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Recipe for Health: Garlicky Spinach & Watercress

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.

Lourdes Castro

As a Registered Dietician, Lourdes is an Adjunct Professor at New York UniversityÔÇÖs department of Nutrition, Food Studies & Public Health and holds a Masters degree in nutrition from Columbia University. She is the author of three cookbooks Simply Mexican; Eat, Drink, Think in Spanish and Latin Grilling and is the director of the Biltmore Culinary Academy. Visit her website at www.slicethin.com.

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