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Okinawa Spinach and Grits

Submitted by Campfire Dan

Okinawa Spinach (Gynura crepioides) is a decorative green and purple, tall, shade-loving ground cover with edible leaves.

okinawa-spinach-leaves2

My friends in Hawaii tell me it is renowned there along with its all green cousin as a cholesterol lowering food but I like it just because I believe that greens need to be a part of every meal and this one grows remarkably easily. It dies to the ground each winter but comes right back in the spring. Some people eat it in salads but I’ve found I eat far more greens if I cook them with other foods I like so I made up this breakfast recipe. It would work just as well for a quick hearty lunch. This recipe is good for 1-2 moderately hungry people!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Okinawa Spinach leaves
1/4 cup Yellow Corn Grits
1 1/4 cup water
1 rounded tablespoon TVP (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon margarine (or butter)
Topping (see below)

Coarsely chop a handful of Okinawa Spinach leaves to about 1/4 cup packed tight.

leaves-coarsely-chopped1

Microwave or simmer the corn grits in the water for about 3 minutes. They should be still soupy so adjust the time for your microwave or keep an eye on the pot if boiling on the stove! Add the coarsely chopped Okinawa Spinach leaves and microwave or simmer for another 1-2 minutes or until the grits firm up.

add-chopped-leaves-to-partially-cooked-grits1
Garnish with some whole Okinawa Spinach leaves.

I serve this to my vegan friends (and myself) topped as shown with vegan margarine and vegetarian nutritional yeast (one to two tablespoons of yeast per serving). My non-vegan friends like it with butter and/or various shredded cheeses as a topping and without the optional textured vegetable protein (TVP).

serve-with-topping-and-garnish1

This recipe might as easily be called “Grits and Greens” since it works with just about any green you can eat raw or partially cooked. I’ve cooked it with regular spinach, India Lettuce (Lactuca indica), and the perennial leaf crops Pacific Spinach (Abelmoschus esculentus), Katuk (Sauropis androgynus) and Moringa leaves (Moringa oleifera). I like it with Okinawa Spinach best.

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