Try Spinach

— Written By and last updated by
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

Spinach in colander in sink under running water.

Our Extension Master Food Volunteers (EMFV) developed a series of produce fact sheets for use at local farm markets and food pantries. Each fact sheet focuses on a local fruit or vegetable and features a recipe, nutrition information, and tips from our EMFV. All of these fact sheets can be found on our website. Several of the recipes are also featured in a step-by-step video on our YouTube channel.

We’re adding new ones to the collection. Our latest topic is spinach! According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s website (PBH), “Spinach was first cultivated over 2,000 years ago in Iran. By 1806, it had become a popular vegetable in America, and in the 1920s the U.S. pushed spinach commercially, with the Popeye the Sailorman cartoon becoming a great advocate for spinach consumption.”

The featured recipe adds fresh spinach leaves to this fast-cooking, hearty, and healthy soup. I like this recipe because all of the ingredients can be kept in the pantry (except the fresh spinach). With the oregano and basil seasoning, it has an Italian flair similar to minestrone. 

Quick Bean and Spinach Soup topped with cheese on a wooden surface with fresh vegetables surrounding the outside of the bowl

Quick Beans and Spinach Soup


  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) low-sodium cannellini or white kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat orzo pasta
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


Wash hands and work area before beginning to cook. Pour chicken broth and tomatoes into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, carefully wash spinach under cold running water and coarsely chop. Drain and rinse the beans. Add spinach and beans to pot and simmer 5 minutes more until pasta is tender. Top individual servings with 1/2 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese (optional). Makes approximately 4 one-cup servings.

Extension Master Food Volunteer Tips

  • Stewed tomatoes can be substituted for diced tomatoes in this recipe.
  • If you don’t have fresh spinach, use frozen.
  • Use any small pasta but look for whole grain.
  • Precooked rice could replace the pasta and will only need reheated.
  • Use this recipe as a soup base, add or change the ingredients to make it your own. 
  • Want more “heat”? Replace the oregano and basil with black pepper, a few bits of jalapenos, and some cumin.
  • Any variety of canned beans will work.
  • If the soup is too thick, add water or more broth.

Nutritionally, spinach is fat-free, saturated fat-free, cholesterol-free, low in calories, and high in dietary fiber. It’s high in Vitamin C and a good source of both Vitamin A and iron. 

A Nutrition Education Program (NEP) Factsheet from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension offers these tips for selecting fresh spinach:

When buying fresh spinach, choose fresh, crisp, green bunches. Avoid leaves that are limp, damaged, or spotted. If you have fresh unwashed leaf spinach, store it loosely wrapped in a damp paper towel and refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within 3-5 days. To wash, rinse in lots of fresh running water and rub the leaves gently to remove any soil. Wash just before you use.

Close up of quick bean and spinach soup

Spinach is frequently available in ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook bags. Since the small leaves are sweet and tender, spinach is often part of a baby greens mix. Be sure to keep these bags cold. When buying bagged spinach check the label, not all spinach in bags has been washed. If they have been pre-washed it’s not necessary to do it again. Also, look for use-by dates on bags of washed fresh spinach. If it’s approaching the use-by date and I still have part of a bag of spinach in the refrigerator, I frequently make this soup.


Produce for Better Health Foundation 

University of Nebraska- Lincoln 

Cheryle Syracuse wrote this article and more similar ones for the Family and Consumer Sciences Column in the Brunswick Beacon. Syracuse is an FCS team member and can be reached at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center, 910-253-2610 or by email at