iStock
iStock

12 Creative Ways to Get More Spinach Into Your Diet

iStock
iStock

Craving some Popeye-esque health benefits? Incorporating more spinach into your diet won’t give you instant muscle bulk, but it does have plenty of other nutritional advantages.

A 2015 study conducted by Rush University in Chicago found that eating one to two servings of leafy greens like spinach and kale every day can stave off mental decline by as many as 11 years. Additionally, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that nitrate—which is naturally found in spinach—helps tone muscles (though chugging a can of it won’t lead to superhuman strength like it does for the fictional sailor). And if that’s not incentive enough to embrace the leafy greens, it turns out that spinach can also help to offset the damage caused by a carcinogen called PhIP in cooked red meat.

The ways you can work spinach into your diet are just as varied as its benefits—it doesn't have to be straight salads from here on out! We've gathered 12 different types of spinach-based foods to help you channel your inner Popeye.

1. PIZZA

Pizza is one of the greatest foods ever, and you can incorporate spinach beyond its toppings—get right to the foundation of your pie and utilize spinach to make the crust. The best part (aside from the health benefits, of course) is that it’s so easy to make—and you only need a few ingredients. This spinach-based crust (which packs in 20 grams of protein) only requires a food processor, an egg, and some mozzarella, and less than half an hour of total prep and bake time. 

2. HUMMUS

Speaking of really easy meals, spinach can take your hummus to the next level. This recipe from Inhabited Kitchen takes an already healthy dip and kicks it up a notch. Bonus: The other main ingredient is a fellow superfood, chickpeas. Serve with freshly chopped veggies and you have a new twist on a classic snack.

3. DIP

If hummus isn’t your thing, other dips are a great way to double your veggie intake. This recipe from Sweetashoney is super green and decadently creamy—it includes staples like avocado and tomatoes, but the blended yogurt and a splash of lime make it perfect for cooling down on a warm summer day.

4. CUPCAKES

Yes, even cupcakes can take a healthy turn, courtesy of spinach. Renee's Kitchen Adventures has a recipe that only calls for three ingredients (spinach, boxed cake mix, and applesauce) proving that healthy things come in easy-to-bake packages. Plus, each cupcake—without icing—serves more than 2 grams of protein!

5. WAFFLES

Take brunch to the next level with a healthier take on an old favorite. Slim Sanity's recipe for Spinach Protein Waffles protects the sanctity of the breakfast food (slightly crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside) while starting the morning off with 3 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein. And they still work with your usual toppings, like syrup, butter, or fruit.

6. PATTIES

Swap out your usual French fries with Diethood’s spinach-based potato patties. These little fried nuggets of potatoes and garlic are a nice guilty pleasure, but also sneak in a fair amount of spinach. Serve them as appetizers or a side dish, or with dipping sauces if you want to dress them up.

7. GNOCCHI

It would be remiss to overlook a spinach-pasta combination, but if gnocchi sounds intimidating, fear not. While these little morsels from Caroline’s Cooking look tricky, they’re actually easy to make. And, of course, they still have a potato-and-cheese base—so, everything you expect from gnocchi, with one major leafy benefit mixed in.

8. SMOOTHIES

Green smoothies are definitely a classic, but that means there’s pretty much no limit to the number of ways you can dress them up with handfuls of greens. Some of our favorite combos include a power-packed Triple Green Protein recipe from Amy’s Healthy Baking (the three greens being spinach, kale, and honeydew), this tropical Pineapple Paradise Spinach Smoothie from Culinary Hill, and this fruity cherry and almond smoothie from Unique Eats that masks up to two cups of spinach so well, the smoothie comes out pink.

9. CHIPS

When you're craving something crunchy, consider this healthier alternative before grabbing a bag of corn or potato chips. Shape’s spinach chips recipe only involves four ingredients (spinach, olive oil, garlic powder, and sea salt) and only takes about 20 minutes to bake up a batch. Plus, each serving has 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein—and far less fat or sugar than standard chips.

10. PESTO

Pesto is another classic that has amazing versatility. Spread it on a sandwich, mix it with pasta, combine it with salad dressing, put it on pizza, bake it into bread, etc. etc. Feeling inspired yet? NellieBellie has a simple pesto recipe that can be made in a food processor and stored for any quick healthy snacking needs.

11. MUFFINS

Cupcakes aren't the only bakery staple that can benefit from added spinach—muffins (a universal snack that is equally appropriate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) can also include a healthy dose of greens. JoyFoodSunshine’s Spinach Banana Muffins also provide servings of grains, seeds, and fruit, and the recipe allows alternatives for dairy-free and vegan versions, making this an easy go-to for any type of diet.

12. BURGERS

These spinach-based patties from The Domestic Kitchen take veggie burgers to a whole new level. Eggs and bread crumbs help your burger retain its shape, while spinach provides all the "meat" of the meal. Once formed, the burgers are cooked to a golden brown in a skillet and can be served on bread, a pita, or eaten as is.

All images via iStock.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Central Press/Getty Images
Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
Central Press/Getty Images
Central Press/Getty Images

Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 119th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."


Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."


Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."


By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
4 Movies, 1 Thing In Common II
iStock
iStock

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios