With a profusion of apple tree leaves in the orchard, spinach leaves spiking out of the earth and parsley going to seed from over supply; spring is at its finest in our home garden. This abundance needs using as growth is abundant and storage in the fridge seems a crime. So salads and smoothies, soups and fritters grace our table each meal bringing renewed and abundant health from fresh organic produce.
Green is spring, and to celebrate these fresh ingredients, I’ve created fritters that just need a mash and a stir before frying to crispy golden brown; easy steps that don’t keep your family waiting long for their lunch or evening meal. A delicious dip, like cucmber tzatziki makes the meal memorable, so I’ve included my tzatziki recipe as it makes the fritter flavours zing. (I used store bought cashew cheese and coconut yogurt, readily available from many health food stores).
· Spinach is available all year round but is in season during spring. It is well known for its nutritional qualities and has always been regarded as a plant with remarkable abilities to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. There are sound reasons why spinach produces such results; the fact that it is rich in iron. Iron plays a central role in the function of red blood cells that help in transporting oxygen around the body, in energy production and DNA synthesis. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health and it is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach. Others include kale, broccoli and green cabbage.
· A recent study showed that the sautéing of spinach was best able to retain its total carotenoid content, in comparison with steaming or boiling or frying. Alternatively, an equally recent study showing far less loss of vitamin C from spinach when this vegetable was steamed for 5 minutes, instead of being microwaved or boiled for that same amount of time. Yet numerous studies also point to the nutrient benefits of raw spinach.
SPINACH, PEA & CASHEW CHEESE FRITTERS
Makes 8 fritters
V, DF, GF, SF
3 tablespoons chia seeds + water
400 grams frozen peas, thawed
¼ cup black chia seeds, freshly ground
100 grams cashew cheese
100 grams spinach leaves, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
pinch chilli flakes, to taste
cracked black pepper
Add chia seeds to 1/4 cup water, mix and set aside to jell for 15 minutes. Place the peas in a large bowl and mash with a fork. Add the ground chia egg mix, cashew cheese, spinach leaves, parsley, lemon rind, chilli flakes, salt and pepper, and mix to combine. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to thicken.
Heat some olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add several heaped tablespoons of the mixture to the fry pan, slightly flattened, and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. If needed, add more olive oil. Handle fritters with care as the edges tend to fall apart. Serve the fritters with a salad and dip of choice, like cucumber tzatziki and wedges of lemon.
1 cup coconut yogurt
1 Lebanese cucumber
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon mint, finely chopped
pinch Himalyan salt
ground black pepper
Peel the cucumber, coarsely grate into a small bowl, and squeeze out the juice into a cup. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. It is optional to place the tzatziki into a sealed container and leave in the fridge overnight so the flavours can combine. Serve in a small bowl with the fritters.