When making a side of spinach or even spinach salad, I’ve almost always used the whole bunch of spinach including stems. There was a time in my single-life that I used to try and eat a whole bag each weak. I wish I could say that I got big and strong, but that didn’t happen. I’m just a healthy guy and Spinach has been a part of that by way of having the most protein per calorie of any food as well as delivering the vitamins and minerals that help to keep me hydrated in a desert climate.
These married-days I still eat a good amount of Spinach, maybe 1 bag every two weeks. The wife eats some, but I tend to eat most of it. With a salad or as a side dish, I would chop the spinach and mince the stems a little extra because of how fibrous they are. I don’t waste anything. My wife wasn’t having it.
The last couple of months I’ve been removing the stems and placing them to the side for the vegetable broths that have never came to fruition. The stems freeze well and I would always take them out and sauté them with some onion or shallot, salt, pepper, butter and maybe some other veg around. That simple little side veg has always been enjoyable. Today I threw them (the stems from 1 bunch) into some boiling water with penne pasta, half a chopped onion and a big carrot that was julianned. I boilded all that for about 9-10 minutes until the pasta was al dente. The carrots and onions softened nicely with the stems. I threw them back into the pot with some creamy arrabiata sauce (Barilla arrabiata sauce with some white sauce of alfredo) and completed the dish. It was nice.
Though I realize I lost some nutrition in the water by boiling the veg in the pasta water, but it was easy and a nice change. I quick search on the Interwebs resulted in plenty of recipes. I’m sure it will soon be trendy for fancy restaurants to do some kind of overly complex dish and sell it for $30. All that hullabaloo is not necessary. Just eat like celery or fresh green beans.
In the end, don’t throw out anything, even Spinach stems!