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Fresh Warm Spring Asparagus Salad

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegetarian Entrees
on April 03, 2012

Warm Spring Asparagus Salad


Well, for our part of the country spring has come very, very early this year. Yesterday, April 2nd, the temperature on our deck was around 95 degrees! No - I'm definitely not complaining! I love spring and summer. One of the things I love about spring is the nice fresh asparagus that is so readily available. We planted it one year and it came back a couple of years, but never where it was big enough to pick. So, we depend on our local farmers. We've noticed too that Trader Joe's has a frozen asparagus which frankly is as good as any fresh I've tasted. We mostly just saute it in a little butter or olive oil, but when I saw this recipe for warm salad, I had to give it a try. The recipe came from George Matelian's daily email (from Whole Foods) we receive and it always has good information and recipes. To read more "in-depth" nutritional information and how to sign up for his newsletter - click here.


This one salad has an amazing array of healthy nutrients. Certainly, enough to give it a try. By using the frozen asparagus spears, you can save some time and effort. We'd use the raw apple cider vinegar and McKay's chicken seasoning. When our bell peppers are ready for picking this summer, we'll use those. In the meantime, we freeze them every year, so I have some and those are what I'll use in this recipe. I do always keep jars of roasted red peppers - maybe I will use those. The balsamic vinegar is a no-brainer for me - love the stuff.

The entire credit for the following goes to Whole Foods and their extremely informational website:

You can add this easy-to-prepare salad to your Healthiest Way of Eating in a matter of minutes. Not only is it an excellent source of health-promoting vitamins A, C, and E, but it provides 16% of your Daily Value for folate. Enjoy!

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small onion, cut in half and sliced thin
  • 2 TBS light vinegar (rice, apple cider, or white wine)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 3 TBS low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 7-1/2 oz jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained and slivered (or 2 medium red bell peppers, sliced thin)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Slice onion and place in a small bowl with vinegar and hot water while preparing rest of the ingredients.
  2. After about 10 minutes, remove onion from hot water and squeeze dry.
  3. While onions are marinating heat 3 TBS broth over medium heat in a stainless steel skillet.
  4. While broth is heating, snap off the woody bottom of asparagus stems, then cut the spears into 2-inch lengths. Cutting them into short pieces of equal length ensures quick, even cooking.
  5. When broth begins to steam, add asparagus. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. The outside will be tender and the inside will be crisp. Thinner spears will take about 3 minutes.
  6. Mix together roasted peppers with marinated onion, asparagus, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Marinate for 4-5 minutes and serve warm.

    Optional: If you use fresh red bell peppers, Healthy Sauté them for 7 minutes and toss with rest of ingredients in place of roasted peppers. Serves 4

     

    Let us know if you try this! 

    Thanks for listening!

      

Chickpeas with gravy

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegan Main Meals
on January 09, 2012

Chickpeas in gravy

 

Looking for a way to add plant-based protein to your diet? Here is an excellent recipe. I found this recipe on my Tweeter feed this morning and thought it looked like something we should try. It's best to soak dried beans and cook them rather than using canned, but I know it seems easier to just open a can. I even tried soaking them and using them "raw", but seriously they get rancid/moldy much too quickly unless you keep a close eye on them. Check out the blog, Quantum Vegan, for the full article and recipe.  She mentions adding flour to thicken the gravy. The way we like our gravy is cashew gravy and we just put the raw (preferably soaked but I usually don't remember to do this) nuts and water in the blender (Vitamix is great, but we don't have one) and add one tablespoon of whatever flour you want - actually garbanzo bean flour would work. We're always looking for substitutes for refined flours and wheat while also trying to eliminate as many sources of gluten from our diet as possible. Let me just say that I haven't tried this recipe yet, but will probably fix it for Warren tonight. However, I have definitely discovered that after many years of eating regular flour/roux type gravy, I much prefer the cashew gravy. I like to add about a tablespoon of veggie chicken broth seasoning (msg free!) or other seasoning depending on what flavor I'm trying to achieve. Since this recipe highlights thyme, I would think "chicken" broth would be great and we prefer the veggie type. I know, I know veggie chicken is an oxymoron! Try it like she has it or adjust it with the cashew gravy - either way, it sounds like a keeper.

