Posts Tagged ‘Vegetable’

Chilled Couscous Salad with Kale and Cucumber

Chilled Couscous Salad with Kale and Cucumber

Super easy, light, tasty, and it will make all your dreams come true.  If you can’t find Couscous, click on the link and you can get it shipped right to your door!

Chilled Couscous with Kale and Cucumber

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon crushed Aleppo chile
2 teaspoons finely chopped mint, plus additional whole leaves for garnish
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups cooked Couscous, chilled
1 cup shredded kale, trimmed
1 cup diced baby cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Combine garlic, lemon juice and zest, crushed chile, mint, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Slowly whisk in olive oil until evenly incorporated.
Separate Couscous by rubbing between your hands, and add to bowl along with remaining ingredients.
Let sit for 30 minutes before serving, and garnish each serving with a fresh mint sprig.

Makes 4 to 8 servings

Random chubby guy eating pizza. Ooohhh the irony...

Random chubby guy eating pizza. Ooohhh the irony…

Like I said before, I like to feel full when I eat.  This causes a problem when also on a calorie restricted diet!  Here is a list of low calorie food options that you should add to your diet to pack in the VOLUME of food you want, with a low amount of calories!

  • Arugula – The is a peppery flavored leafy green packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  There are also some findings that dark leafy greens improve your libido. (Wink wink, nudge nudge…know what I mean?!)
  • Cabbage – The darker green and brighter purple the better.  Very affordable, great crunchy texture, and contains properties that may reduce your risk of cancer and stink up your house when cooked.
  • Kale – You have seen, and will see this ingredient popping up more and more on menus and store shelves.  It has been classified as one of the best super-foods, which means it packs an amazing nutritional punch with very little calories. You can also call yourself a hipster while eating it.
  • Beets – A slightly sweet, earthy vegetable with beautiful color and rich in iron, potassium, and folate.  It is also growing on the ‘trendy’ side by being added to veggie burgers, and new improved salads. Dr. Dre would be proud.
  • Cauliflower – Another great source of vitamin C and folate, this vegetable is wonderful in place of mashed potatoes, used in indian curry dishes, and a whole head can be sliced into planks and grilled for cool presentations.
  • Mushrooms – No matter if you use standard button mushrooms, or branch out into the hundreds of varieties available, mushrooms are low in calories but are full of immune-boosting antioxidants.  They also contain the elusive UMAMI flavor profile which will add some savory meat flavor to your recipes.
  • Tomatoes – Real tomatoes are actually very low in calories! It is only when we associate they with pizza, ketchup, and meat sauce do they pack in the calories.  Tomatoes contain all those healthy vitamins and minerals you are looking for plus some natural sweetness.
  • Zucchini – This squash is VERY low in calories while being VERY easy to grow in your own garden. It is pack with vitamin A and is a tasty treat raw, or cooked. Call them courgettes to be extra fancy.
  • Egg whites – 1 whole cup of egg whites has about 120 calories and 26 grams of protein. HHHMMM maybe make an omelet with all the above ingredients mixed together?!?!?
  • Cod – This is a mild white fish that is very high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  Since it is so mild, it will easily blend with any other flavors you add to it.
  • Bison – If you are a red meat fan, grass fed bison is actually a healthier option due to minimal fat marbling, and it contains just as much omega-3 fatty acids as salmon. It also contains even fewer fat calories, and lower cholesterol than skinless chicken! Also, Dances With Wolves is a must watch 😉
  • Fat-free cottage cheese – You can get about 11g of protein for a half cup serving with only 70 calories.  This type of protein is digested very fast, so it is perfect for recuperating after a tough workout.
  • Coffee/tea – It is only when you blend with heavy cream, sugar, whipped cream, honey, chocolate syrup, and caramel do these beverages become high in calories.  There is also, of course, caffein which has been shown to improve your calorie burning thru the day, but still does not increase the quality of your work, or make that morning meeting any better.

Now before you yell at me…yes I know there are plenty of other healthy, low calorie food options (feel free to post your favorites!)  Before you troll my post…yes I know there are other, more nutrient dense foods like fruits, whole grains, legumes, and all that fun stuff.  Before you comment with your biased opinion…yes I know you feel that processed foods are to blame for being fat, and you should eat clean.  Before you post about your vegan, paleo, or gluten-free diet…maybe this post isn’t for you.  Read the title and you will get it 🙂

p.s. There is no spoon…

ID-10061999Some times you gotta be fresh…and other times, frozen may be fresher than fresh.  Some studies have shown that frozen fruits and vegetables can contain higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants compared to the fresh varieties from stores or farmers markets.

This is due to the fact that many frozen fruits and vegetables are processed and frozen right at the source, from minutes to hours after being picked or harvested during their peak ripeness.  On the other hand, fresh produce maybe be held for days, weeks, or even months before being sold to consumers, then held at the home for even more time before being used. When these products are held at ambient temperatures or even refrigerated, they slowly and naturally lose some of their healthy properties over time.  When product is frozen, it inhibits the loss of these volatile compounds, and provides more health benefits.  Some fresh produce is also picked before being fully ripened to handle the delay in consumption, which reduces the overall health advantages even more.

Supermarkets and even farmers markets have a list of ways to make their foods look fresh, such as water misting and trimming.  While these practices are normal, the overall health profile of these foods can often time be less than the frozen counterparts. There are even instances that refrigeration will INCREASE degradation of healthy compounds in certain food items, specifically soft fruits.  It is still recommended that foods picked right from the ground are the best, but frozen can be just as good of an option.

And as a side note, if you do want to cook your fruits and vegetables while keeping the most nutritional value in the products, steaming is the optimal way to insure the least about of benefit loss.  This is of course second to eating them raw.