Tag Archives: Vitamin C

Super-food Stews

Black-eyed Peas, Carrot & Collards in Smoked Paprika Sauce, over brown rice (here pictured w/ Sriracha hot sauce on top). A super-food one-pot meal.

Black-eyed Peas, Carrot & Collards in Smoked Paprika Sauce. Served this very simple hearty stew on Fri night for 70 folks; and it’s on the lesson plan for 2 “Super Food” cooking classes this week.

Taking advantage of seasonal veg, it’s a very “clean” yet intensely flavored, toothsome one-pot meal that is vegan, gluten-free, low-fat and low-glycemic, high-fiber and nutrient-dense. Plus, your day’s Vit A and more.

Here’s the Recipe. This is technically a ‘cassoulet’, ie a braised dish with broth. Serve over brown rice or other whole grain, with hot sauce on side.

Making this for a family quantity, say 2-3 quarts, it’d take less than an hour esp with canned Black-eyed Peas. I used farm-fresh veggies from the market, of course, but, flash-frozen will do too, and would shave off another 15 min of prep time.

Btw, Black-eyed Peas have 6g protein per half-cup, in top 4 of legumes (winners are kidney beans & soybeans). Don’t have black-eyed peas? Fine — use any canned beans or lentils. (Search this blog for more posts about BEP, my favorite neglected step-child bean.)

Of course, this is a perfect autumn vegetarian entree. It would also be terrific with a small amount of chicken, pork, kielbasa, or turkey brats, and yes, left-over bacon. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, or squash as well but, refrain from making this into a carb-fest (ie increasing glycemic load). Keep a high veg to carb ratio.

More nutritional info:


  • 1 cp cooked sliced carrots contains 54 cal, 4.7 g fiber, 1.2 g protein, 5.4 g sugars, 537% RDI vit A, 9.4% RDI Vit C, 4.7%  calcium, 5.5% folate, 2.9%  iron, 26% Vit K.

 Estimated glycemic load = 2 (of 100/day target).
  • 1 cp cooked collards has 49 cal, 5.3 g fiber (10% RDA), 2 g protein, 308% RDI vit A, 58%  Vit C, 27% calcium, 44%  folate, 12% iron and 1045% Vit K. Estimated glycemic load = 4 (of 100/day target).
  • 1 cp canned black-eyed peas has 160 kcal, 6 g protein, 34 g carb, 8 g fiber, and notably, 6.7% RDI iron and 15% folate. Estimated glycemic load = 20 (of 100/day target).

    [RDI = Recommended Daily Intake]

 Some of my coaching clients are trying low-carb regimens. Ok, then skip the grains, not the beans.Beans are the best kind of complex carbs AND provide serious protein, so do NOT omit. You’ll just get hungry sooner if you do.

Scroll the Recipe page for more Super-food recipes!



Carrots and Kale and Collards, Oh My

Blanched Carrot & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette.

These last few weeks I’ve been featuring a lovely seasonal dish, Carrot Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette, which I first made with cooking camp students (see late Aug posts). I handed it out at the Farm 2 School Community BBQ last week, at the little Farmers’ Market which pops up in the parking lot of the Inver Grove Hts Community Center, and at a Health & Wellness fair.

I will also be teaching this and 3 other kale dishes in Super Food classes @ Robbinsdale and Inver Grove Hts community education next week. More on that in next post.

This salad rocks! Everybody loves it. The full recipe for salad and the vinaigrette is now on the Recipe page. It’s all about Complementarity. As any art students will tell you, the color orange’s opposite is the color green. Similarly, the natural sweetness of carrots balances the earthy ‘green’ taste of kale, and, orange juice enlivens them both. And you know that brightly colored food are the most healthful; antioxidants are what make them colorful in the first place.

This vinaigrette is fairly tangy at first, perhaps a bit sour for some kids unused to vinegar — but it mellows after a day. It also depends on the sweetness of orange juice concentrate you use and whether you use white wine vinegar or cider vinegar. It’s excellent on mixed green salads and grain salads. Combine this carrot kale salad with Quinoa, for instance.

“Dinosaur” lacinato kale (back) and regular curly kale (front).

Quite a few people told me they liked kale in this salad more than they expected. Perhaps because blanching fresh kale takes off the bitter edge while producing a chewy texture. Blanching leafy greens like kale or collards is a great way to keep their deep green color & nutrients. It’s also really fast. As you & yours come to like blanched kale, use more kale and fewer carrots in this salad.

Blanching is also the first step in freezing these hardy leafy greens. Anytime you plan a dish with kale/collards, blanch 2 batches and freeze one in a ziploc for later. Right now, they’re a dollar/bunch at the farmers’ market, where they’ll be available thru Dec.

