Image of the cartoon character, Popeye the Sailor Man, holding a can of spinach.

Barbara Worley, FACS agent, UGA Extension Forsyth County

Spinach was a “super food” long before super foods were trendy. Full of vitamins A, C and iron, the beautiful green leafy vegetable was first cultivated in Persia (modern day Iran) more than 2000 years ago. Popeye ate copious amounts that made his biceps “pop,” and children have made puckered faces for years at the thought of eating the versatile green leaves. 

I grew up eating spinach, mainly in salads. My mother made the best spinach salad dressing that she would shake up in a mason jar. I can still picture her reaching for it on the top shelf above the stove where she kept it – it was a jar she kept solely for that purpose. The dressing was the perfect sweet-sour blend to pour over the greens that were topped with protein packed eggs, salty bacon, red onions and the most delightfully crunchy water chestnuts, which were my favorite part.

Fresh spinach also makes a great addition to soups, pasta dishes, and casseroles. Whether enjoyed cooked or raw, there are endless possibilities to enjoy spinach as part of an everyday diet.

Mom’s Spinach Salad

Salad:                                                                          Dressing:

4 slices bacon, or more to taste                                   ½ cup white sugar

1 (16 ounce) bag fresh spinach, stems removed       1/3 cup ketchup

2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped                                      ¼ cup vegetable oil

1 4 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained                     ¼ cup vinegar

1 small red onion, thinly sliced                                     2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

Place the bacon into a skillet over medium heat and cook until browned and crisp, turning often, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to absorb excess grease. Crumble the bacon when cool.

Place the spinach into a large salad bowl and sprinkle with crumbled bacon, hard-cooked eggs, water chestnuts, and onion. Gently toss the salad.

In a jar, combine dressing ingredients and shake until combined. Pour the dressing over the salad. Enjoy!

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