Pine nuts are, in fact, nuts that come from various species of pine trees. They have a nice mild flavor that is a bit earthy and slightly sweet. Pine nuts are often used in pesto and as a salad topper. I was definitely pleased with the combination of the pine nuts and spinach, both of which have a long list of health benefits. Spinach has antioxidants, calcium, Vitamins A and C and fiber, to name just a few. Pine nuts are also rich in antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, protein and pinolenic acid - an appetite suppressant. I'm still a little shaky on the science of antioxidants, but I'll be dammed if I oxidize. Anyhow, I'm fairly certain that this dish is fairly healthy (in my non-nutritionist opinion), and it's tasty too! I could munch on the toasted pine nuts all day, but like all nuts they're fairly high calorie.
You could add some diced grilled chicken or other protein to this for a more filling meal. Omit the cheese for reduced calories, a shallot for additional flavor for fresh diced tomato for flavor contrast. Enjoy!
Wilted Spinach with Toasted Pine Nuts
Serves four as a side, two as a meal
1 bag fresh spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. lemon zest
pinch of parmesan cheese per serving
1. Heat a dry saute pan on medium heat and add pine nuts. Swirl the pine nuts around until they are slightly browned.
2. Add the olive oil (I used the same pan - yay for less dirty dishes), spinach, lemon juice and zest. Keep heat on medium or medium low and stir the spinach until wilted.
3. Top wilted spinach with the toasted pine nuts and a pinch of parmesan cheese.