Carrots with Red Wine Reduction + New Website

First off, thank you for stopping by and reading my blog! Shop, Eat, Live Well is getting a new name and moving to a new address, danaartinyan.com, so please check out both my new website as well as the many nutrition services I offer.

Now, onto the food…

The other day, I got a present from my coworker: a whole bag full of colorful baby carrots just picked from her garden. Clearly, she knows the way to my heart!

I absolutely love the look of a baby carrot and wanted to keep them whole and intact to highlight their beauty. Besides being pretty, carrots are an excellent source – 110% of your daily needs in just one carrot – of vitamin A (immune functioning, eye health, anti-oxidant properties) and a good source – 10% of your daily needs – of vitamin C (another powerful anti-oxidant, plus it promotes better skin and improved cardiovascular functioning). Carrots are also low in calories (only 30 calories for a large carrot) and surprisingly low in sugar, despite their natural sweetness.

I wanted to bring this sweetness and also lend a bit of earthiness to the carrots with a red wine reduction sauce over the carrots. I paired with some garbanzo beans to give some protein and fiber, and had quite a delicious and filling (thanks to all that fiber!) meal.

Red Wine-Glazed Carrots

Red Wine-Glazed Baby Carrots:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby carrots with stems intact (I used multi-colored), rinsed/scrubbed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt

Directions:

Heat olive oil and minced garlic for about 1 minute. Add carrots and saute for 10 minutes (on medium-high heat). Add wine and remaining ingredients and cook until the red wine has reduced to about 2 Tbsp (will also be thicker).

Serve over grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or buckwheat or along with beans (garbanzo, pinto, kidney). Would also make a great side dish to white fish, chicken or pork tenderloin.

See you at danaartinyan.com!

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Curried Butternut Squash and Lentil Cakes

Happy Halloween! Are you up to your ears in nougaty, caramely, chocolatey-ness yet? Get back on the right (read: healthy) track and eat some veggies!

Since it’s Halloween you know that it’s also fall and with fall comes a whole slew of delicious and nutritious foods – cranberries, sweet potatoes, turkey and brussel sprouts to name a few. One of my favorite fall foods, though, is squash. Butternut, spaghetti and acorn squash are my top picks, though really I like them all – I don’t discriminate.

The other day I was baking my spaghetti squash and figured I might as well save time and make my butternut squash too. This was a great idea (gotta love efficiency!) until I realized that I had TONS of squash to use up.

One can only eat so much squash on its own, so I had to find a way to transform the squash. I set out to make squash cakes but in order to up the protein I also added in lentils (so that I could make the squash cakes my dinner rather than having to cook a protein to balance things out). Since I’ve been loving lentils lately (the split ones only take 15 minutes to cook!), I decided on a curried butternut squash and lentil cake. Butternut squash is an excellent source of vitamin A (more than 250% your recommend daily intake for just 1/2 a cup of the stuff) and vitamin C, plus iron. Lentils are also loaded with iron, along with protein and potassium. That makes for one fantastically healthy cake! Add some curry powder and other spices and top with an apple “salsa,” and they become a delicious cake too. Oh and an added bonus – because of all the fiber in both the squash and lentils, these will make you feel super-full without loads of calories.

Butternut Squash and Lentil Cakes
Curried Butternut Squash and Lentil Cakes
Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked butternut squash, mashed (about one whole squash)
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils (makes about 1 cup cooked)
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Garnish:

  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice

A one-bowl preparation!

Directions:

Cook lentils according to package directions. Mash squash and lentils together and add remaining ingredients. Heat a large pan and spray with cooking spray. Form squash mixture into patties and drop into pan. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side.

Top with apple “salsa.”

 

Curry Butternut Squash and Lentil Cakes with Apple Salsa

*Note: mine were a bit fragile (mushy), so I baked them at 375 for 10 minutes just to stiffen them up a bit. They are delicious either way, though.

 

 

When Life Gives You Celery Root

I like to think of myself as a fruit and veggie expert. I have used lots of interesting, unique produce (see my farmer’s market wtf series) and I am generally good at identifying out-there foods. It all went down the drain, though, yesterday at Whole Foods.

