My family is part Lebanese, and my parents are two of the best cooks on the planet. Every few weeks when I was growing up,...Read More
Meat & Spinach Muffins
According to the World’s Healthiest Foods (and you’ve got to trust a web site with that name): “Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables like spinach — with its delicate texture and jade green color — provide more nutrients than any other food.”
Spinach is a great source of:
vitamin A (and lutein)
folic acid (Vitamin B9)
Three Ways to Get More Spinach Into Your Belly
Since eating creamy, gooey, cheesy spinach dip with tortilla chips and pita wedges is not Paleo-friendly and, therefore, out of the question, I’ve got some other tasty spinach ideas to help you channel Popeye.
#1. Spinach Bed
This is so easy, it feels like cheating. Place 1-2 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves on a plate and top it with whatever hot food you’re eating. The heat of the rest of the food wilts the spinach to just the right degree. And bam! instant nutritional wallop. Tastes great under just about everything… a stir fry, curry, grilled meat and steamed veggies… everything.
#2. Mediterranean Spinach
Also ridiculously easy. Steam or sauté fresh or frozen (defrosted) spinach. Toss with a clove of pressed garlic, a spritz of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of crushed oregano. Add healthy oils with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some sliced black olives, or pine nuts. Need a real recipe for this? Try this one.
#3. Meat and Spinach Muffins
These suckers really good. I like them best cold or at room temperature. The recipe makes 12, and if you eat them two at a time, you’ll just about the right amount of protein and veg — unless you’re a giant like my husband. Then you should eat four.
Meat and Spinach Muffins
Makes 12 | Prep 30 minutes | Cook 40 minutes | Whole30 approved
3 (16-ounce) bags frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
This is a crucial step! Squeeze the excess water from the defrosted spinach. Here’s my trick for removing excess water: Place all the spinach in a colander or wire sieve and press out the water with the bottom of a bowl that fits inside the colander, then squeeze individual handfuls of spinach to wring out the remaining water. You should have about 4 cups of spinach when you’re finished with the squeezing process.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add coconut oil and allow it to melt. Toss the onion in the pan and sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it’s crisp-tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Crumble the meat into the pan, breaking up lumps with the wooden spoon. Add the garlic, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and cook until the meat is browned. Stir in the spinach until it’s combined. Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl with a fork, and when the meat is cool, add them to the meat; blend well. The easiest way to combine everything is to mix with your hands. Dig in!
Place muffin papers in a 12-count muffin pan; they prevent sticking. Pack the batter into a 1/2- cup measuring cup, then transfer it to the muffin pan, using your hands to pack the spinach tightly into the muffin paper. It should be slightly mounded on top – the muffins puff a bit when they bake, then slightly deflate when cool. Bake for 40 minutes until the tops are lightly browned. Remove the muffins from the pan, cool, and store covered, in the refrigerator.
You Know How You Could Do That?
Omit the meat to make an unexpected spinach side dish that looks (and tastes) great alongside roasted meat or grilled steak – like popovers with more nutritional punch. Or… follow the directions above and add the following seasonings.
ground beef or pork + 1 tablespoon Italian Sausage Seasoning
ground beef + 1-2 tablespoons chili powder + 1 tablespoon lime juice
ground lamb + 1 tablespoon curry powder + 2 tablespoons raisins
ground lamb + 1 tablespoon cumin + 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
ground lamb + 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
ground pork + 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder + 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
ground lamb + 1 tablespoon Ras El Hanout