Spinach is a nutritious leafy vegetable rich in iron and calcium. The iron in spinach is non-heme and is an iron inhibitor. Our body cannot easily absorb the iron present in spinach. Eating spinach with iron absorption enhancers like meats, poultry, shellfish, tomatoes and citrus food makes the iron easily absorb-able. More information of on iron inhibitors, iron absorption enhancers is available here and more on the web.
Coming to today's recipe, spinach orange soup is an excellent source of iron. When I first saw this recipe last April, I was intrigued by the combination. I normally do not cook with fruits, except raw mangoes and for desserts, and was curious how this would taste. I bookmarked the recipe right away and was on my to do list for a long time. Later, when I learnt about the iron absorption enhancers, I was more determined to give it a try. For this soup, Iron inhibitor spinach is cooked with vitamin C rich orange, making it a one iron rich soup that our body can easily absorb. I finally made it today and to my surprise, it was delicious!
Source: The Chef & Her Kitchen
Total Time: 20 - 30 minutes
Preparation: 5 - 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
- 1 tbsp. Oil
- ½ cup chopped Onion or 1 small Onion chopped
- 1 small Green Chili chopped (opt. I added it to make more hot & spicy but don't really need it)
- 2 cups chopped Spinach
- ½ - ⅔ cup orange segments cut into 1” pieces (I used ⅓ of a big naval orange or 4-5 segments)
- Spice Bag:
- 2 Cloves
- 2 Garlic Pods
- ¼ tsp. Cumin
- ¼ tsp. or 22-24 Pepper Corns
- ¼ tsp. Pepper Powder
- ¾ tsp. Salt
- 2 – 2 ¼ cups water
- 1 tsp. Oil
- 1 – 1 ½ tsp. crushed Garlic
- Pepper Powder
- Crush the ingredients listed under spice bag. Take a muslin cloth or a cheese cloth and tie the crushed spices in it to form a bag. I used a cheese cloth to make the bag.
- Take oil listed in garnish in a small skillet and heat it. Fry the crushed garlic (listed under garnish) until brown and keep it aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauce pan and saute onion and green chilies (if using) for a minute until it becomes translucent.
- Add spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes until it wilts and water is evaporated. I used Ready Pac microwaveable spinach, which is pre-washed. This does not release too much water/liquid. If using bunch spinach you may want to cook it a little longer.
- Add orange, spice bag, 1 cup of water and cook for 7 minutes on medium high heat.
- Let it cool. Or with couple of spoons, squeeze or extract as much juices as possible and discard the spice bag.
- With an electric hand blender, blend it with 1 – 1 ¼ cup of waters or run it in a blender.
- Bring it back to boil and boil for 3-5 minutes.
- Garnish with roasted garlic and pepper powder.
- Serve hot.