I am a huge fan of vegetables- just like many of you. I chose to write to you today about Kale and Cauliflower not because they are my favorite vegetables (I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite veggie!), but because I recently tried 2 new recipes that I found in Clean Eating Magazine that I really enjoyed, and as you might have guessed, featured them. When I realized they started with my initials, I figured that was a “sign” that I should share them with you. (lol) Before I get to the recipes, I would like to give you some of the great stats that both kale and cauliflower can boast.
Kale- is a dark, leafy “super” green, which has found its way to the top of the list of the healthiest foods around. I have heard it referred to as “Mother Nature’s multivitamin”. It’s plentiful in the essential vitamins A, C and K as well as the minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. Not only that, a small 1 cup serving has 3 grams of protein and only 40 calories. Not too shabby. I think Popeye needs to trade in his can of spinach for a cup of kale! In comparing kale to spinach, one cup of cooked kale has 1000% more vitamin C than a cup of cooked spinach- and is more absorbable in the human digestive system. This nutritional powerhouse not only plays a role in skin, hair and bone health, it has the potential health benefits of improving blood glucose control in diabetics, lowering the risk of cancer, high blood pressure and the development of asthma. On top of all these benefits, it tastes great.
Cauliflower- is a white food that breaks the rules! In our quest to eat healthy we are told to avoid white foods. No white sugar, flour, rice, pasta… You don’t want to put cauliflower on that list. It is replete in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and other phytochemicals. This nutritional superfood can boast the following benefits: cancer fighting, improve blood pressure and kidney function which lead to better heart health, improve brain function- learning and memory, anti-inflammatory, good source of dietary fiber to boost digestion, and aids the body in detoxifying. Wow. Why would you want to avoid it? Not only does it boast all those benefits, it is versatile. You can eat it raw or cooked, as a snack or part of a hearty meal.
The following recipes, adapted from the April 2015 issue of Clean Eating, not only include these two superfoods, they include chickpeas, tomatoes and quinoa. I have a lot to say about those foods also but will save that for another day. With all these great foods included in these side dishes, you get a lot of bang for your nutritional buck and they taste delicious!
Kale, Chickpeas and Tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil ¼ tsp sea salt
1 yellow onion, diced ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced 1 15oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp ground cumin 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
½ tsp ground coriander 1 ½ cups water
1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped (you can get already cleaned and chopped in the supermarket- much easier.)
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- In a large nonstick skillet on medium, heat oil. Add onion and sauté until softened. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and cayenne. Cook, stirring 1 min. more.
- Add chickpeas, tomatoes and 1 ½ cups water. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Add kale, a few handfuls at a time, stirring with each addition until kale wilts. When all kale has been added, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until kale is tender, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off heat, sprinkle cheese on top.
- For variety, the next time I make it, I am going to replace the regular diced tomatoes with stewed tomatoes. I think they will go well. I might also try without the chickpeas. Just some food for thought.
Cauliflower and Quinoa Patties
As a side note, this is a great way to incorporate quinoa into your diet if you are one of those that does not like the texture of it. The texture completely changes when made like this. I also enjoyed this more at room temperature, not hot off the pan.
6 cups cauliflower florets (1 head) ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced ¼ tsp baking powder
1 egg plus 1 egg white, beaten ½ tsp dried oregano
1 cup cooked quinoa sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leafed parsley
¾ cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- In a large sauce pan of boiling, salted water, add cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Roughly mash with a potato masher to pea sized pieces, let cool 15 min.
- Stir in garlic, egg and egg white, quinoa and parsley. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, Parmesan, baking powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir the flour mixture into quinoa mixture until just combined.
- Using ¼ cup mixture for each, roll into balls, then flatten slightly to form ¾ in. thick patties.
- In a large non-stick skillet on medium, heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add half the patties and cook for about 4 minutes. Carefully flip, using 2 utensils if needed. Cook other side about 4 min. until golden and cooked through. Remove and place on paper towel coated plate.
- Repeat with remaining oil and patties.