A Happy Healthy New Year!
By Cheryl Forberg, RD
Whether you’re trying to check out a vegetarian lifestyle or simply want to increase your vegetable intake this year – either way, you’re making a great choice. Most of us are simply not eating enough vegetables. You may subscribe to the popular misconception that vegetables (without butter and cheese!) aren’t filling, but nothing could be further from the truth! Most vegetables have a high water content, delivering satisfying bulk with just a few calories. Vegetables are also loaded with fiber, making you feel fuller while helping lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
To get a full 4 cups of veggies into your daily diet (which is my recommendation), try these strategies:
Go green… wisely. In an ideal world, we’d all eat organic produce all the time, but organic tends to be more expensive than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. If you’re on a budget, focus your organic purchases on thin-skinned fruit and veggies vulnerable to pesticide exposure – peaches and apricots, cherries and bell peppers, celery and spinach.
Easy Tomato and Mushroom Curry
One a day. Try to eat at least one raw vegetable each day.
Mix ’em up. Eat a vegetable salad most days of the week.
Keep veggies on hand. Keep cut vegetables in your fridge for easy snacking.
Experiment! During spring and summer, dozens of different vegetables are in season.
Eat what you like. Sounds obvious, but if you hate Brussels sprouts, forcing them down will not endear vegetables to you!
Fire ’em up! Roasting, puréeing or grilling fresh vegetables unlocks new flavor profiles for even the most familiar veggies. Herbs and spices can round out a rich taste experience.
Make veggies the main course. Place flavorful vegetables front and center on lunch and dinner plates, accompanied by sides of protein and whole grains. Hello, Meatless Mondays. This scrumptious recipe is a perfect example.
If you like curry, you’ll be making this recipe over and over. It takes minutes to make and can be served on its own as a side dish, or over rice or quinoa. You can even add more broth and serve it as a soup.
Makes 4 cups
1 package (10 oz) Melissa’s Heavenly Villaggio Marzanos (or 10 ounces diced fresh or canned tomatoes)
3 ounces peeled and roughly chopped shallots (approx. 3 medium shallots)
2 T Melissa’s chopped ginger
1 T Melissa’s chopped garlic
3 T grapeseed or olive oil, divided
1-pound cleaned mushrooms (I used shiitakes; stems removed)
1 t smoked salt
1 t ground coriander
1 t garam masala
1/2 t ground piment d’Espellette or chili powder
1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Garnish: 2 T chopped cilantro
Add tomatoes, onion, ginger and garlic to a blender jar and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Slice mushrooms. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.
When hot, add mushrooms and smoked salt. Stir well and sauté for 3 - 4 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened and are just starting to brown. Pour the mushrooms and juices into a bowl and set aside. Note: If the pan is not large, make two batches. You don’t want to crowd the mushrooms.
Add remaining 1 T oil to the same pan and place over medium high heat. When hot, add the tomato mixture from the blender. Reduce heat to simmer when it starts to thicken. Sauté for 3–4 minutes until the “pink” raw tomato turns red when it’s cooked. Add the spices and sauté another minute until fragrant.
Add sour cream or yogurt to the pan and stir well; cook for 1 – 2 minutes or until heated through.
Now add broth, mushrooms and any accumulated mushroom juices. Stir and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve hot. Serves 1-2