Popeye was on to something when he ate spinach daily to increase his strength. Dark, leafy green vegetables often pack a nutritional punch because they are a good source of essential nutrients, such as vitamins A, K and folate. Spinach also contains nutrients that help you maintain healthy vision. However, if you don’t like spinach or don’t have any available, you can use many other types of dark green and leafy vegetables to get similar nutritional benefits and taste.
Use dark, green lettuce for salads in place of raw spinach. Some varieties include romaine or red leaf lettuces, which are similar to the taste and texture of raw spinach. You can also use arugula or watercress instead of raw spinach. Wash the lettuce, arugula or watercress thoroughly under cold, running water. Toss with your favorite vegetables for a delicious and fresh salad.
Replace regular spinach with Chinese spinach. Chinese spinach is more delicate than regular spinach. It is also more flavorful and has greater nutritional value than the usual varieties of spinach.
Use Swiss chard or beet greens in recipes that call for spinach. Both of these are more flavorful than spinach. However, allow for longer cooking time in your recipe because Swiss chard and beet greens have a hardier texture.
Try turnip greens or kale to replace spinach. Kale is a type of cabbage but is dark green. Remove the tough center stalks before cooking. Turnip greens can be bitterer than spinach, but they become milder when cooked. Avoid cooking turnip greens in aluminum cookware because it can affect the taste and appearance of the vegetable. Prepare the vegetables the same way you would spinach; however, allow longer cooking time.
Use escarole or sorrel instead of spinach. The color of sorrel fades when you cook it so if you are looking for vibrant green color, try one of the other options.
Ireland Wolfe has been writing professionally since 2009, contributing to Toonari Post, Africana Online and Winzer Insurance. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in mental health counseling. She is also a licensed mental health counselor, registered nutritionist and yoga teacher.