Celebrate Spinach Day with four fabulous recipes

Spinach made Popeye the sailor man strong, but on World Spinach Day, it's time for everyone to flex their love for this leafy green!

Probably one of the most underrated and unfairly spurned vegetables is the humble spinach. This dark, leafy green vegetable grows in groups and forms a rosette-type shape and is part of the goosefoot family, with its close relatives being Swiss chard, quinoa, beets and morogo which is also known as African spinach.

Rich in nutrition, it is fat free, cholesterol free and high in dietary fibre, as well as being one of the best sources of iron, calcium, folic acid, protein and vitamins A, C and K. It is also believed to be loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants and is said to help improve cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.

Originally from Persia (now modern-day Iran) and known as aspanakh, spinach made its way to China in the 7th century, where it was referred to as the “Herb of Persia”. It eventually ended up in Spain in the 12th century and about 200 years later found its way into England where it was mentioned in the first known English cookbook, The Forme of Cury – published in 1390 – where it was referred to as ‘spinnedge’.

Probably the most famous person in history to be associated with spinach is Catherine de Medici, who ruled France in the 16th-century. Originally from Florence in Italy, it is said that Catherine loved spinach so much that she ordered her cooks to serve it at every meal and, as a result, meals that are made with spinach often have the word ‘Florentine’ in the name in honour of her birthplace.

In honour of World National Spinach Day, celebrated on March 26, we asked the chefs at Capsicum Culinary Studio for their favourite spinach recipes and here’s what they sent us – four fabulous dishes that are tasty, nutritious, economical and easy-to-make.

Spinach Soup


  • 50g butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 450ml of stock, chicken or vegetable
  • 600ml milk
  • 450g fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp double cream, to serve


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and fry over medium heat for 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Stir in the potato chunks and continue to cook gently for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the potato starts to cook.
  3. Pour in the milk and bring up to a simmer, then stir in half the spinach and the lemon zest. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the spinach has completely wilted down.
  4. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour into a blender and add the remaining spinach (this will keep the soup bright green and fresh tasting) and process until smooth. Return to the pan and reheat.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle into bowls and swirl in the cream.

Chef’s Note: You can freeze the soup for up to one month. Defrost in the microwave or overnight in the fridge before re-heating.

Spinach, bacon and cheese dip



  • 450g frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 230g cream cheese
  • 75g mayonnaise
  • 75g sour cream
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 300g freshly grated cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Chop the bacon into small pieces and cook in a large non-stick pan over medium heat until crispy.
  2. Remove, drain on a paper towel. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder and paprika and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Fold in the chopped spinach, bacon, and 3/4 of the cheese. Transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until golden and bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with slices of toasted baguette or ciabatta.

Spinach & Potato Fritters


  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbs olive oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 bunch washed and chopped spinach


  1.  Place potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Drain well and return to pot. Stir over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes to dry out. Mash with a potato masher.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together bread crumbs, garlic powder, pepper and seasoned salt. Whisk in eggs and 1 Tbsp. oil. Stir egg mixture and spinach into potatoes until thoroughly combined. Working in batches, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  4. Add heaping tablespoons of batter to skillet. Flatten fritters with a spatula and space them so they don’t touch. Cook, flipping once, until golden brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat, adding more oil between batches, until all batter has been used.
  5. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Spinach & Cheese Muffins


  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 5ml baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g chopped spinach, washed and dried
  • 2 large eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 125ml sunflower oil/ olive oil
  • 100g grated cheddar
  • 30g finely chopped leek
  • 12 Muffins papers


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Mix the self-raising flour, salt, baking powder and grated cheese in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the eggs, milk and oil and whisk well to blend before adding the chopped spinach and leek.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine gently, making sure you don’t over-mix.
  4. Place a tablespoon of batter into a muffin tray prepared and lined with muffin papers and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Remove and serve with butter while still hot.

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