Friday, December 23, 2011

Spinach tomato sauce

Hello everyone,

This week I have a nice treat for you, hopefully you will try it out and like it. This week's recipe is big in my home country, Egypt. I have seen some modifications to it in North America. Spinach tomato sauce is characterized by its nice thick texture and is as nutritious as it is colorful. When added on grains such as rice or quinoa, you have a nice healthy low-calorie complete meal, and what's more, it will leave your stomach full and your taste buds satisfied. This recipe combines 2 of the most nutritious vegetables out there, spinach is well known for being loaded with vitamin A, K, folate and iron. On the other hand, tomatoes are packed with cancer-fighting lycopenes. This recipe will only take 15-20 minutes to prepare and can be used with grains as a complete meal or served as a side dish/soup with a main course. Use rice or quinoa to complete this meal, I generally prefer quinoa because it has triple the amount of protein than rice! Enjoy.

Ingredients (Makes 3-4 Servings):
  • 1.5 - 2 cups tomato paste
  • 3-4 fresh tomatoes
  • 4-5 handfuls spinach, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled & minced
  • handful of cilantro, diced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa or rice (optional)
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive or canola oil
  • Spices desired (optional)

1.   In a medium-sized pot add oil & heat on medium

2.   Add the chopped onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic for 1 minute more.

3.   Add the tomato paste to the pot and wait 1-2 minutes before adding the next addition.

4.   Combine the tomatoes, cilantro and desired spices in a food processor and blend until consistent (about 10 seconds)

5.   Add the tomato & spice mixture to the pot and stir until mixed well. Add the spinach and stir until the chopped spinach leaves are immersed in the tomato sauce.

Tip: Add 1/2 cup of water if the mixture is too thick, or add more chopped spinach leaves if the mixture is too thin

7.   Heat until the leaves turn dark green and appear consistent throughout the tomato sauce, the sauce should be boiling lightly. This should take 15-20 minutes.

Optional: add 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa or rice to the mixture to add more texture to it, the grains will get rid of excess water.

10.   Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes if you added quinoa or 15-20 minutes if you added rice, until desired texture is achieved, it should not be too watery or clumpy. If too clumpy, turn off the heat, add some water and stir.

11.   Serve alone or with quinoa/rice. If you already added quinoa/rice while cooking then decrease your additional grains serving by half.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Comments or questions are always welcome :)

Merry Christmas & happy holidays :)
Mohamed R.

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