Slightly chalky, with a flavor and texture similar to chard or raw spinach, Red Orach adds an interesting dimension to a winter salad.

red orach saladIt’s also known as mountain spinach and is a relative of Amaranth. Red Orach is really a lovely addition to salads not only for its flavor but also because it is really aesthetically lovely. Deep red leaves add a festive quality to dark leafy greens.
Red Orach has a long history as part of the human diet. In fact, it was a main go to green (or red) before spinach really became a hit. Orach actually has many variations that also result in color differences. When cooked the leaves color whatever they are cooked with and have historically been used for just that purpose. In Italy it has been used for centuries to color pasta.
Orach is a versatile plant and can be found in a variety of landscapes around the globe.

red orach soupFrom a culinary perspective, orach is great as an add in to raw salads and garnished small plates, both for its beauty and for its flavor. It can also be added to any variety of cooked dishes that call for leafy vegetables. Just keep in mind that the red and purple leaves will change the color of whatever culinary endeavor you are undertaking.

From a nutritional perspective, orach is a great source of a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. The green leaves contain phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and iron. The red leaves contain anthocyanin which, if you remember from other red colored fruits and vegetables, is a chemical compound that acts as a preventative measure against oxidative stress and the development of different types of cancer. It is also the compound responsible for relieving the potential for muscle strain after a workout. Red orach isn’t that easy to come by in the marketplace, but it is a winter vegetable so keep a lookout as the days cool and nights lengthens.