Don’t Eat the Spinach! (Try These Greens Instead.)

Popeye, in happier days.Photo: Golden Collection
In a stunning rebuke to vegetarians everywhere, sinister germ E. coli, known for its frequent appearances in gnarly fast-food hamburgers, has appeared in spinach. The government has quarantined the nation’s supply, but demand hasn’t completely waned. Who besides Bluto (and possibly Wimpy) would be cheered by this crisis? From spanakopita to creamed spinach, it’s one vegetable everybody seems to love.

And so we turn to “At the Greenmarket” writer Zoe Singer, who suggests the following replacements:

• Swiss and rainbow chard are the closest to spinach — sweet but with a similarly chalky mouth-feel. They should be your first choice for most cooked dishes.

• Dark leafy greens like kale and beet greens are beginning to arrive at the Union Square Greenmarket. Sauté them with garlic and olive oil, but for a few minutes longer than you would spinach — they’re considerably tougher.

• Also at the Greenmarket: purslane. It has a musky, tangy taste, which is much better cooked than raw.

• Arugula has longer, slimmer leaves than spinach, but it’s about the same weight. Taste-wise, it’s a little more assertive — great on its own or mixed with sweeter lettuces in a salad.

Don’t Eat the Spinach! (Try These Greens Instead.)