Think cooking with winter produce is as blah as the weather? Think again! Try these five ways to make the most of produce available right now, and you might find yourself looking forward to what else the last few weeks of winter has in store.
Combine in a bowl 1 chopped tomato, ½ finely diced red onion, ½ cup pomegranate arils and 3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro. Toss together with the juice from half a freshly squeezed lime and half a freshly squeezed orange. Delicious served over grilled fish or chicken!
The pomegranate fruit is packed with hundreds of arils, small “capsules” filled with pomegranate juice and a tiny, edible seed. They are rich in heart-healthy antioxidants and an excellent source of fibre.
Honey Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Peel 2 large sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Toss to coat in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Bake at 375°C for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through.
Sweet carotene is more effectively absorbed by the body in the presence of dietary fat, which is an added benefit of pairing olive oil with the sweet potatoes in this dish.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Quinoa Salad
Take ½ pound of Brussels sprouts, and trim and halve them lengthwise. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast Brussels sprouts in the oven at 400°C for 30-35 minutes, turning once or twice until golden brown. Meanwhile, prepare ¼ cup of quinoa according to package instructions. Toss 4 cups of organic baby spinach with the juice of half a lemon, then toss with cooked quinoa, ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes and the roasted Brussels sprouts.
Brussels sprouts are a leafy green vegetable from the Brassica family (cruciferous vegetables), which also includes broccoli and kale. They are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fibre. Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts contain a protective phytochemical called sulforaphane. Numerous studies have documented the beneficial effects of this naturally occurring compound. Sulforaphane has been shown to enhance the body’s production of detoxification enzymes and also acts as an antioxidant, boosting the body’s ability to defend against the cell-damaging effects of environmental and dietary chemicals.
Baked Eggs with Leeks and Ricotta
Preheat oven broiler and place rack in the top third of the oven. In a small skillet with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, sauté a clove of minced garlic with 1/4 cup of thinly sliced leeks over medium heat, until softened. Add ½ chopped red pepper and 1 cup of spinach or kale, and heat on low until wilted. Stir together 1 tablespoon of milk and 1 tablespoon of ricotta cheese, and then pour into the middle of the skillet. Crack in two eggs directly over the centre of the skillet. Place under the broiler for a few minutes just until the whites have cooked.
Leeks are an Allium vegetable, making them closely related to onions, garlic, shallots and scallions. They have a mild taste similar to onions, but are a touch sweeter. Leeks contain allyl sulfides, health-promoting compounds that have been shown to support a healthy heart and immune system.
Wild Blueberry Smoothie
In a blender, combine 1 ½ cups vanilla flavoured almond or soy milk with 3 tablespoons of honey. Add 2 cups of frozen wild blueberries and puree until smooth. Season with 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, the richest source of any fruit or vegetable. Many of the antioxidants are the same flavonoids that give grapes and red wine their heart health properties, including the well-known flavonoid resveratrol. Blueberries may also help to slow age-related memory decline.