I wanted parsnips because my Grandma used to always make chicken soup with them, and I wanted to see what else they’d be good in.

But alas, I didn’t get parsnips. I got celery root, or celeriac. I won’t lie – I am not that big a fan of celery. I can bear it at times but celery root, which basically tastes just like celery, was not my first choice for vegetables. I’m not even sure how I mixed them up…I know what parsnips look like, dammit, and these were clearly not parsnips (see comparison below).

Celery Root

Celery Root

Parsnips

Parsnips

Well kids, when life hands you celery root, you make…

What do you make? I had to explore. First I found a recipe for celery root remoulade from the blog Wrightfood. This recipe was a creamy, mayo-based salad, however, I wanted something a little lighter. I did like the idea of some sort of celery root slaw, though.

There is one area where I do enjoy the taste of celery: in a stir-fry, when there’s a little teriyaki sauce to offset some of the celery flavor. So I decided to make an Asian celery root slaw. Had some English breakfast radishes to use up, so those had to be a part of the recipe too.

Asian Celery Root Slaw

Asian Celery Root Slaw

Ingredients:

  • Shredded celery root (about 1.5 cups shredded)
  • 1 cup English breakfast radishes, sliced into thin coins
  • 1/4 cup no-salt, no-sugar rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Island Teriyaki (has pineapple juice in it) or standard teriyaki sauce.
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp minced cilantro
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour before eating.

The slaw has a nice crunch and surprisingly didn’t have an overwhelming “celery taste” – a plus in my book! With the sweetness of the Island Teriyaki sauce plus honey, it was the perfect balance of sweet, fresh (celery root), tangy (vinegar) and spicy (radishes/Sriracha). Quite a serendipitous event, mixing up parsnips and celery root, if you ask me.

Plus, one can’t complain about the nutritional perks of celery root (1 cup): only 70 calories, excellent source of vitamins C & K, good source of potassium, fiber, phosphorous and several other nutrients and no cholesterol or fat! AKA celery root is good for eye and bone health, immunity, can help improve blood pressure and will make you feel full with all that fiber.

Hmm what else can I make out of celery root? I’m thinking celery root chips…stay tuned.

Facing the Fats

Virgin Coconut Oil

Dietary fats (those we get from food) play a critical role in our health. Not only do they provide taste to the foods we eat; they also help us better absorb vitamins and minerals from our food. Additionally, fats slow the release of food from our stomach, which means they help us feel fuller for longer and also help control spikes in blood sugar/insulin.

There are two main categories of fats: saturated and unsaturated. We’ve always been taught that unsaturated fats (from nuts & seeds, avocado, olive oil, etc.) are good and saturated fats (coming from red meat, lard, butter, etc.) are bad. And while there is some truth to this, the issue isn’t black and white.

What about coconut oil, which has plenty of saturated fat but is touted as a “healthy” food? Is all red meat bad? Should we only have fat-free dairy?

Though most large, governing bodies in the health field advocate decreasing saturated fat intake as a way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, this is a large over-generalization. The fact of the matter is saturated fats are an entire category of fats and not all types of saturated fats are created equal. There has not been enough conclusive research to show that decreasing overall saturated fats in our diets will lower our risk for cardiovascular disease. Check out this article by Dr. David Katz for an overview on fats as well as a run-down of the research.

While some studies have shown that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats helped to lower LDL cholesterol (the cholesterol that deposits into our arteries), these same studies also found that this replacement may lower HDL cholesterol (the cholesterol that helps to remove LDL from our system and has a protective effect). This in turn can shift our cholesterol ratio (total ration/HDL cholesterol) in an unfavorable direction. Cholesterol ratio is a predictor for risk of heart disease.

