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Look to spinach for nutrition and flavor

Spinach packs quite the nutritional punch, making it a favorite of people who want to eat healthy without sacrificing flavor. Spinach contains carotenoids such as beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin which can help to prevent inflammation, reduce cancer risk and prevent potentially harmful eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. Spinach also is naturally rich in nitrates, which have been linked to improved blood flow and low blood pressure.

Though its health benefits are significant, spinach also makes for a flavorful and versatile addition to any meal. Spinach can be used as a topping on pizza, serve as a go-to leafy green in salads and even been enjoyed on its own as a nutritious side dish.

Anyone looking to reap the rewards of a diet with more spinach can try this recipe for "Spinach and Pumpkin Curry" from Deb Roussou's "350 Best Vegan Recipes" (Robert Rose).

Spinach and Pumpkin Curry

Serves 6

1 pie pumpkin, halved and seeded

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons vegan hard margarine

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 green apple, chopped

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root

1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups plain hemp milk

3 cups packed spinach

1. Place the steamer basket in a large saucepan and add water to about 1 inch below the bottom of the basket. Place the pumpkin halves in the basket, cover the pan and turn heat to medium-high. When the water boils, reduce heat to medium and cook until the pumpkins are tender, 10 to 15 minutes, adding hot water if necessary. Let cool. When cool enough to handle, scoop pulp from skins. Transfer to a food processor, add salt and pepper and puree until almost smooth. Set aside.

2. Place a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and let pan get hot. Add oil and margarine and when melted, tip pan to coat. Add onion, carrots, apple, ginger, and curry powder and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add pumpkin, vegetable broth, milk, and salt and pepper to taste, stirring well to thoroughly combine.

3. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach. Taste and adjust seasonings and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes.


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