When I was a junior in college I studied abroad in Barcelona. It was an amazing 6 months with many adventures, wonderful friends, and lots and lots of delicious food. I was incredibly lucky because the mother in my host family was a fantastic cook and she introduced me to many traditional Spanish and Catalan dishes.
One of my favorites was Espinacas a la Catalana (Catalan-style Spinach). It was a revelation. It is a garlicky sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts mixed in. While spinach had always been one of my favorite vegetables, the way that she balanced salty, sweet, and garlic in the dish with a light crunch from the pine nuts was wonderfully addictive. When it came time to have my good-bye dinner and she asked me what I wanted on the menu, Espinacas a la Catalana was my number one request.
Since then, it has been a dish that I make from time to time, especially if I have some really nice, fresh spinach. Last week I was craving it but didn’t have any of the ingredients (panic stations!), so I decided to try my hand at a variation… and it was delicious! So today I am sharing it with you.
I love this dish because it is a great, quick and easy way to enjoy all of the greens that are so plentiful (and delicious) at this time of year. I also like that it uses all of the kale—including the stems, which add a further crunch. It pairs nicely with lots of different proteins (omelets, chicken, pork chops, baked tofu, you name it). And finally, it is appealing to kids because of the sweetness and the crunchiness.
So definitely give this one a try. Who knows, you just might become as addicted to it as I am…
- 1 bunch kale, washed and spun or patted dry
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced (depending on how garlicky you like dishes to be)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds
- salt to taste
- Prepare the kale by pulling the leaves off of the stems and roughly chopping them. Then chop the stems into ¼-inch sized pieces as well. Set aside with leaves in one pile and stems in another.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on a medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the kale stems and minced garlic.
- Stir until the garlic becomes fragrant and then add the kale leaves.
- Stir until the leaves become bright green.
- Add the cranberries and pumpkin seeds and stir well.
- Salt to taste and serve.