Furthermore, all foods contain different types of saturated fats. There are longer-chain saturated fatty acids, such as stearic acid, which is found largely in red meat (and in higher proportions in grass-fed versus grain-fed beef) as well dark chocolate. Stearic acid has not been shown to have an effect on the risk for cardiovascular disease. Speaking of grass-fed beef, here is a run-down of the calorie, fat, and protein composition of grass-fed beef compared to grain-fed beef, chicken breast and salmon (values are for 100 grams of the given food):

Protein Source Total Calories Total Fat Total Protein
Chicken Breast (Skinless) 114 2.59 21.23
Beef (Grain-Fed) 117 2.69 23.07
Beef (Grass-Fed) 149 6.29 21.72
Salmon 142 6.34 19.84

So, you can see that grass-fed beef is nutritionally pretty similar to chicken breast (however it contains more iron and more omega-3 fatty acids than chicken). Plus, as noted earlier, the fat found in grass-fed beef is mainly stearic acid (type of saturated fatty acid), which has not been shown to increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.

In regards to dairy, recent research has found little link between dairy and heart disease risk, regardless of the amount of milkfat. Plus, if you are drinking organic milk that comes from pasture (grass)- fed cows, the fat profile is more favorable, containing increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids when compared to regular cow’s milk. Grass-fed cow’s milk may also contain higher levels of certain vitamins, e.g. vitamin A.

Lastly, coconut oil, which contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid, may be less easily stored as fat than other types of fat. This is because larger, long-chain fatty acids are more difficult for our bodies to break down and are thus more easily stored as fat. With coconut oil, however, the medium-chain fatty acids are less easily stored and are more apt to being burned by the liver for energy (similar to the way your liver processes carbohydrates, but without insulin spike). Coconut oil may even work to boost your metabolism.

For cooking, coconut oil is excellent because it is more stable when heated to high temperatures than other oils, such as olive oil. It also imparts a delicious, coconutty taste to foods (I love it for sauteeing broccoli and green beans/pea pods).

Some things we can all agree on: added sugar and refined carbohydrates increase our risk for cardiovascular disease and processed meats contain preservatives and other compounds that are deleterious to our health. However, saturated fats are not”the devil” as some have lead us to believe.

Think Your Drink

Beware: could be a calorie bombWith Pumpkin Spice Latte season upon us, it’s only fitting to talk coffee drinks. No, I’m not talking black coffee. I mean the creamy, sweet, comforting drinks that we all love – especially when they are pumpkin-y, peppermint-y or white-chocolate-y.

While delicious, most specialty coffee drinks are loaded with milk and/or cream, syrup and other flavorings, all of which give you calories, fat and carbs that you really don’t need.

Take, for example, an average woman, who needs around 1200-1500 calories a day. A coffee drink containing 300 calories, such as a grande peppermint mocha, will provide her with 25% or 20% of her daily calories, respectively. Yikes! For the same number of calories, you could have a quarter pound of lean steak, 1/2 a cup of brown rice and 1 1/2 cups veggies (AKA a whole meal). Hmm I wonder which will keep you feeling full…

So what’s one to do? Sometimes you just want a treat; a little pick-me-up. Well, you can still have your coffee and drink it too. Here are some tweaks you can make to lighten up your drinks (values are for 16 oz , or Grande, drinks):

  • Order your drink with skim milk = 50 calories saved
    • Note: soy milk contains the same number of calories as 2% milk.
  • Get 2 pumps of syrup instead of 4 (the usual number that come in a flavored drink) = 40 calories saved
  • Get 1 pump of syrup instead of 4 = 60 calories saved
  • Hold the whipped cream = 70 calories and 7 grams fat saved
  • Order it with sugar-free syrup (vanilla, hazelnut and cinnamon dolce) = 80 calories saved

So, your Cinnamon Dolce Latte with whipped cream (normally 280 calories) could be only 130 if you ordered it “skinny” (skim milk, sugar-free syrup) and sans whipped cream. Or a Pumpkin Spice Latte could be 200 calories (skim milk, 1 pump syrup) instead of 310 calories.

Some other tips to cut down on calories and save you money (read: make these at home) are:

  • Sprinkle cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice into your coffee grounds before brewing to yield a delicious, sweet and spicy coffee (no syrup necessary).
  • Tea: with so many delicious varieties of tea (chocolate, peppermint, fruity, etc.) to choose from, you know that you can always have a low- or no-calorie tasty drink.
    • Chai tea lovers: Brew chai tea (from a tea bag) and add a splash of milk and splenda or Stevia (only if you need it) for a Chai Tea Latte-esque drink with a fraction of the calories and sugar.
  • For those that like to use flavored creamers, try vanilla milk (almond, soy, rice, coconut milk) – it will add a hint of vanilla and still give your coffee the creaminess you’re looking for.

