On these last days of Ramadan, everyone seems tired from the long day of fasting and especially tired of the intense cooking that comes with feeding a hungry crowd.
For me, the further into Ramadan, the simpler my food usually gets and that’s actually a very good exercise for the rest of the year’s cooking, too. Over the years, I’ve simplified my cooking and my kitchen so much that I feel deeply satisfied with more nutrient-dense food yet less of a mess (i.e. less dishes) to clean up after cooking.
One of the recipes I have come to love a lot is this simple Spinach Pasta made with egg noodles. The egg noodles seem more nutritious than wheat pasta, but you can surely have that if you like. There’s also chickpea or lentil pasta on the market, too, which could be a great substitute and would essential make this a vegan dish. Choose your pasta type and shape to your desire. I just particularly like this one I’ve found in the Turkish grocery store, Migros, found all over Turkey.
Next, I found the most beautiful fresh spinach available at the local outdoor market in Fethiye, Turkey. It thrills me to spot that vibrant green color, even while I’m still steps away from the stall that is piled high with these and other gorgeous greens.
If you’re shopping at a supermarket, just look for the same type of greens, no discoloration of any leaves and not wilting. You can also get frozen spinach, which works nicely straight from freezer to pan, no defrosting necessary. Just make sure you get organic, as spinach is listed at the top of the dirty dozen most contaminated vegetables.
Get some wonderful fresh garlic, onion, and olive oil and gently sauté them together first.
I love this fresh spring garlic that I found at the villagers market (aka: farmers), too. If you have a farmers market near you, chances are someone is growing garlic and selling a similar crunchy spring garlic, as well.
It’s interesting because it has an additional layer of skin you don’t see on the dried garlic typically found in the fall and winter. It also tastes less pungent than the dried one.
Once the onion and garlic has sautéed enough to become translucent, I immediately add the spinach greens and put a lid on the pan, reducing the heat to a simmer. It only takes 5-7 minutes for the greens to cook (I don’t like them overdone, as I like to see them somewhat bright green and a little crunchy).
Once the greens are done, I turn off the heat and add the pasta noodles to the pan, give them all a swirl together and move them onto a serving plate or bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and you’re good to go.
Simple. Healthy. Delicious.
- 2 1/2 cups egg noodles (350 grams)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1-2 pounds fresh or frozen spinach, chopped
- Parmesan cheese, optional.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, add oil or butter and set aside in a bowl.
- To a sauté pan, add the olive oil and heat gently. Add the minced garlic and onion, cooking only until translucent.
- Add the chopped spinach and cover the pan with a lid. Reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook for 5-7 minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan and give everything a swirl. Plate the dish on a serving platter or pasta bowls and add a little drizzle of olive oil on top. Add Parmesan cheese, if desired.