As a green leafy vegetable, collard greens are among the best available for your health. They’re actually a member of the cruciferous family, along with broccoli and cabbage, and as such they’re packed with vitamin C, soluble fiber, and numerous cancer-fighting phytonutrients.
Collards are available year round, but they are actually tastier and more nutritious in the cold months, after the first frost. For the best texture, they should be picked before they reach their full maturity.
Popular in southern cooking, they are usually stewed with meat for a long period of time, losing much of the nutritional benefit, but there’s many healthier ways to incorporate them into your diet. They hold up to cooking much better than other greens, so they can be added toward the end of preparing soups and stews and still keep their texture. Sliced thinly, they can be lightly steamed and tossed with a vinegar dressing. Steamed whole, they are strong enough to be used as wraps for a burrito alternative.
Portobellos with Collards and Cannellini Beans
Collard Greens with Almonds
Tempeh Collard Wraps Read more
Vegan burger at McDonalds! Yes, you heard me right. We said “Vegan burger at McDonald’s.” Some of us thought we’d never see the day when McDonald’s would serve up a vegan burger. But, the fact that that day has come shows just how much the plant-based diet is catching on.
The new vegan burger is debuting at their headquarters in Chicago Illinois. They’ve put it front and center. The new burger is called the McAloo Tikki and consists of a toasted bun filled with a veggie patty made with potatoes, pea, and seasoning reminiscent of samosas; topped with fresh red onions, tomato slices, and an eggless creamy tomato mayo (this still has some dairy though). Read more
Some see algae as “the food of the future”. This vegan food product is protein rich, requires no fresh water to produce, and releases oxygen into the atmosphere, unlike most the world’s protein today that is derived from animals. The new “micro algae” being used is a far cry from some of the algae used in the past. The taste is good and it can be used in a variety of different kinds of foods. It also works well in cooked and baked foods.
Around 70 percent of the world’s available fresh water is currently used to rear livestock and to cultivate crops to feed livestock. Algae, however, can flourish without the presence of fresh water. It can grow anywhere from deserts to oceans and ponds. This poses an overwhelmingly positive effect on food production because algae bloom quickly, are nutrient dense, and require next to nothing to grow.
Algae are comprised of 40 percent protein and, when comparing land usage, make seven times more protein than soybeans. Scientists claim that 50 percent of the world’s oxygen is accredited to algae, contrary to raising livestock which emits greenhouse gases into the planet’s atmosphere, ultimately leading to global warming.
Companies have sprung up both here and in Europe to get the algae to market. Marketed under the name AlgaVia, the powder is starting to show up as an ingredient in grocery store items. Look for microalgae in your favorite food products as algae continue to catch on.
The walnut is the nut of a deciduous tree. It has a hard, wrinkled shell and an oily, two-lobed kernel. Nuts in general are extremely healthy for you, and walnuts in particular are packed with several valuable nutrients. Just one quarter cup of walnuts will give you over 90% of the recommended daily amount of Omega 3 fatty acids, so there’s no need to resort to fish for these important fats. Omega 3 fatty acids give us all kinds of health benefits from better cognitive function to relief from inflammatory diseases such as asthma and eczema. In addition, walnuts contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid that supports the immune system and appears to have several anticancer properties.
Choose fresh shelled walnuts which don’t look rubbery or shriveled. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Walnuts are great raw or toasted. They can be served chopped in salads or on fruit or yogurt as a topping. They’re delicious in baked goods such as muffins, zucchini bread or pancakes.
Mushroom Walnut Roast
Walnut and Pomegranate Spread (Mukamarra)
Being chocolate lovers, we wanted to know more about vegan chocolate. We caught up with Simon Lester, the founder of Pascha Chocolate and got a chance to ask him a few questions:
How did you get the idea of vegan chocolate in the first place?
When one of my daughters developed a serious, life-threatening food allergy my life changed. All food items had to be examined and re-thought because cross contamination was serious and endemic. The penny dropped when I thought back to my early career experience with Cadbury chocolate in the UK. Read more
These sour red berries grow on a trailing shrub. You can buy them fresh in the Fall, or frozen at any time of year. Dried cranberries are a delicious addition to trail mixes. When buying fresh look for bright red shiny skins. Cranberries are a valuable source of iron, vitamin C and folic acid.
Cranberries are usually too sour to eat raw. First wash and remove any damaged berries. Then cook them with a little water and sugar, then puree them to make a sauce. Or you can add them to a recipe directly to add a contrasting flavor.
- Harlequin Squash with Corn Bread Stuffing
- Cranberry Corn Bread
- Apple Cranberry Crisp
Winter squashes are readily available at this time of year. They are nutritionally dense, supplying beta carotene, iron, and riboflavin, but best of all they provide endless options for creating tasty, satisfying meals. The best cooking method for almost any winter squash is to cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and then steam it or bake it in the oven. The flesh will then be soft and easy to scrape out or cut, to be used in a wide variety of delicious recipes.
Acorn, butternut and kabocha squash can be cut in half and filled with a delicious stuffing to provide the perfect centerpiece to any holiday table. The green and yellow striped delicata squash has sweet yellow flesh and a soft skin which can be eaten, eliminating the need for peeling. Spaghetti squash can be separated into spaghetti-like strands, making it an interesting addition to stews. And most familiar of all is pumpkin (baked, steamed or from a can), used in soups, stews, pies and even cookies!
Baked Squash Recipes