Smoothie Time

What’s delicious and refreshing, takes one minute to make, has hidden veggies and brings all the boys to the yard?

SMOOTHIES!

Banana Berry Smoothie.

Banana Berry Smoothie…and Flowers!

Okay so technically, milkshakes bring the boys to the yard…but that’s neither here nor there.

I absolutely love smoothies for several reasons:

  1. They’re an extremely quick supplement to a meal or even a meal replacement. To make it a meal replacement, add oats and about 1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter (to make the calories more appropriate).
    • Having a smoothie in place of one meal/day is a great way to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
  2. You can throw whatever you have on hand into the smoothie.
  3. They are extremely nutritious, when made with the right ingredients.

In my mind, smoothies must include two main ingredients: fruit and dairy (milk or yogurt). However, there are ways to take your smoothie to the next level, nutrition-wise. Since smoothies tend to be either a post-workout snack or a part of my dinner, I always add protein powder. Some of my favorites include:

  • Swanson Whey (Vanilla flavor – it’s more versatile): 90 calories and 20 grams of protein. That’s pretty unbeatable. Plus, I like this one because it is less sweet than other varieties. Also comes in a grass-fed version.
  • Tera’s Whey (Plain or Vanilla – the Vanilla is pretty sweet so I like the Plain better): midwest-based (read: local), sustainable practices and fair animal treatment, no growth hormones, grass-fed (plain flavor) and just a nice high-quality, small batch product. 110 calories and 22 grams protein per serving.
  • Designer Whey (French Vanilla flavor): made with Stevia (more natural sweetener) and contains 18 grams of protein per scoop (for 100 calories). Because of the Stevia, this one is a little sweet, which is good or bad depending on your taste. I think it’s nice for masking veggies and other more bitter ingredients.

Besides the protein powder, I like to sneak in a little kale, which is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of calcium and potassium. If you don’t have kale, spinach works well too.

**Tip: make a habit of keeping frozen fruit on hand. I use the frozen fruit in place of ice to keep things cold/frozen without diluting the flavor.

So, when you put the whole smoothie together, it looks something like this:

Banana Berry Smoothie with Kale

Banana Berry Smoothie with Kale

Fruit: about 1 cup total. I used a frozen mixed berry blend and about 1/3 of a frozen banana.

Kale: about 1/2 cup (make sure it’s rinsed)

Milk: about 1 cup

Protein Powder: 1 scoop

Other: splash of vanilla extract and sprinkle of cinnamon

Alternate smoothie ideas (you can add 1/2 cup of kale to any of these):

  • Banana oatmeal: 1 frozen banana (add ice if using fresh banana), 1/4 cup oats, 1 cup milk, protein powder and cinnamon.
  • Berry almond: 1 cup frozen berries, 1 cup milk, protein powder, almond extract.
  • Pumpkin: 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, 1 cup milk, protein powder, sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice and ice.
  • Banana mango: 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1 cup milk, protein powder.

My Top Five Herbs and Spices

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices add flavor, color and health benefits (antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, etc.) to foods – not to mention that they can take the place of salt and excess oil in a recipe (which many of us are trying to cut back on). And since I love to cook, I am always trying different combinations of seasoning to see what goes with what. For someone who doesn’t love cooking quite so much, or who’s new to cooking, the many herbs and spices available can be overwhelming.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me what herbs and spices I would choose if I could only use five. It definitely took some thinking, but below are my top five herbs and spices (excluding salt and pepper), along with cooking suggestions and health benefits:

