Spinach Heads

Spinach Heads

I wrote a recipe of spinach with eggs two days ago. And in that post I told you to put the heads of spinach aside for another dish on another day. That another day is today. Let me clarify what I mean with spinach heads. The end or the root of spinach stem which is in pinkish color. You see it in the picture. I love its shape and color; it’s like a shy girl/actress greeting her spectators. I used these raw ones both for decoration and to show you what I mean.

I learnt this dish from mom, and I rarely meet another woman cooking spinach heads dish. When I was a child, I used to watch mom with a great admiration as she used to make several kinds of spinach dishes and some days later totally different dish with the heads of spinach used to come out. She doesn’t like wasting anything. This is not a very common dish in Turkish cuisine, but a minority of Turkish women make this pantry friendly dish, which I love much.

Ispanak Basi

•    1 cup green lentil
•    2 cups water
•    1 cup spinach heads (of 1kg spinach)
•    1 onion,diced
•    1 middle size tomato, chopped
•    1 lemon (if you don’t want it to be too sour, ½ lemon is enough)
•    1 tbsp pepper or tomato paste
•    1 tsp salt
•    2 tbsp olive oil

Boil the green lentil in water until tender. If the lentil you use doesn’t soften easily, soak it overnight and then boil the following day.

In another pot, saute the diced onion in olive oil until golden, pepper or tomato paste in it and stir. Then add tomato and let it cook for a few minutes.

Meanwhile wash the spinach heads very well and then cut them into two. Then add these into the pot, stir it. When they lose their color, pour the lentil with its water into this pot. Squeeze the lemon, add salt and put its lid on. I love this dish sour, so I squeeze 1 lemon. Cook it on the lowest heat for 20 or 30 minutes. If you think its water is not enough, add some more.

You can serve it with bulgur pilaf (drinking house pilaf) or rice. And yogurt is also a great companion for spinach heads.

Spinach Heads


  1. says

    I think it’s so great that you put every thing to use that you can. I would of thrown the spinach heads out. But you’ve made this delicious meal out of them! Your Mom is one smart lady!

  2. says

    Zerrin, this is such a great idea! I always cut of the ends of spinach and honestly, waste them:( From now on, I am going to use this recipe. Thank you and your mom! PS; Happy International Women’s day!

  3. says

    How unusual! I have used the tasty pinkish spinach roots before, but not the whole root head (and now I’m thinking why ever not?) – this is an excellent idea, thanks (yet again).

  4. says

    I always learn so much from you – I had not idea that part had a name – I never would have thought to have a dish focused on them as an ingreditent – I LOVE it – nothing is wasted.I cannot wait to try when their in season, in the meantime, I am bookmarking this post so I can come back to it later. Thanks again.

  5. says

    Wow.. so intriguing. I never knew spinach heads had a use. Thanks for the info. Great photo.

  6. says

    I am definately going to make this!! It’s got all the ingredients I love. I have a question…I’m thinking of crumbling a little feta cheese on top, do you think that would work?
    thanks for sharing this :0)

  7. says

    Thank you all. I’m very glad you love these spinach heads. At first, I was afraid of not being able to tell what I mean, you might think that part should go to garbage. But I’m so delighted you welcome it.

    Lesley – That’s a great idea to have some cheese on the top. I really love this part of blogging, I learn new things, we share what we know/think of.

  8. says

    Oh, I’m so happy that you make use of spinach heads! I thought that I was the only person to do things like this. I like making use of all the bits and pieces in the kitchen… great ideas. I think I’m going to like it here!

  9. says

    I never would have thought of saving and cooking the stem end of spinach. It looks like a great dish!

  10. Mateja says

    What an interesting way to all parts of a veggie. My mom always maks a salad of “spinach heads”. She boils them until they are really soft and then makes a dressing from oilve oil and lemon juice, spiced with black pepper and cumin. But since I adore lentils, I will try this recipe next time I’m cooking spinach. Thank you for sharing ^_^


  1. […] and to new ways with familiar vegetables. Thanks to Zerrin, I know what I’ll be doing with spinach heads in […]

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