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jgm

Substitutes for spinach

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I had not realized I use spinach in cooking -- especially in cooler months -- as much as I do. It's mainly in soups. All of a sudden, there are several kinds of soup I'd like to make, and every one of them calls for spinach. I know it would be safe, as long as I simmered it above 160 degrees for more than 15 seconds. But there's none to be found on local shelves, bagged or not.

What would be the best substitute? One soup has vegetables, barley, pasta, and beans; another one is lentil; a third has sausage and tomatoes.

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I've been able to find frozen spinach, at least up to a day or so ago.

has that been pulled too?

RE substitutes, what about kale or collard greens?

Milagai

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i think kale (for a longer simmer) or arugula (thrown in at the last sexond) would work in the soups you described.

isn't that a funny phenomenon? as soon as we can't have something, we want it so much more!


"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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Swiss chard; kale; dandelion greens. Does that help?

Dianne Ross

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I use swiss chard almost interchangably with spinach. Certainly with soups (especially the combinations you mentioned) chard would be fine. I actually prefer the taste of chard so I use it often. Just remove the stems and treat as you would the spinach.

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arugula has a refined peppery definition in flavour

so in my opinion i wouldnt use it as a substitute

kale is just a pain in the arse for a lack of better words

acelgas is the absolute stone cold best substitute as far as im conccerned

indigenous to mexico, acelgas has a very neat texture and a wonderfull flavour

it holds it form well once it has been steamed and maintains i vibrant green colour

try looking for it your local grocery store even better ask your grocer or wholesaler to bring it in for you if they can

note !!!

it 20 % percent of the price of spinach and stays in the fridge a hell of a lot longer

let me know how it works out please

bruce

chef pelon

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I've used Chard and Kale as substitutes, but another substitute that works very well is mustard greens. I think they would be especially tasty with the tomatoes and sausage, but would make a nice contribution to the vegetable soup as well. I've never added greens to a lentil soup, thanks for the idea.

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indigenous to mexico, acelgas has a very neat texture and a wonderfull flavour

As long as the Mexicans aren't using aqua negro to fertilize the acelgas :rolleyes: Is acelgas a type of beet green?

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I miss spinach, too. But I like to use a sturdy green such as kale in these soups. Green cabbage is another good option.

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"Acelgas" is chard, so I am led to believe from a quick search.

Beet greens are great.

Cooked, arugula loses the sharp spicy quality that some find too bitter when it is raw. If it's young and tender, just sliver it or leave whole and put it in bowls before you pour in the soup. Tough, mature leaves grown during hot months might benefit from simmering 1-2 minutes.

There are SOOOOO many different kinds of greens, including varieties of kale that are not a pain to cook to use instead.

However, let's hope the current state of alarm calms down soon and you're able to buy spinach easily in a few weeks...or less.

I would still like to know why all spinach everywhere is being snatched from the shelves in ways that we simply have never seen before with meat. When Odwalla was singled out after a child too young to develop the proper immunities drank a minimally processed apple juice and died, apples and apple juice did not become the Enemy the way Spinach has thanks to the FDA. Labels for "natural juices" did change, I admit and Odwalla suffered...before it was purchased by Coca-Cola, if I have my chronology straight. Is it because the source of the processing problem for spinach has not been securely identified? Because illnesses are more widespread when California produces the majority of the crop we eat in the US? Or is there something post-Katrina going on now in federal efforts to REEEAlly protect our citizens with a swift, effective response?

If anything good comes out of the current state of panic, maybe it will be the introduction of a wider variety of greens to mainstream grocery stores.

Farmers markets, food co-ops, "ethnic" grocers and Whole Foods were places I first discovered the leafy greens that I never ate while growing up in New England and the midwest. Responding to local demographics or their location in the South, some supermarkets have always carried turnip, mustard, and collard greens. Now that Wal-Mart has decided to go organic (another issue, I know), there is bound to be a greater variety. I don't know what's available in Kansas, but if you have alternatives to large supermarkets, you might find this a good time to explore.

ETA: When not making soup: Certain greens, including types of kale, benefit from a quick blanching. Boil large pot of water. Plunge in greens and let the water return to a boil. Take them out. (Rinse in cold water or plunge in ice bath if you'd like, but this really isn't necessary except to ease handling.) Drain, chop and saute with onions or garlic. However, I'd also say this is a good time to start searching eGullet for all the threads devoted to cooking greens. Search cooking forum, using "greens" as search term in titles. Also try specific names such as "amaranth" (sometimes called Jamaican/Chinese spinach) or "chard."


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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If it's being used for soups I'd go with frozen spinach, or use escarole.

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I would still like to know why all spinach everywhere is being snatched from the shelves in ways that we simply have never seen before with meat.  When Odwalla was singled out after a child too young to develop the proper immunities drank a minimally processed apple juice and died, apples and apple juice did not become the Enemy the way Spinach has thanks to the FDA.  Labels for "natural juices" did change, I admit and Odwalla suffered...before it was purchased by Coca-Cola, if I have my chronology straight. Is it because the source of the processing problem for spinach has not been securely identified? Because illnesses are more widespread when California produces the majority of the crop we eat in the US?  Or is there something post-Katrina going on now in federal efforts to REEEAlly protect our citizens with a swift, effective response?

I think the highlighted reasons are most likely -- the problem is that it can be difficult to trace the provenance of all fresh spinach, so that even though at the present time there is only 111 cases of illness in 21 states linked to E. Coli (a very large geographic distribution of cases, but not nationwide yet), its not clear yet how prevalent the contamination is. And in any event, as I understand it, the FDA itself is not at the present time recalling anything -- they are simply advising consumers not to eat any fresh spinach, for the time being. It is producers (Natural Selection brands and other brands that are supplied by them) that are voluntarily recalling the spinach.

FWIW, the following brands are the onces being recalled:

Natural Selection Foods, Dole, Trader Joe's, Pride of San Juan, Earthbound Farm, Bellissima, Rave Spinach, Emeril, Sysco, O Organic, Fresh Point, River Ranch, Superior, Nature's Basket, Compliments, Ready Pac, Jansal Valley, Cheney Brothers, Coastline, D'Arrigo Brothers, Green Harvest, Mann, Mills Family Farm, Premium Fresh, Pro-Mark, Snoboy, The Farmer's Market, Tanimura & Antle, President's Choice, Cross Valley and Riverside Farms, River Ranch Fresh Foods


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Beet greens or rapini?


The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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If you live near an Asian neighbourhood, there are a couple of leafy cooking greens that are pretty close, like 'Chinese' spinach (een choi) or water spinach (tong choi). Also consider mustard greens or turnip greens.


Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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This page lists a lot of the substitutions already mentioned in this topic, plus (I think) a couple not yet mentioned, along with helpful pictures and alternate names in a number of languages.

I'd also suggest thinking about substituting various lettuces. We tend to think of lettuces mainly as raw--or at most wilted--components of salads, but cooked lettuces turn up in a number of cuisines (off the top of my head, I'm thinking of Italian escarole soup). I've never tried the following, but I'm wondering if Boston/bibb/butterhead lettuce might not make a good match for the texture of spinach.

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