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Super Spinach Alternatives

Other great greens deserve a place on your table.

Spinach Alternatives for Hot Dishes continued...

Collard or turnip greens can also fill in for spinach in hot dishes. Turnip greens contain 14 calories, 2.5 grams fiber, 57% Daily Value for vitamin A, 26% for vitamin C, 8% for vitamin E, 21% for folate, and 10% for calcium per 1/2 cup of cooked greens. Collard greens contain 25 calories, 3 grams fiber, 42% Daily Value for vitamin A, 23% for vitamin C, 22% for folic acid, and 11% for calcium per 1/2 cup of cooked greens.

And if you're still worried about spinach safety, don't forget about canned and frozen spinach, which were not implicated in the E. coli outbreaks, according to the FDA. The FDA also points out that the strain of E. coli involved (0157:H7) can be killed by cooking for 15 seconds at 160° Fahrenheit.

Get Cooking

It's important to use caution to ensure the safety of all your leafy greens, experts say.

"When buying freshly cut produce in general, make sure they are properly refrigerated at the point of purchase, look for an expiration date (if available), and look for obvious signs that it hasn’t been handled properly, like browning or bruising," says Shelly Feist, executive director of the nonprofit Partnership for Food Safety and Education.

At home, Feist recommends rinsing all produce (except the pre-washed bagged type) under clean, running tap water to wash away invisible pathogens.

If you're ready to give spinach substitutes a try, here's a salad recipe that incorporates both escarole and baby arugula.

Pecan & Gorgonzola Greens Salad

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 cup "side salad green, raw vegetables alone or with fruits" + 1 tablespoon nuts OR 1 1/2 cups raw veggies + 1 tablespoon nuts

4 cups escarole, washed, patted dry, and torn into bite-size pieces
4 cups baby arugula, washed and patted dry
1 head fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted
1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup dried cranberries
4 tablespoons light bottled balsamic vinaigrette (with more on the table in case someone would like to add more)

  • In 4 bowls, arrange in each, a mixture of the escarole, arugula and endive slices. Top each with pecans, Gorgonzola, and cranberries.
  • Drizzle a tablespoon over each bowl and serve!

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: (using 4 tablespoons of dressing) 160 calories, 5 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 6 mg cholesterol, 4.5 g fiber, 272 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 47%.

Recipe provided by Elaine Magee; © 2006 Elaine Magee

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Reviewed on October 20, 2006

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