About stalks: you can chop up the upper stalks with the leaves or strip them off, depending on the dish. For a stew or soup, leave them on, since they’ll get soft during simmering. For a salad, a saute or a quick braised dish, strip them off. (If you wish, chop stalks finely and save for that stew/soup.) 

Chopped kale ready to be blanched.

TECHNIQUE TIP: Strip leaves off kale or collards easily with a ‘corn-shucking’ motion. Grab a stalk in one hand, leaves pointing down. Fold the 2 sides of leaves together with your other hand, with rib facing the opposite way. Pull down sharply like you are shucking corn, and then only the rib remains. Roll 4-5 of the rib-less leaves together like a cigar, then chop into shreds.

Now what?
1. Add raw shreds to cabbage or mixed green salad.
2. Add raw shreds to ramen noodle or Posole soup.
3. Blanch, drain, squeeze out water & freeze.
4. Blanch for salads. Drizzle w/ sesame dressing (ala co-op deli) or peanut dressing.
6. Saute w/ garlic, olive oil, lemon juice; or, add sesame oil, soy sauce & chilli pepper flakes.
7. Add to quiche, casseroles, ratatouille. Throw into pasta sauce, cassoulets, curry, soup. Nice in chili & any bean dish. (Use ‘search” to find past posts on Beans & Greens.)

Kale shreds, blanched. My favorite long-handled sieve.

Back to the Carrots & Kale salad. Like 90% of my salads, it keeps for a week+. When you’re tired of it as a salad, simmer with a little water or broth — or coconut milk —  6-8 min til tender and serve hot.

UTENSIL TIP: go to Asian grocery and buy a sieve with long handle for scooping out blanched or boiled veggies, noodles, potatoes, etc. This handy utensil saves time, since it’s bigger than a slotted spoon. Not pouring out the hot water means you can re-use it for multiple veggie-blanching batches and soup, too.
The sieve comes in different bowl sizes and handle lengths and range from $3 – 7. Don’t bother getting a small one.

See me @Farm 2 School Community BBQ

Breaking news:  yes, I will be handing out delish samples at the Farm2School Community BBQ next FRIDAY Sept 21st. Come say Hi!

This celebration of Farm to School month is being held 4pm – 7pm at the Minneapolis Public School’s Culinary & Nutrition Services Headquarters, at 812 North Plymouth Ave. (5 min from exit off Hwy 94 West.)

Enjoy a dinner of Turkey Sliders, Coleslaw, Cucumber Salsa, Roasted Corn!  Meet local farmers!  Fun family activities include farm animals; face painting; gardening & compost demo; corn shucking contest. It’ll be like the State Fair, but free.

This is me, taking a cleansing breath, during a Little Locavores cooking demo at the Mpls Farmers Market. My sous-chefs were so ably snipping away at greens with their craft scissors that I decided to meditate for a bit. Photo by Sharon Ramirez.

As for me, I will be serving up samples of Carrots & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette. A very colorful and tasty dish especially with the locally grown super-fresh veggies I’ll use. Kids will recognize by its bright colors that it’s chock-full of nutrients, too. A mega Vitamin A booster.

It is an easy, versatile dish for both adults and kids to make and cheap to boot.

In fact, I think I will have craft scissors on hand and ask for volunteers to snip kale. With these scissors, kids as young as 3 can help in the kitchen.*

These 6-yr olds in the photo at left were very proud of their handiwork and rightly so. They made a gourmet salad: roast beet, raw beet & beet greens tossed in balsamic vinaigrette, topped with a chiffonade of basil. Craft scissors are excellent for chiffonade, did you know?

*Youngsters don’t slice & dice as fast as you or I can, obviously, but that is not the point. The point is to get them positively involved.

See you next Friday at the Community BBQ!

Pretty in Pink

Assembled salad of seasonal veg & albacore tuna. (My photo.)

Here in the Twin Cities, we are still in the first phase of summer vegetables, where most veg are green, white or red-pink. Although, yellow zucchini are now out.

Albeit not the ‘riot’ of color of late August, these veggies still make for beautiful dishes. And the neat thing about white — cauliflower, kohlrabi, daikon & radish, potato — is that they turn a brilliant pink when marinated with beets or purple cabbage. Plus (I’m stretching it a little but) you’re benefiting from the purple veggies’ antioxidants that have literally rubbed off.

