Tag Archives: vegetarian

Cauliflower Week: The wallflower steps out

For me, things like kale, sweet potatoes, Greek yogurt, spinach, nut butters, beans, and carrots are always top of mind. They get scribbled onto our grocery list week in and week out, and their absence in the fridge or pantry is immediately noticed. But on the other end of the spectrum is a food that rarely emerges from the recesses of my edible memory, one that when I stumble upon a recipe using it, I honestly think, “Oh, right, people eat that.”

Cauliflower doesn’t really deserve the wallflower treatment – inside those nubbly white florets are the nutrients common to the cruciferous vegetable family to which it belongs. Plants in this family are rich in sulphoraphanes (or in cauliflower’s case, precursor glucosinolates), which are associated with a lower risk of many cancers. But what finally snapped my neck in cauliflower’s direction was not the nutrition nerdery, but a simple roasted cauliflower soup:

Thick, earthy, and crunchy with the hazelnut topping, this soup from Sprouted Kitchen was all that. The mushroom-y flavor makes no sense (because there are none in there), but it is fantastic. The leftovers were nearly turned into a 10:00 am lunch, I was so eager to dive back in.

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Recipe Redux: Straight to the heart – double chocolate ginger scones

In the month when we celebrate love, Recipe Redux is aiming straight for your heart with chocolate.

Chocolate has a taste that has launched a thousand obsessions. But the cocoa bean – and darker, less processed chocolates – also contains flavanoids that may act as antioxidants, help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow throughout the body, and prevent abnormal blood clotting. It’s no wonder that the culinary dietitians of Recipe Redux would focus on this heart-healthy, tastebud-friendly food for February (which is National Heart Month in the U.S.).

For my contribution, I figured one superfood is great, and two would be even better. So I combined heart-healthy chocolate from local Taza with the spicy-sweet anti-inflammatory root, ginger.

The result: a rich, zesty start to your morning with double chocolate ginger scones:

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The Week in Sports: Well, the week in salsa, anyway

There’s some sort of sporting thing going on this weekend, right? Big national cricket competition, or a curling match or something? If you’re reading the Internet Foodosphere, you can easily be excused for forgetting what the actual game is; here, the food rules the track and field. Potato skins, wings, chili, HUT! So let’s all don our lacrosse helmets and join the fray, with a week’s worth of salsa recipes with a twist.

Sweet potato salsa from Running to the Kitchen

Why not conventional salsa? It’s not for a lack of appreciation – I personally go through at least one 16-oz jar of salsa every week. I put it on quesadillas and eat it with chips, sure, but I also put it on salads, in sandwiches, and in my mouth directly from the jar (Tim still looks incredulous when he sees me do this). It’s mostly about taste, but my inner nutrition nerd also loves this stuff: salsa is an easy way to add to your veggie (and often fruit) intake for the day, with relatively few calories and a good hit of flavor.

Cucumber avocado salsa from Weelicious

But you don’t need me to give you recipes for that – it’s easy to grab some really tasty typical salsa from the store. Anything farther afield, however, is rarely in the ready-made aisle. So we’re going to have to sharpen our knives and roll up our sleeves to try some variations on the salsa theme. I don’t have any recipes of my own to share, despite my unabashed love of salsa paired with anything else edible. Thankfully, there are plenty of novel salsa recipes from other folks on Teh Internets, so here’s your week’s worth of the super scoopable stuff:

  • Feta salsa from Smitten Kitchen (here)
  • Black bean salsa with heirloom tomatoes and pear from Tonya Staab (here)
  • Mango strawberry salsa from Allrecipes (here)
  • Grilled peppery mushroom salsa from Epicurious (here)
  • Apple walnut salsa from Allrecipes (here)
  • Cucumber avocado salsa with mint from Weelicious (here)
  • Sweet potato blackberry salsa from Running to the Kitchen (here)

And let’s go team!

Recipe Redux: Eggs BeneMex for a fresh start with breakfast

Fresh off our holiday trip to Texas, I was charged with devising a “fresh start” breakfast recipe for January’s Recipe Redux. Hopelessly Tex-Mex obsessed at that point, and looking for any excuse to douse things in salsa, I trained my sight on eggs Benedict. This was a perfect candidate for a healthifying Redux, what with the sticks of butter involved in the traditional sauce and noticeable absence of anything recently derived from a plant.

