We all know we need to eat more vegetables to be healthier. Study after study for decades has proven that plant-based diets offer better health and longevity than the Standard American Diet (SAD)of fast food, meat, dairy, sugar, and wheat. Plant foods are what 2016 will be all about here at Lean Green Eating!
Every publication will be extolling the virtues of vegetables. There will be health benefits and recipe starting with this one!
Kick the Year Off Right
January is resolution time and what better resolution is there than to eat more vegetables! But wait, the farmer’s market is empty and the produce isle is green and brown (cabbage and potatoes). Don’t worry! The freezer section is brimming with summer vegetables frozen, as they say, “at the peak of perfection”! There are also some nutritious morsels stashed away in the morgue section of the grocery store (the center aisles) too.
Buy Buy Buy
The more vegetables you have on hand, the more you will consume. Make a point of stocking the freezer and picking up some fresh greens at least once a week. So what if you have to throw some away every now and then. The biggest waste of food dollars and of health is eating at restaurants.
I encourage you to always eat as many seasonal vegetables as possible and the reason is simple. We were designed that way and so were the plants. For example, the Brassica family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, bok choy, radishes, watercress, horseradish and kale, contain sulphoraphane. Michael Greger, M.D. wrote in his recent best seller How Not to Die that this ‘detoxicant’ is credited with killing cancer cells, protecting the brain and eyesight, reducing nasal allergy inflammation, managing type 2 diabetes, and in a placebo controlled, double-blind randomized trial improved the behavior of autistic boys within a matter of weeks.
Why do we need them in winter? One reason is that our vitamin D levels drop to critically low levels when the sun is farthest from the earth and the days are shortest in winter. Dr. Joel Fuhrman writes, “The most recent research on blood vitamin D status and cancer survival suggests that vitamin D adequacy reduces the risk of death in breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer, leukemia and lymphomas, and all cancers combined.” Get it? Low sunlight=low vitamin D=more DNA damage. More cruciferous winter brassica vegetables=more DNA protection=more cancer prevention.
Here’s How to Do It
Start with buying them fresh, frozen and prepared. Buy fresh kale for salads. One bunch will make four servings of kale salad with lemon juice, avocado and dates. Recipe below. Add fresh baby arugula to your usual salad mix or make a salad of just arugula. It can be bitter if it gets too large or in the heat of summer so if you are a beginner try baby arugula and mix it with other greens. A fresh cabbage will stay fresh in the crisper for a couple of weeks so buy them often and serve raw as slaw or steamed. My favorite way to eat cauliflower is roasted. Just toss chopped fresh cauliflower with olive oil, salt and smoked paprika and roast on a sheet pan at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Then serve with a sauce made of half Vegenaise, half yellow mustard. Yum.
Frozen broccoli is a staple in my freezer. It is my “go to” vegetable when I get home from a trip or have nothing left in the fridge. Frozen blends of broccoli and cauliflower are a good staple too. They can be ready in the microwave in minutes.
One tablespoon of jarred or fresh horseradish even counts as a serving of cruciferous vegetables according to Dr. Greger. Just learned about this so gimme a while to come up with some ways to use it! ;-)
Here are a few of my favorite winter vegetable recipes to boost your veggie intake and kill some cancer!
Kale Avocado and Date Salad
1 bunch fresh kale
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
2 haas avocados
8 medjool dates with pits
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Wash, drain, and de-stem kale. Tear kale into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle juice of the lemon and the olive oil over the kale and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Massage the oil and lemon juice into the kale with tongs or hands. When kale turns bright green add one diced avocado and massage it into the kale. Portion into four servings then garnish each serving with ¼ avocado, diced, 2 dates, chopped, and a heaping tablespoon of pine nuts.
Beans and Greens Soup
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped carrot
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
2 garlic cloves, crushed (or minced)
4 c. vegetable broth, divided
7 c. stemmed, chopped kale (mustard greens, swiss chard, or escarole)
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed, drained and divided
1 (15-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté 6 min. or until tender. Stir in 1/4 tsp. salt and garlic; cook 1 min. Stir in 3 cups of the vegetable broth and the kale. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until kale is crisp-tender.
Place half the cannellini beans and remaining 1 c. vegetable broth in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add pureed bean mixture, remaining cannellini beans, black beans, and pepper to soup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, vinegar, and rosemary. (You may need to add more broth depending on how much kale you use.)
Poppy Seed-Crusted Butternut Squash with Kale and Pomegranates
1 medium butternut squash
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. melted ghee or coconut oil
3 Tbsp. poppy seeds
couple pinches of sea salt
2 cups packed shredded kale
juice of ó lemon
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of sea salt
Maple Mustard Dressing
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
pinch sea salt
1 tsp. pure Maple syrup
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel the squash, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut into cubes. Toss with oil, minced garlic, poppy seeds, and sprinkle with sea salt. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until forktender, not mushy (approx. 30-40 minutes)
2. While the squash is roasting, shred the kale by slicing it in very thin strips. Add the juice of lemon, a pinch of sea salt and massage into kale to wilt. Set aside.
3. Make dressing by whisking all ingredients together. Pour over kale, toss to coat.
4. Remove the pomegranate seeds. Fill a bowl with water, cut the fruit in half, then roughly pry out the seeds with your fingers and let them fall into the water. The seeds with white pith will float to the top – remove the pith as much as possible leaving the seeds, which will then sink.
5. When the butternut squash has finished roasting, remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Add to kale and mix. Toss with sliced shallot, pomegranate seeds, and garnish with lemon zest. Season to taste. Serve.
Creamy Vegan Broccoli and Rice Casserole
You can put the casserole together ahead of time and bake it just before serving. Start with it at
room temperature, if possible, and bake it long enough to be sure it’s heated through. If it starts
to get too brown on top, cover it with aluminum foil until it’s hot.
1 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
4 teaspoons cornstarch or potato starch
1 clove garlic
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon sherry (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tahini or cashew butter (optional)
very generous grating black pepper
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 5 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery, chopped
1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas (or other options, see below)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups cooked brown rice (warm, if possible)
2 tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly oil or spray a medium casserole dish (about 2-1/2-quart size).
2. Place the sauce ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.
3. Place the broccoli in a steamer basket set over water and steam, covered, until just barely
tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. While the broccoli is steaming, heat a large, deep non-stick skillet or saute pan. Add the
onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the
chickpeas, thyme, rice, and steamed broccoli. Make sure the sauce is well-blended, and
add it to the skillet. Stir gently and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Check
seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary, and smooth into the prepared
casserole dish and sprinkle with almonds, if desired. Bake until the top begins to brown,
about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Broccoli Cheez Soup
From Fettlevegan.com and Meat Out Mondays. org
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
3 small potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 heads of broccoli florets, stems removed
3 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. each salt & pepper
1 cup vegan cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
2. In a skillet, sauté the garlic, onions, celery, and carrots until they begin to soften.
3. Add potatoes and broccoli florets to the skillet mixture, and sauté for 2-5 minutes,
4. Add the vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to
the skillet, and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
5. Remove from heat, add the cheese, and then blend together until creamy.
6. Place all contents in one large mixing bowl, stir in the parsley, and serve
All the best in 2016!
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.