with care.

Spiced Pickled Cherries

Spiced Pickled Cherries


  • Strawberries are at their peak right now. Find a “you pick” farm and load up.
  • Blueberries, both cultivated and wild, are stalwarts of summertime. Wild blueberries are tiny and ultra sweet – save them for special baked goods and jams.
  • Sour cherries are perfect for pickling or making into jam.
  • Summer squash abounds, but don’t forget about the edible flowers that bloom at the tips of the squash. Pick the “male” flowers that are on a longer stem, as the “female” flowers will develop into squash.

Raw Vegetable "Pasta" with Tomatoes and Herbs

Raw Vegetable “Pasta” with Tomatoes and Herbs


  • Look for specialty berries like mulberries, gooseberries and huckleberries.
  • Cardoons are celery-like plants from the artichoke family. Try them braised in a dry white wine.
  • Seabeans are a salty, crunchy summer treat that can be tossed raw into salads, or pop them in a grill basket and cook them alongside the rest of dinner.

What local specialties are you enjoying now? Share your favorite summer treats in the comments section below.