If you love rice but want to make it more healthful, this simple and tasty side dish can add some excitement to your dinnertime repertoire.
Just blend the cooked rice of your choice with a sauté of baby spinach that's been jazzed up with Indian spices. This is a very versatile recipe that can be made with other greens such as chard or kale, too. For a change of pace, try adding ginger, basil, lemongrass, and fish sauce in lieu of the garam masala and cumin to create a Thai-style dish.
Nutrition note from Ashley Koff, registered dietician: It's easy to upgrade the flavor and nutrition of any meal by adding spinach and spices to your rice. What's more, adding low-calorie spinach (and I say unlimited!) allows you to have a larger portion without adding to your waistline. Spices like chili and cayenne also help optimize your metabolism, so adding them gives your dish a little more fat-burning power.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, cumin, garam masala, chili powder and cayenne, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Add the spinach and 2 tablespoons of water; cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
Place the hot rice in a large bowl and add the spinach mixture. Toss to combine and season with salt to taste. Serve hot.