The fuschia rectangles in the center of this pretty salad are chopped kohlrabi marinated with mint vinaigrette & a bit of raw beet. Starting from top are sliced cauliflower, cooked beets, kohlrabi, thin slices of red onion and chunks of albacore tuna, on a bed of romaine & spinach. The pink vinaigrette was then drizzled on top.

Any vinaigrette will do. Just drop a bit of raw beet in the jar and a couple hours later, it’s pink. I like fresh mint vinaigrettes. Mint goes with everything and is an especially nice counterpoint to big bold tomatoey BBQ summer flavors. It’s avail, grows like a weed and is cheap — so use it!

Kohlrabi is from the cabbage family and therefore contains particularly beneficial antioxidants. Best when 3″ in diameter. Unfort, the purple ones are not purple inside!

About Kohlrabi:
A versatile white cruciferous vegetable that has made a recent comeback after decades. When I’m at the Farmers Markets doing demos, as I’ll do tomorrow, Sun July 15th at Kingfield FM (see previous posting), it’s the Minnesotans over the age of 50 who recognize this strange orb.

They say, “oh, we used to eat those straight out of the garden when we were kids!”, or “my dad loves them”. Those under age 50 say, “I wondered what those were? how do you eat it?”

Why? Because kohlrabi were never in grocery stores, the only place where many of us Minneapolitans encountered vegetables in their natural state.

So now we can get acquainted with this mild-mannered, kid-friendly vegetable. It’s part of the cabbage family and grows on top of the ground, with stalks and leaves above it, the reverse of broccoli. Apparently you can eat the leaves but I haven’t tried that yet (the ones available at markets are de-stemmed).

I say it’s like apples but not apple-flavored. Its texture is just like medium-crunchy apples while the taste is like very mild broccoli stalks, neither sweet nor bitter. Very neutral. Which lends itself to snacking as is (peeled) and being combined with sharper flavors.

Why then bother, you might say? Because kohlrabi is — surprise — good for you.  High in fiber, low in calories, and filling. Great munchy texture. Doesn’t get caught in your throat like raw carrots, either.

Nutrition Info: As a member of the cruciferous family, Kohlrabi is high in immune-boosting antioxidants. Cruciferous veg are often called “cancer-killers”.  For instance, kohlrabi packs 140 percent of your daily need of vitamin C into a one-cup, 40-calorie serving. In addition, kohlrabi provides more than 4 percent of your daily requirement of several B vitamins in a standard one-cup serving.

We all know Vitamin C is important, but, did you know, your body cannot store it, so you must replenish your body’s supply continually. And, iron absorption is improved in the presence of vitamin C.

This leads me to Beets + Kohlrabi combinations, besides the fact they’re pretty together. Beets contain about the same amount of Vitamin A as carrots, the main reason carrots are considered so nutritious. However, beets offer — drum roll, please — 6 TIMES MORE IRON than carrots. Yoo hoo women & girls!

Therefore, eating Beets & Kohlrabi together enhances absorption of iron so important to those of us of the female persuasion. So, Power up the Pink!

See my Recipe page for a very easy Minted Asian Kohlrabi Salad, which make great ‘refrigerator pickles’. By the way, this dressing has no oil.

Enjoy kohlrabi in any dish you would use cucumber, celery or apples:

  • obviously, chopped into any and all salads. Try tuna/egg salad.
  • raw snack sticks
  • grated raw, in salads, slaw, or on top of noodle soups like Japanese radish.
  • pickled with ginger or dill
  • stir-frys
  • steamed with butter. Herb butter. Mmmm.
  • roasted
  • stews and soups

    Baked kohlrabi chips! Shredded kohlrabi in muffins!  I’m sure you can think of fun variations, too.



Green Eggs & Ham-less Soup

This week’s Ham-less vegan Super Green Split Pea soup nevertheless has a nice “meaty” flavor, due to my favorite smoked paprika and also to shredded nori (dried seaweed). Nori is packed w/ Vitamins C & A, potassium and fiber, while boasting no fat, carbs or calories.  Plenty of chopped super-food collards makes it Super Green.

In the West, we say there are only 4 basic flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty. The Japanese claim there are 5. Their word umami describes this 5th savory, earthy taste, such as that of miso and mushrooms. Umami also means “delicious”!  All these ingredients add a wonderful depth of flavor to vegetarian dishes.

You have undoubtedly noticed that I put vegetables in everything. EVERYTHING. That’s the key to eating more of them, instead of serving only typical vegetable ‘side dishes’ that can be ignored. Orphaned on the plate, a ward of the state. Perhaps these come to be appreciated by your dogs. Dogs need greens too but, frankly, their kibble comes all pumped up with inextricable nutritious ingredients  — while our go-to cheesy burrito dinner does not.