Ingredients
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp flour
1tsp dried thyme
1-2cups veg broth
1 15.5oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
1) In a large skillet or saute pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

2) Add the flour and cook, stirring, until browned, 2-5 minutes.  Add the thyme, chickpeas, and 1 cup of broth; stir well to combine.

3) Bring the mixture a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes to thicken.  Add more broth as necessary if the gravy becomes too thick.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Serve hot.

What so great about cashews?:

The great thing about this recipe, especially if you substitute the regular gravy which has very little nutritional value, is to use the cashew gravy. Did you know that  cashews (contrary to what I was taught years ago), have a lower fat content than most other nuts, approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil! They are high in antioxidants as well. Now how much protein?  Cashews have about 17 grams of protein for each 100 grams of nuts (about 3.5 ounces.)  Check here for information from Whole Foods about all the healthy benefits you get from adding nuts, such as cashew nuts, into your diet.

What about chickpeas?:

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are best known for their very high protein and fiber content.  One of my favorite ways to use chickpeas in to make hummus dip for celery. For those of us trying to increase our plant-based protein and fiber in our meal plans - chickpeas are one of your best bets. For just one cup of beans you will get approximately 17 grams of protein! That's a lot! And as well as that you will receive about 14 grams of fiber. This particular bean has been studied and has shown that incorporating chickpeas into your diet will help keep you satisfied without food cravings. For more information about chickpeas, here is the link to Whole Foods detailed information.

Let me know if you try it!




Black Bean and Artichoke Medley II

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegan Main Meals
on November 13, 2011

Black beans and artichokes in a simple vegan stew:

 

Sometime last year I wrote a blog about "The Mighty Artichoke" - see here - and why it is so incredibly healthy and often overlooked as a superfood. And I also posted a recipe that we had adapted from AICR's website with permission - see here. At this time in our household we are dealing with what we believe to be yeast overgrowth which is presenting itself as a large area of Warren's body being covered with rashes. This has been going on for awhile. The dermatologist thought it was psoriasis, so he put him on prednisone, which is a steroid medicine often given for inflammatory conditions. However, it also feeds yeast and makes it worse. Which is what has happened. The reason I'm even telling you this is that we are now VERY interested in changing our diet to eliminate all sources of sugars that would feed anymore yeast growth. We are also treating the rash, but I can tell you it has been a painful miserable process for my husband. In this long process I have been doing a lot more research about yeast and what can be done about it.  Which means I've been searching through a lot of our recipes to see if they could be used now. The black beans and artichoke recipe originally was a simple quick recipe and I made it today. It was a hit and what we call a "keeper". I wanted to share with you this simple but tasty black bean and artichoke simmer II.

Olive oil (just lightly cover the bottom of the pan)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 fresh garlic cloves (one of the best things to fight yeast)
1 quart of Warren's canned tomatoes (I know you can't have these - substitute 2 cans of tomatoes with no sugar or salt added)
1 can (15 oz) organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 Tbsp Old Westporte Special seasoning (you'll see me use this spice a lot - here is where you can find it). It's not a "spice" per se but a proprietary blend of dehydrated vegetables.

In medium saucepan, saute the onions until transparent. Add the minced garlic - don't let burn or turn brown. Add the Westporte seasoning and stir in the tomatoes and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add the black beans, stirring to mix well, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until heated throughout. 

I wasn't sure if it would turn out to be a soup, stew or casserole type dish. It was somewhere between a soup and stew and we served it in bowls. It was really very good. We happened to have cooked spinach as a side dish at the time and tried adding that to the stew, but it pretty much overwhelmed the clean, fresh taste of the artichokes and tomatoes. 

According to AICR's (American Institute for Cancer Research) website this recipe contains 9 servings, with 90 calories each, 1.5 grams total fat (0 grams saturated fat), 15 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein, 4 grams dietary fiber and 420 mg sodium. I think using our own canned tomatoes probably reduced the sodium content. I also did not add any salt while cooking. 

Easy, quick and incredibly healthy! Let me know if you have any recipes you'd like to share or advice about yeast overgrowth. After searching through quite a bit of information, it became clear that there is a lot of disagreement about what can or cannot, should or should not be eaten to control yeast. I've had to weigh my education as a nurse with my education as a holistic nutritionist to filter out those things that just don't make sense. I've also watched closely to see clinical improvements or something that might make it worse. I am certainly open to listening to anyone's knowledge in this area.

Thanks for listening!











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