I was a very unusual child, because I loved spinach. I can honestly still not understand why so many children are said to have such an aversion to this divine vegetable. But you can do such incredibly delicious things with it. For example, you can put spinach into dumplings with feta, make a salad out of it or serve it as a really delicious spinach stew with roasted pine nuts and fragrant buttered rice.
I used to come home from school sometimes and it smelled like… nothing. Catastrophic, unbelievable, an absolute rudeness. A hungry child who just had 3 hours of school should not be kept waiting (I was a diva as a hungry child, I still am). But as if by magic, about 30 minutes later a delicious spinach stew was on the table. My mother is quick at cooking, but Yakhnet Sabanegh (meaning simply “spinach stew”) is actually prepared in no time.
Spinach stew in two variations
There are two variants for the stew. My grandmother used to make it with ground beef. My mother, on the other hand, doesn’t use meat. Both are delicious, I promise you! So you’re spoilt for choice. I took my grandmother’s recipe and I also use some minced beef, which gives the spinach stew a stronger, more hearty character. But what you shouldn’t miss are freshly roasted pine nuts – especially with the vegan version. So if you want to make the stew vegan/vegetarian, increase the amount of pine nuts a little.
Spinach: Fresh or from the freezer?
Personally I like to use fresh, young spinach in salads. For the stew I prefer the frozen version. The spinach is washed and shock-frozen directly after harvesting. So most of the nutrients remain in the vegetables. In addition, the spinach is then also conveniently already chopped and I can use it directly. By the way, the spinach stew is a real summer stew! It comes with a good shot of lemon juice, which gives the stew a really tasty freshness.
Funfact: In Lebanon you don’t eat the Yakhnet Sabanekh incl. rice with cutlery, by the way, but you shovel everything with fresh flat bread into your body 😉
Recipe for Lebanese spinach stew: Yakhnet Sabanegh
- 500 g Spinach chopped, deep-frozen
- 250 g Minced beef
- 200 ml Vegetable stock
- 1 Onion
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 3 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Lemon
- 30 g Pine nuts
- 1 tsp Coriander seeds ground
- Salt, Pepper
- 1 x Buttered Rice
- Defrost the spinach.
- Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
- Heat olive oil in a pot and fry the minced beef for about 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, set the heat on medium heat and fry for about 5 minutes.
- Add ground cilantro and spinach and add stock.
- Squeeze out the lemon and add lemon juice to the stew. Let stew simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Briefly roast the pine nuts without oil in a pan on medium heat until they have some colour and add them to the stew. Season the stew with salt and pepper.
- Prepare buttered rice according to recipe.
- Serve spinach stew with buttered rice and lemon slices if desired.