But simply omitting the hollandaise and adding salsa doesn’t maintain the creamy, sloppy texture that is a good part of what makes eggs Benedict awesome. Enter the magic ingredient: avocado.

By mixing up these mean, green nutrient machines with some lime and hot sauce, I got a spicy sweet sauce with that desired creamy texture, minus all the saturated fat. Combining the sauce with salsa over poached eggs and corn biscuits, I ended up with Eggs BeneMex, a great Tex-Mex take on the traditional breakfast dish.

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The Missing Week: Vegetables and the chocolate Trojan Horse

Have you heard me extol vegetables’ virtues previously – colon-friendly fiber, blood-pressure-loving potassium – but haven’t yet felt compelled to consistently eat your daily recommended servings? Maybe you’re suffering from Vegetable Nutrition News Fatigue (symptoms include rolling eyes and sighing after repeated exposure to vegetable-related health-benefit messages). If that’s the case, then I clearly need to resort to the heavy artillery: chocolate.

What’s that, you say? Chocolate.

Do I have your attention now? Good, because something else yanked my attention back to the topic of produce-heavy diets: a British study found not eating enough fruits and vegetables is the 2nd greatest modifiable risk for developing cancer in men, and the 5th greatest modifiable risk in women (approximately 40% of overall cancer risk is due to modifiable/lifestyle factors). This news isn’t entirely new, since research has previously linked a lack of dietary produce with risk of many cancers. But the fact that it is second only to tobacco among modifiable risk factors in men startled me, and I realized it was time to step up the vegetable evangelism.

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Recipe Redux: Whole grains – accidental warm spelt salad

What food blogger – especially one with Obsessive Pun Disorder – wouldn’t love the chance to say they bit off more than they can chew? Thanks (I think?) to Recipe Redux, I had the opportunity to do just that. For November, we Reduxers were charged with using a new whole grain. So I dove right in and tried to modify a recipe I’ve never made before (pan-seared oatmeal) with a grain I’ve never eaten, much less prepared – spelt.

The idea was to modify the sweet breakfast recipe into a savory version that would highlight the richer, mushroom-y flavor of spelt. The result? Well, let’s call it Accidental Spelt Salad, because there were some… structural issues that required a salvage job and a bowl.

I mixed cooked spelt with egg and Dijon mustard and layered it with some Gruyere cheese in the middle. This chilled for about an hour; I then inverted it and cut it into neat little triangles. Alas, here’s where things went south.

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Veg out for a Week: Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

Boston Vegetarian Food Festival in a few words: crowded…

…and cupcakes.

Let’s do this part up front: I’m not a vegetarian. If anything, I would wear the slightly cutesy “flexitarian” label. But in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been mulling the idea over more and more lately. There are a lot of factors – environmental, ethical, economic and I-can’t-find-a-way-to-make-“health”-start-with-E – that support the choice of a meat-free diet. I’m armed with enough nutrition science know-how that I’ve got no fears about getting enough protein, iron, or tastiness in a vegetarian diet. And with the way I eat now (more meat-free meals than not), the change wouldn’t be that dramatic.

So while I’m not all-in just yet, I was interested in checking out the food festival. Tim, Miles & I headed to Roxbury Saturday before the snow arrived, and it turns out that every other person near Boston had the same bright idea. The event room was slammed when we got there, but we braved the crowds to check out the vendors (after the jump).

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Recipe Redux: Fresh off the vine – pumpkin yogurt dip for waffle sticks

In October, pumpkins seem to have just two (and very different) jobs: scaring passersby with gaping, candle-light sneers and cajoling us with their sweetness inside a pie crust. But since we apparently produce an astounding 1.5 billion pounds of these big orange squash every year in the United States, one has to wonder if there aren’t a few more things we can do with them.

The foodie dietitians of Recipe Redux have certainly answered that question, with over 30 recipes for fresh pumpkin. This month’s Redux recipes include so many inventive uses for pumpkin – muffins, soups, risotto, stuffing, sliders, pizza, smoothies – that you could be well into November before trying my contribution, pumpkin yogurt dip for waffle sticks:

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