  1. Cinnamon: great in yogurt, sprinkled on toast with peanut or almond butter (and bananas), on sweet potatoes (think Thanksgiving) or mixed into yogurt. Cinnamon can help improve (lower) blood sugar levels because it acts similarly to insulin in our bodies. Cinnamon may also decrease risk for metabolic syndrome as it has been shown to improve blood sugar, BMI (body mass index) and blood pressure. Cinnamon
  2. Lemon Pepper: love it in marinades, sprinkled on chicken or fish and/or on most vegetables. It goes especially well with broccoli, green beans and sauteed greens. Black pepper may improve digestion and decrease inflammation along the digestive tract. Lemons contain vitamin C as well as antioxidants. Lemon Pepper
  3. Red Pepper Flakes: sprinkle on top of veggies, in Mexican foods, over proteins (chicken, fish, beef, tofu), over potatoes or mix into sauces and soups/chilis. Red pepper may help the body burn additional calories after eating and may also promote satiety (a full feeling). Red Pepper Flakes
  4. Cumin: use in Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines. Think tacos (sprinkle some in ground beef or turkey), salsas, hummus and over roasted vegetables (eggplant, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers) and beans/lentils. I also love it sprinkled on top of chicken (before cooking) or using it in a marinade. Cumin has benefits that may help improve digestion, respiratory issues and rheumatoid arthritis. Cumin also has antibacterial, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Cumin
  5. Rosemary: adds an earthy, woody flavor. I love it on roasted potatoes (white, red, sweet), over chicken and pork, with carrots, in soup or sprinkled over a salad. Rosemary supports brain health and may reduce the risk of heart disease. It has antioxidant properties and can help decrease the potentially harmful oxidant properties of grilled meat. Rosemary

I immediately regret this decision. What about smoked paprika? Basil? Curry powder? Well, I guess that’s why the challenge was choosing just five.

 
What are your top five??

Farmers Market WTF: Part 4 – Eggplant

Turkish Eggplant

Bored of eggplant? Though eggplant is pretty well known (not really a “wtf” farmers market find), with its blandish taste, you may be getting tired of this vegetable.

Besides the old stand-by, Eggplant Parmesan, what else can you do with eggplant?

I set out to explore this question after picking up some eggplant from the Green City Market. I prefer a smaller eggplant, so I went with some Turkish eggplant (pictured above), along with Chinese eggplant, which is thinner than standard eggplant. The Turkish eggplants look like mini pumpkins, right?

Eggplants are often used as a meat replacement, though they are not high in protein. They are, however, high in fiber. For about a cup of eggplant, you’ll get 2 grams of fiber for only 20 calories. So, for 2 cups (enough to keep you satisfyingly full), it’ll only cost you 40 calories (plus the added bonus of 4 grams of fiber). Eggplants also contain potassium, which helps counteract salt consumption and aids in muscle function.

Keep in mind that fiber generally means filling, making eggplant an excellent addition to meals. I wanted to try using mine in a couple different ways. Let me say first that eggplant is delicious when roasted in the oven, but with the extremely hot weather in Chicago, I’ve been trying not to turn the oven on. So, the following two recipes were done on a stove top – sans oven.
Eggplant Recipe No. 1: Tempeh & Eggplant “Ratatouille:”

Tempeh & Eggplant Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces tempeh (a fermented soy + grain product similar to tofu)
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, cubed
  • 1 ounce mozzarella cheese (I used a Trader Joe’s fresh mozzarella stick), shredded/chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 basil leaves, washed and diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  • Sprinkle eggplant with salt (this will draw out some of the water from the eggplant, making it easier/better for sauteeing).
  • Heat garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes, then add eggplant and saute for about 5 minutes. Add tempeh and saute another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and basil.

Easy, no? The above recipe is for a single serving. You can double, triple, etc. depending on how many people you’re feeding.

Eggplant Recipe No. 2: Eggplant Chips

Okay, so this one is not so much a recipe as much as a method for cooking the eggplant.

Eggplant chips, served with carrot top pesto smeared whitefish (over purple kale).

Directions:Cut eggplant into 1/4″ slices and sprinkle with salt to draw out moisture. Cook in a lightly oiled (or use cooking spray) pan for about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on how crispy you like the slices).

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Farmers Market WTF: Week 3 – Carrot Tops

For most people, hearing “carrot top” conjures up images of a skinny comedian with bright red hair who totes around a trunk full of props.

For me, I imagine the leafy greens atop my carrots and think, ‘What can I do with these?’

