If you like spinach, consider trying Magenta Spreen (ma-gent-uh-SPREEN). Magenta Spreen is in the same plant family as spinach, beets, chard, and the grain Quinoa. 

It is a highly nutritious plant, rich in Vitamins C and E, essential fatty acids, iron, calcium, minerals, and antioxidants which are good for dealing with free radicals. The underside of the leaves and top of the new leaves are covered in a fine pink dust. Resist the temptation to wash it off as it is full of calcium and protein. It contains even more protein than kale, which contains more than the recommended daily intake of protein. 

Use a few of the youngest leaves in green salads, to add their bright splash of hot pink. Use both leaves and young stems simply steamed, like spinach, or try steaming them mixed with a combination of greens, such as chard, escarole, and young mustard leaves, and served with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Magenta Spreen leaves and tender stems are also fine in omelets and frittatas, quiches, curries, lasagna or spanakopita, and can be used in soups, being especially nice in miso soup. 


Magenta Spreen Fritter

(serves two)

1 cup chickpea flour

1½ tsp curry powder or cumin

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 cups finely chopped magenta spreen, loosely packed down

2 tablespoons grated onion


1 egg

Oil (coconut or olive) for frying

  1.  Combine dry ingredients together. Whisk in greens, egg and grated onion.
  2. Mix to a very thick, dry batter. If necessary, add just enough water, a few drops, to moisten the mixture and get it to hold together.
  3. Heat 1 cm of oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Form the fritters into small cakes and drop them into the hot oil.
  5. When golden brown on the underside, turn and fry on the other side.
  6. Serve with relish or raita/yogurt dressing.
May 18, 2016 — Robin Ryan

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