Yes, I realize some children & adults will protest by not eating a dish that has green things in it — horrors — but,  a) they should try it first, thank you;  b) they can pick out the offending pieces; c) they can go get themselves a cup of cottage cheese.

The Super Green Split Pea Soup this week cannot be deconstructed that way but, the greens aren’t perhaps so flagrant and hopefully these veg-aphobes will not realize or not mind.  If you have serious veg-aphobes in your home (my sympathies) and want to trick them, puree the soup. A nice touch is to add a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream and squeeze of lemon juice. This tastes good, and it might just distract them!

The recipe for this soup is on my Recipe page. Nori is a new addition and isn’t reflected in that, yet. As for Green Eggs, see the previous post & photo.

You say ‘potahto’, I say ‘pohtayto’

Wasabi Kohlrabi Herb Potato Salad is Vegan and Low-fat!  Its creamy herb dressing based on silken tofu, not dairy.

Wasabi Kohlrabi Herb Potato Salad is Vegan and Low-fat! Its creamy herb dressing based on silken tofu, not dairy.

Here’s the “After” picture promised in previous post of my vegan Wasabi Kohlrabi Herb Potato Salad (see recipe).

Redolent of fresh dill, flat-leaf parsley and cilantro, the salad was a CROWD PLEASER on Sunday, as well as at a Labor Day picnic I catered the following day. People are always surprised there is NO MAYO in this creamy flavorful salad dressing.

This particular batch made at the Market included purple potatoes and chopped fresh beet greens and celery leaves, and was garnished with whole beet leaves and dill.  Chopped dark leafy veggies — in addition to the chopped kohlrabi & celery — improves the dish by adding contrasting flavors and lovely dark green flecks to a typically bland, yellow dish. Adding dark leafy veg adds  significantly more antioxidants (vitamin C & A), minerals, iron and much needed fiber.

You could use any fresh green leaves, such as spinach, young turnip greens,  kale, collards, sweet potato leaves, arugula, etc, as long as they’re chopped small. Beet greens taste like spinach — see last week’s post “Beets Beat Carrots”.)

I love Wasabi and it rhymes with Kohlrabi, so I added 1 TB Wasabi paste per 2 cps of dressing (mixed in blender). Result is a mild horseradish kick that you taste only at the end. (Nevertheless, I may try regular white horseradish, not the mayo-based kind, to compare.)

Ruby Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

Ruby Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

I also served up slices of Ruby Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake for that last show. This photo does not show, unfortunately, the raspberry beet syrup and darling pink icing I drizzled on top.

I will be making another pink-iced beet cake for a 7 yr-old girl’s birthday party and will try to remember to photograph it before it’s devoured!

Beets Beat Carrots

You may have heard that Beets are a “super-food” and it’s true. Beets are terrific sources of the antioxidant vitamins A & C, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus.

What might surprise you is that Beet Greens (leaves) are even MORE nutritious than the root: 5x more calcium, 4x more Vit C, nearly 2x more iron and 100x more Vit A.

½ cp cooked beet greens = 27 cal, 4 gm carb, 2-3 gm fiber
½ cp cooked beet root = 44 cal, 10 gm carb (8 gm sugar), 2-3 fiber

Even more surprisingly,  Beets beat Carrots in most nutrient categories, except for Vit A:

  • 6x more Folic Acid
  • beetroot 2x more Iron, beet green 6x more
  • Much more magnesium, potassium & zinc
  • 1 gm more protein
  • Same amt Fiber
  • Same amt Vit C
  • 2/3 less Calcium

Carrots have TONS more Vit A /betacarotene (what makes it orange). However, dark leafy greens like Kale, Chard, Spinach, Turnip Greens, and yes, Beet Greens, also deliver excellent amounts of Vit A.

Red Beet with (clockwise) turnip greens, radishes, kale and napa cabbage (photo Brad Dahlgaard)

Red Beet with (clockwise) turnip greens, radishes, kale and napa cabbage (photo Brad Dahlgaard)

Beets’ high antioxidants and fiber help cleanse/detox your liver & kidney, improve bowel function, ‘flush out’ cholesterol and boost the immune system. Together these benefits may reduce the risk of heart disease and stomach & colon cancer.


Trim stalks from beetroots, leaving 2 inches of stem so doesn’t “bleed”. Keep bagged roots in frig 2-4 wks. Store greens unwashed in a perforated bag for <5 days.

Tip: Roast a large quantity of beets at one time. Since the oven is on, fill up the shelves. Then freeze cooked beets in ‘meal-sized’ bags.