Wonderful green leafy vegetable spinach is often recognized as one of the functional food for its nutritional, antioxidants and anti-cancer constituents. Its tender, crispy, dark green leaves are favorite ingredients of chefs all around the planet.
Health benefits of Spinach
Spinach is store house for many phyto-nutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties.
Very low in calories and fats (100 g of raw leaves provide just 23 cal). It contains good amount of soluble dietary fiber; no wonder greeny spinach is one of the vegetable source recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs!
Fresh 100 g of spinach contains about 25% of daily intake of iron; one of the richest among green leafy vegetables. Iron is an important trace element required by the body for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for oxidation-reduction enzymes cytochrome-oxidases during the cellular metabolism.
Fresh leaves are rich source of several vital anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C; and flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta-carotene. Together these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a healing role in aging and various disease processes.
Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions; thus helps protect from “age related macular disease” (ARMD), especially in the elderly.
Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A and flavonoids helps body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
100 g of Spinach provides 402% of daily vitamin-K requirements. Vitamin K plays vital role in strengthening bone mass by promoting osteotrophic (bone building) activity in the bone. It also has established role in patients with Alzheimer’s disease by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
This greeny leafy vegetable also contain good amounts of many B-complex vitamins like vitamin- B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin, folates and niacin. Folates help prevent neural tube defects in the offspring.
100 g of farm fresh spinach has 47% of daily recommended levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen free radicals.
The leaves also contain good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis.
It is also rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Regular consumption of spinach in the diet helps prevent osteoporosis (weakness of bones), iron deficiency anemia and is believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and colon and prostate cancers
Enjoy spinach in a traditional tasty way!
Spinach Lasagna Rolls
Makes 9 rolls
These are great for freezing because you can choose to individually freeze them or freeze them as a finished dish ready for the oven.
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and fresh pepper
32 oz tomato sauce
9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
Prep Day (individually frozen) – Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish. Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
Individually frozen – Follow the assembly directions but instead of preparing it in a 9×13 pan, skip to assembling the rolls and then flash freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once they are mostly frozen (30 minutes to 1 hour), place them gently in a freezer bag and freeze.
Serve Day (individually frozen) – thaw. Preheat oven to 350°. Place 1 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan (or adjust if making a smaller portion), place frozen lasagna rolls in the dish. Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake at 350 for 60 minutes (1.5x the originally listed bake time), or until cheese melts.
Prep Day (Casserole-Style) – Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles. Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts.
Casserole-style freezing – Follow the assembly directions completely but do not preheat the oven. Once covered with foil, instead of baking the dish, place it in the freezer to freeze.
Serve Day (Casserole style) – Thaw in the refrigerator for 36-48 hours before serving, and follow the baking directions above. OR leave frozen and bake dish for 60 minutes (1.5x the originally listed bake time), or until cheese melts.
Servings: 9 • Serving Size: 1 roll • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 6 ww pts
Calories: 224.9 • Fat: 5.1 g • Fiber: 3.4 g • Protein: 13.0 g • Carbs: 31.5
Adapted from skinnytaste.com