In honor of the veggie…(recipes galore!)

The Diane Rehm show featured an interesting discussion yesterday on new research suggesting that it may not be the vitamins and nutrients in fruits and vegetables that are so good for you, but rather their toxins. Here is a synopsis for the episode :

Your mother was right when she told you to eat your vegetables, but maybe not for the reasons you think. New research suggests it may not be the vitamins and nutrients in fruits and vegetables that are so good for you – it may be their toxins. Plants naturally produce chemicals to ward off insects and other would–be predators. When we eat fruits and vegetables,these chemicals stimulate our nerve cells and seem to boost our body’s resistance to disease. We hear more about the benefits of toxins in fruits and vegetables, and other anti-aging research.

Listen here!

In honor of the growing list of reasons why you should eat your veggies, here are some perfect summer, veggie-focused recipes!

We can’t talk veggie recipes without mentioning one of our favorite vegetarian food blogs, Cookie and Kate!

Check out this awesome recipe for Asian Chopped Kale Salad!

Healthy chopped kale salad with Asian flavors - cookieandkate.com

INGREDIENTS
Salad
  • 1 bunch kale (preferably lacinato/Tuscan/dinosaur kale but regular curly kale works, too)
  • fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped snow peas (slice off tough ends first)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and ribboned with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 small red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 heaping cup organic edamame (if using frozen edamame, defrost by tossing into a pot of boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes)
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced into small chunks
  • 1 large shallot, finely sliced
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • handful Thai basil (or regular basil), chopped
Tamari-Ginger Vinaigrette
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari (or other low-sodium soy sauce*)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Use a chef’s knife to remove the tough ribs from the kale, then discard them. Chop the kale leaves into small, bite-sized pieces and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the kale with a dash of sea salt and use your hands to massage the kale by scrunching up the leaves in your hands and releasing until the kale is a darker green and fragrant. Toss the remaining salad dressing ingredients with the kale.
  2. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all the ingredients until emulsified. Toss the dressing with the salad and serve.
NOTES
Yields 2 enormous salads or 4 medium.
STORAGE SUGGESTIONS: Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for a day or two.
*MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Tamari is a gluten-free Japanese soy sauce that has a flavor I love and is readily available at stores. If you want your salad to be gluten-free, be sure to pick a gluten-free soy sauce.
*MAKE IT SOY FREE: Switch jicama or cucumbers for edamame and remove the soy sauce and instead dilute a little chickpea miso with water and add 1 tbsp of that.
Inspired by my recent trip to Turkey, check out these sure to please dips for your 4th of July party!
Carrot Yogurt Dip

Ingredients

4 medium sized carrot, peeled and finely grated (use a food processor)
1 tbp olive oil
1 tsp salt and a bit more
1 cup natural yogurt
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
A gentle squeeze of lemon juice
A sprinkling of sumac, paprika or garnish with parsley or dried mint, your choice

Method

In a large skillet, cook the carrot with the oil and some salt until just cooked through. Set aside to cool down a bit.

Mix the carrot with the yogurt, garlic. Taste for salt and add lemon juice if needed.

Transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle sumac, paprika or garnish with parsley or dried mint, your choice.

Smoky Eggplant and Yogurt Puree

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds eggplant

2 garlic cloves, mashed in a mortar and pestle with a generous pinch of salt (more to taste)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup drained yogurt

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Chopped fresh mint for garnish

1. Prepare a hot grill. Pierce the eggplants in a few places with the tip of a knife or with a skewer. Grill until they are uniformly charred and the flesh is very soft and beginning to ooze. Transfer to a bowl, and cover tightly. Allow the eggplants to cool until you can handle them, then remove their skins and stems and discard any juice in the bowl.

2. Transfer the eggplant pulp to a food processor fitted with the steel blade or to a bowl. Mash with a fork, or purée in the food processor. Add the remaining ingredients, and combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings. The purée will be slightly runny, but it will stiffen up. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm or room temperature with pita bread or crudités.

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups, serving six.

Advance preparation: Although this is best served warm, you may prepare it hours ahead and serve it at room temperature, or reheat for about 30 seconds in a microwave.

Nutritional information per serving: 65 calories; 3 grams fat; 1 gramsaturated fat; 2 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams carbohydrates; 4 gramsdietary fiber; 5 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 2 grams protein

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