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Spinach is packed with nutrients, and it's quite versatile. You can toss it raw into salads, or cook it briefly to make a side dish or soup. Of the two main varieties, smooth leaf spinach = flat leaf spinach = salad spinach is more delicate and better suited to salads than curly leaf spinach. Look for spinach with small, narrow stems--they're younger and more tender. And always use fresh spinach if you can; it's much more palatable than frozen or canned spinach.

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Also known as

  • Smooth leaf spinach
  • Flat leaf spinach
  • Salad spinach
  • Curly leaf spinach


One pound fresh = 1 cup cooked = 5 ounces frozen


Chinese spinach (more delicate) OR Swiss chard (more flavorful, but takes longer to cook) OR beet greens (more flavorful, but takes longer to cook) OR sorrel (color fades when cooked; consider adding parsley for color) OR kale (especially in casseroles; takes longer to cook) OR turnip greens (discard stems; takes longer to cook) OR escarole (especially with hot bacon dressings)
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