One of my New Year’s resolutions (although, as you know, I don’t really make them) is to add more diversity to my diet. I tend to eat the way I do for two reasons: one, I like the taste of a particular food item; or two, it is nutritious. I’ve never been one to worry if there are too many calories or too much fat. That being said, I am a creature of habit when it comes to including vegetables in my diet. Although I do consume the suggested amount of veggies from Canada’s Food Guide, I do tend to eat a lot of the same ones.
Broccoli is always number one in my books. I eat it every day (along with my ice cream although not at the same time). Not only do I love the taste of broccoli (served with my roasted garlic hummus), it is one of the most nutritional veggies around.
My new, fairly frequent addition to my vegetable repertoire is kale. Kale is a form of cabbage and is high in beta carotene, vit K, lutein, not bad fibre for a green vegetable and reasonable in the calcium department. It has been credited with lowering cholesterol and possessing a whole host of anti-cancer properties. Kale freezes well and actually tastes sweeter and has more flavour when it has been frozen.
I wanted to share a couple of recipes with you from a cookbook entitled Cooking Vegetarian (healthy, delicious and easy vegetarian cuisine) by Joseph Forest and Vesanto Melina.
Here are two of my favourite kale recipes:
AFRICAN CHICKPEA STEW
Makes 6 cups enough for 4 servings.
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable stock or water
2 cups peeled, diced sweet potatoes or yams
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup brown rice
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup peanut butter
2 cups thinly sliced kale
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp black pepper
Hot chili pepper sauce
Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes more. Add stock, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, rice, and salt; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is cooked. In a small bowl, blend peanut butter with enough liquid from the stew to make a smooth paste. Stir this paste into the stew along with kale, lemon juice, pepper, tamari and chili pepper sauce to taste and cook for another 5 minutes. Adjust the seasonings.
This nutrition-packed stew has a good balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate.
One of the reasons I enjoy this cookbook is the mix and match approach the authors take to putting together a meal. Under the entrees section of the book, the authors have a section called International Roll-Ups where they provide recipes for six possible fillings based on various cultures. This recipe includes many of the same ingredients of the first recipe. The nice thing about this recipe, is that you can make the sauce (keeps for a couple of weeks) separately and your family can add the sauce and other items as they like. I often poach chicken and add to recipe (did I just say that?) for the boys in the family.
Here’s the recipe for African Style Roll-Ups
1/3 cup cooked brown rice
1/3 cup mashed yam
1/3 cup sliced kale, lightly steamed
¼ cup alfalfa sprouts (yeah new ingredient)
2 tbsp spicy peanut sauce (recipe below)
Dash of hot pepper sauce
Spicy Peanut Sauce
½ cup unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter
½ cup coconut milk
¼ cup chopped ginger
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chili paste
2 gloves garlic
Put all ingredients in food processor or blender for one minute. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks
Give these recipes a try and let me know what you think! Think green!