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updated: 5/9/2012 2:47 PM

Fresh Spinach with Ham, Garlic and Balsamic Vinegar

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1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces nitrite/nitrate-free sliced baked ham, cut into -inch pieces

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3 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed

3 bags (10 ounces each) fresh baby spinach, washed thoroughly, and partially dried, (organic preferred)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or to taste)

Add oil to a large Dutch oven or small stockpot and place over medium heat. When hot, add ham and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove ham to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add garlic to pot and saute until light golden and fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Add beans and spinach; toss to combine. Cover and increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is tender and wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat, season with salt and pepper, and add vinegar and ham.

Serves six as a side dish.

Nutrition values per serving (without added salt): 173 calories (25.9 percent from fat), 5 g fat (1.1 g saturated fat), 22.2 g carbohydrates, 6.4 g fiber, 14 g protein, 11 mg cholesterol, 362 mg sodium.

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