Thursday, October 7, 2010

Great greens for fall

Even though summer produce is (sadly) going, going and gone, certain really healthy and yummy crops are heading into their own peak season. I'm thinking today about greens of all kinds, including kale, broccoli and spinach. While they may not have as many fans as do tomatoes or corn, these sometimes-bitter greens could not be healthier -- and CAN be made to taste amazingly delicious.

If you need to be persuaded about the health profile of greens, here's an excerpt from a nutritionist who writes for Epicurious:
  • Go Green to Fight Cancer (by Megan Steintrager)
"Numerous scientific studies indicate that eating cruciferous vegetables—including kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and collard greens— can block carcinogens. Leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard are vitamin-rich and brimming with phytonutrients, including flavonoids and carotenoids, that are linked to a host of health benefits. "Researchers have identified at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as antioxidants and as anticancer agents," George Mateljan writes in his book The World's Healthiest Food. Mateljan cites research suggesting that spinach can fight against breast, skin, stomach, and prostate cancers."

Over the next few weeks, I'll post occasional recipes based on spinach, kale and other cruciferous veggies. Here's hoping you'll enjoy some of them!

Recipe: Kale and Sweet Potato with Mustard-crusted Tofu
Serves 4

  • 1 14-ounce package firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 bunch kale, stem cut from each leaf, leaves thinly sliced crosswise (about 8 cups)
  • 1 small red-skinned sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Cut tofu into eight 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange on paper towels; drain 10 minutes. Spread both sides of each slice with mustard.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger; sauté 1 minute. Add kale, sweet potato, and lime juice. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until potato is tender and kale is wilted, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in another large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu; cover and cook until heated through and crisp, about 2 minutes per side (some mustard seeds may fall off tofu).

Arrange kale and sweet potato mixture on plate. Overlap tofu slices atop vegetables and serve.

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