Eggplant and Potato Curry

The word curry actually describes any dish of meat, fish and/or vegetable that is served in or with a sauce which is common to South and Southeast Asia.  The main spices in curry powders are turmeric, coriander and cumin.  According to Dr. Mercola, turmeric is one of the most useful herbs on the planet.  Hundreds of studies have shown that turmeric and its primary compound, curcumin, can be helpful for a wide array of health problems.  It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Turmeric has been linked with improved brain function, lowered risk of heart disease, prevention (and perhaps even treatment) of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and delayed ageing.  

This is a delicious vegetarian and gluten-free dish my mom shared me some time ago.  Feel free to add or substitute other vegetables, such as cauliflower, butternut squash, and spinach.

1 eggplant, cubed
3 – 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tomatoes, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 cup frozen peas
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 cup water
Sea salt/pepper, to taste
Fresh cilantro
Lime
Coconut oil

Separately sauté the eggplant and then the potatoes in about a tablespoon of coconut oil until soft, set aside.  In a clean pan heat another tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat.  Stir in the onion and garlic, cook until translucent.  Season with cumin, curry powder, sea salt and pepper, cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the tomatoes, zucchini, peas, garbanzo beans, eggplant, and potato.  Pour in the water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 45 minutes.  Adjust seasoning, sprinkle with cilantro and drizzle with lime juice (optional) before serving.  

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas Salad

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so how about eating light before the big feast?  As stated in my previous posts, meat, given that it is grass-fed, organic and consumed in moderation, is an essential part of a healthy diet.  However, excessive meat consumption has been linked to numerous health issues.  Going meatless once a week may reduce one's risk of chronic, preventable conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer.  Also, eating less meat encourages consumption of more vegetables and plant-based proteins.

This salad offers just that.  Chickpeas are rich in fiber and a good source of vegetarian protein. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamins C, K, folate, and B6, as well as a source of minerals such as manganese and phosphorus.  If you like cauliflower and chickpeas but have never tried them roasted, give this salad a try!  Roasting deepens the flavor and adds a crispy texture to this dish.  

Salad
1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 sweet onion, sliced
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. favorite herbs (I used Bragg Organic Sea Kelp Delight)
Sea salt and pepper

Dressing
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced finely
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp. cumin, ground
½ tsp. coriander, ground
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Lay out cauliflower, chickpeas, and onions on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with the herbs, sea salt, pepper and toss with olive oil.  Roast for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

To make dressing, combine all ingredients together and mix into the roasted vegetables. Adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve warm or cold.

Roasted Root Vegetable Medley

One of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is to roast them. Roasting brings out the rich earthy colors and sweet flavors of root vegetables by caramelizing the sugars found in them.  It also increases the bioavailability of nutrients in certain vegetables.  For example, you get more carotenoids from carrots if you roast them, versus steaming or sautéing.  Adding herbs, such as rosemary, brings more than just aroma and flavor to this dish.  Herbs are rich in antioxidants – compounds that help boost the immune system as well as fight disease and aging.

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This recipe is from Cooking for Baby, a cookbook of delicious recipe ideas for starting babies on solid foods.  Our whole family enjoys this dish, even my husband (though he’ll never admit it), who generally doesn't eat sweet potatoes.

Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes
1 carrot
1 parsnip
1 turnip
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 tsp fresh rosemary
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Peel and cut vegetables into equal size cubes.  Place vegetables in a ceramic or glass baking dish.  Mix in the coconut oil, sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Roast until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes (keep covered for the first 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning).

Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli

Here is a very simple, yet super tasty way to prepare the superstar of vegetables -- broccoli!  I found this recipe on Pinterest a long time ago and it has been a frequent favorite ever since.  It has been referred to as "the best broccoli of your life.”

Broccoli is the leading member of the family of cruciferous vegetables.  It is a great source of vitamins K, A and C, as well as fiber, potassium, folate and lutein.  According to Dr. Mercola, it is one of the best health-boosting foods around, with research proving its effectiveness against arthritis, cancer, and blood pressure. Broccoli has also been known to support kidney health, anti-aging, immunity and heart health.

4 – 5 cups broccoli, cut into florets
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 – 4 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Juice of ½ lemon
Zest of ½ lemon
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Wash and thoroughly dry the broccoli.  In a large bowl combine the broccoli, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Lay out on a cookie sheet, avoiding overcrowding.  Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, until tender-crisp.  Remove from oven, drizzle with lemon juice and an additional tablespoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle with lemon zest and Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately!

Sweet and Tangy Red Cabbage

Red cabbage is a super-food.  It is a good source of thiamine, riboflavin, folate, calcium, iron and magnesium, and a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, K, B-6, potassium and manganese.  It also contains antioxidants and sulfur-based compounds which can reduce inflammation, provide cancer protection and boost brain function.

I always make an effort to consume a variety of different vegetables, but red cabbage proved to be a bit of a challenge for me.  I was looking for a cooked red cabbage recipe, but most of the ones I found were raw.  It is generally recommended not to over-consume raw cruciferous vegetables (these include cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli) as they can be difficult to digest and harmful to the thyroid.  They contain goitrogens, naturally-occurring substances which may enlarge and slow down the thyroid gland. However, the goitrogenic properties of cruciferous vegetables are dramatically diminished when they are cooked.  A little over a year ago I came across this recipe in the Practical Paleo cookbook and have been making it regularly ever since.  This dish is great on its own or as a side to any type of meat or fish.

Avoid cooking this dish in a cast iron skillet as the vinegar, which is very acidic, may react with the cast iron.

Ingredients

1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
½ head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
2-4 Tbsp apples cider vinegar
1 green apple, julienned
1 tsp dried rosemary
Salt and Pepper
3 Tbsp dried cranberries (optional)

Instructions

In a large pot or pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add the cabbage and cook until it softens. Add the vinegar, salt, and dried rosemary. Cook until cabbage is fork-tender.  Add the apples and cook them until soft.  Add more vinegar or some water if mixture becomes too dry.  For a slightly sweeter version, mix in the cranberries at the end. 
Serve warm.  Enjoy!