Recipe for Health: Garlicky Spinach & Watercress

by Lourdes Castro on Nov 01, 2012

Food for Thought

Professional chef, cookbook author and nutrition instructor at New York University Lourdes Castro, MS, RD, brings dark-leafy greens to life in this delicious and easy dish.

In addition to providing intense aromatic flavor, garlic is rich in antioxidants. Here, Castro pairs it with watercress and sautés them both with spinach to tame the intense flavors. The chef suggests that this type of preparation will help you increase your consumption of leafy greens “since you can consume five times the amount when they are cooked!”

Try this simple method with any of your favorite greens for a vegetarian, gluten-free side dish that is low in saturated fat. “This is a great way of using leftover leafy greens,” Castro says. “Mix and match spinach with other lettuces and any other green you may have on hand.”

Note: This recipe can sit at room temperature for an hour or two with very little effect on its quality. However, be careful with acids like lemon juice or vinegar coming into contact with cooked greens; the acid will cause their green color to turn dark-brown.

3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 ounces spinach
1 bunch watercress

Create garlic paste: Place garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon salt in mortar and crush into paste with pestle. Alternatively, use cup and back of wooden spoon or simply chop garlic and salt with knife.

Place garlic paste and olive oil in nonstick pan and set it over medium high heat. When garlic begins to sizzle, add spinach and watercress—in batches if necessary—and remaining salt. Cook until all greens are wilted. Serves 4.

Per serving: 44 calories; 3.6 grams (g) total fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat); 0 milligrams (mg) cholesterol; 330 mg sodium; 2.4 g total carbohydrates (1 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar); 1.7 g protein; 6% iron; 36% vitamin C.

Source: Original recipe by Lourdes Castro, MS, RD.

IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 9, Issue 11

© 2012 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Lourdes Castro

Lourdes Castro IDEA Author/Presenter

As a Registered Dietician, Lourdes is an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s department of Nutrition, Food Studies & Public Health and holds a Masters degree in nutrition from Columbia Univer...


Trending Articles

Mindful Walking

Walking can be more than just moving physically from one location to another. It can be a metaphor for your larger life journey. Things you&...

Nuts and Peanuts Reduce Cardiovascular Risk and Prolong Lifespan

While there have been numerous studies in recent years touting the health benefits of nuts and peanuts, new research published online March ...

Smooth Move: Creative Additions to Consider for Smoothies

When looking for a quick breakfast or post-workout nourishment, almost nothing beats a smoothie. Whirl in the right ingredients and the blen...

Cut Risk of Alzheimer’s with MIND Diet

Conservative adherence to a new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a paper published o...

Yes, You CAN Develop Better Eating Habits

Analogous to laying out your exercise gear so it’s the first visual reminder you have of your commitment to exercise each day, imagine...

7 Ways to Help a Client Boost Adherence

Once a client has decided to make nutritional changes to support weight loss, you can play a key role in developing an action plan that is m...

20 IDEA World-Renowned Presenters Share Advice on Success and Happiness

We asked some of this year’s most influential and motivating IDEA World Fitness Convention™ presenters to share the single piece of advice they would give another fitness/health pro to hel...

Recipe for Health: Picadillo-Stuffed Peppers

If you don’t believe that authentic Mexican cookery is “whole” and healthy, you need to take a deep dive into Mexico: The Cookbook (Phaidon 2014), the first truly comprehensive bible...

The Reason Your Clients Don't Acieve Their Goals

Lots of people hire personal trainers or join group fitness classes hoping to lose weight. Yet many fail to meet their goals. New research suggests that “progress bias”—overestimatin...

Rice-Cooking Technique Cuts Calorie Absorption in Half

In a molecular gastronomy-meets-lab-science moment, researchers at the College of Chemical Sciences in Colombo, Sri Lanka, have discovered a...