Warm Asparagus & Malabar Spinach Salad
1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds uncooked penne or medium tube pasta
3/4 cup chopped green onions
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby malabar spinach
1 cup coarsely chopped cashews
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Place asparagus in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with salt. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crisp tender, stirring every 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
For dressing, combine the onions, vinegar and soy sauce in a blender; cover and process. While processing, gradually add the remaining oil in a steady steam.
In a large salad bowl, combine pasta, malabar spinach and asparagus. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cashews and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Yield: 14–16 servings
Creamy Swiss Malabar Spinach Dip
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package (9 ounces) frozen creamed malabar spinach, thawed
2 cups diced Swiss cheese
2 unsliced round loaves (1 pound each) Italian or French bread
In a small microwave-safe mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and garlic powder until smooth. Stir in malabar spinach and Swiss cheese. Cover; microwave on high for 5–8 minutes or until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cut a 4-inch circle in the center of one loaf of bread. Remove bread, leaving 1 inch at bottom of loaf. Cut removed bread and the second loaf into 11⁄2-inch cubes. Spoon hot malabar spinach dip into bread shell. Serve with bread cubes.
Yield: 3 1⁄2 cups.
Malabar Spinach Salad with Rhubarb Dressing
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons grated onion
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups torn fresh malabar spinach
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 to 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
In a saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar and vinegar; cook over medium heat until the rhubarb is tender, about 6 minutes. Drain, reserving about 6 tablespoons juice; discard pulp. Pour juice into a jar with tight-fitting lid; add oil, onion, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Shake well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Malabar Spinach Soup with Chickpeas and Potatoes – From Back Bay Café, Belhaven
3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
10 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
2 large potatoes, cut in half lengthwise and into 1/4 inch slices
15 ounces cooked chickpeas (8 ounces dry)—if you use canned, drain and rinse well
10 ounces malabar spinach (if frozen thaw and press dry)
4 ounces roasted red peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
Sharp cheddar cheese or Parmesano Reggiano, grated for topping
Place oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until the onion becomes translucent. Do not allow the garlic to burn, as it will taste bitter. Add the chicken stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Stir in the chickpeas, malabar spinach and roasted red peppers. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until chickpeas, malabar spinach and peppers are heated through. Season to taste. Serve in bowls and top with cheese. Better the second day.
If you want to add a meat to this recipe, try cooked Italian sausage cut into bite-size pieces or cooked chicken breast pulled apart in small pieces.