Our CSA has provided us with fresh, locally grown, pesticide-free spinach for the last three weeks. The spinach is just beautiful for salads, but since R is not a big salad fan, I’ve tried to come up with some creative ways to use all the spinach.
I’ve had my fair share of salads for lunch, since along side the spinach we have received red and green leaf lettuce and other various types of greens. This week I waved the white flag and decided I’d had enough of salads and started brainstorming ideas for new ways to use the spinach.
My mind jumped to a rice and spinach bake that my mom used to make eons ago. I don’t have the original recipe, but I started thinking about how I could make a main dish course out of the spinach. I used my mom’s old recipe and what I could remember of it as a launching point, then decided to make it a Greek rendition, with feta cheese. I replaced the rice with quinoa to ensure the dish would have complete protein, and voila, Spinach Feta Quinoa was born.
Spinach Feta Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ medium red onion, diced
12 ounces fresh spinach
4 ounces light cream cheese
½ - ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 ounces feta
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the spinach. The spinach will dome over the pan, but in mere minutes it will wilt to a fraction of it’s original size. Stir while the spinach wilts.
Cook the spinach 4-5 minutes once wilted, or until all the liquid from the spinach has evaporated.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach and the cooked quinoa. Stir well and add the cream cheese, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt and pepper. Fully mix to incorporate all the flavors.
Pour the mixture into a 9x9 baking dish. Sprinkle the feta on top.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the feta browns slightly.
Serves 6 as a side dish, 4 as a light lunch or dinner.