Image

Purple carrots from the Green City Market

After asking the farmers at the market without much help, I took matters into my own hands to research what, if any, uses there were for my carrot tops. Check out the Carrot Museum website for some great recipes. I really loved their idea for a carrot top pesto, though I didn’t actually follow their recipe since I didn’t have the ingredients on hand.

Normally I would let you know about the fantastic nutrition of carrot tops before I delve into recipes and the like. However, there were no reputable sources to be found on the topic. That doesn’t mean that carrot tops aren’t nutritious, however. If I had to use my nutritional knowledge and background to estimate the nutrients found in carrot tops, I would say that there is potassium (promotes heart health among other things), vitamin K (involved in bone health and maintenance as well as blood clotting) and iron. Again, this is my estimation of the nutrients found in carrot tops and should by no means be taken as fact.

So, on to the recipe:

Carrot Top Pesto:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup carrot tops, rinsed, with any large stems removed
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (or more if you want a thinner pesto)
  • 3 Tbsp nuts or seeds (I used pepitas because that was all I had. Pine nuts or walnuts would be best)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until creamy.

Carrot top pesto made an excellent topping to my turkey meatballs at lunch…

Image

Turkey meatballs (lean ground turkey with red onions basil and herbs) over sauteed veggies and purple kale, topped with carrot top pesto. Yum!

Carrot top pesto is great on toast, too!

Farmers Market WTF: Week 2 – Purslane

Okay, so technically this is the third week, but last week I took off since it was the 4th of July. Therefore, I am calling this week two.

This week’s item: an edible weed known as purslane.

You are probably thinking that I’m nuts trying to tell you to eat weeds. Just hear me out, though. I promise I’m not [really] some crazy hippie dietitian.

It’s pretty, right? I am tempted to put some sprigs in vases around my apartment.

Also, a little background on purslane: a “weed,” it grows very easily and its seeds are quite resilient. So it is pretty much inevitable that it will find its way into a garden. And if it’s going to grow anyway, you might as well eat it.

Purslane is popular in certain Indian states and Latin American countries. It is even used by the French as a salad green, and is occasionally referred to as “Mexican parsley.” The entire plant – leaves and stems – are edible.

Purslane has a mild taste, similar to spinach or watercress with just a hint of tang and bitterness (not nearly as bitter as kale, Swiss chard or many other greens).

As far as nutrition goes, 1.5 cups of fresh purslane (you would use at least that much in a salad) contain:

  • Only 10 calories!
  • 25% daily value for vitamin C
  • 15% daily value for vitamin A
  • Vitamin K, calcium, iron and magnesium, among other nutrients

Though purslane can be cooked, I chose to eat it raw as the base of my salad. I had some canned crab meat from Trader Joe’s (real crab for a great price!) and decided to make some crab cakes to put on top of the salad. I figured that purslane’s fresh, crisp flavor would go well with a savory & rich (rich tasting, not rich in calories) crab cake. In about 20 minutes, my crab cakes were mixed, pan-fried and served as a delicious topper for the purslane!

Crab Cakes on a Bed of Purslane & Spinach

Crab cakes:

Crab cake ingredients. And yes, I used the store-bought lime juice. Sometimes you just have to improvise…

  • 2, 6 oz. cans crab meat, drained (about 8-10 oz. total, drained)
  • 1 egg (not pictured)
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (regular bread crumbs would also work), plus 1/3 cup
  • 1 Tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (I didn’t have any, hence the lime juice, also works)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (for pan-frying)

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients, except for 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs and olive oil, in a bowl and form into 6 patties.
  • Sprinkle tops with half of the remaining bread crumbs.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan. You’ll know the oil is ready when you splash a [very small] drop of water into the pan and it sizzles (I just run my fingers under the tap and flick some water into the pan to check).
  • Place patties, bread crumb side down, into pan, then sprinkle remaining bread crumbs on top.
  • Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side.

Purslane & Spinach Salad:

Mix 1 tsp grainy mustard with 1 Tbsp olive oil in small bowl. Place about 2 cups purslane and 1 cup spinach on a plate and drizzle with mustard/oil mixture.

Finished Product:

Top the salad with crab cakes and a little smoked paprika “aioli”  (1/4 cup nonfat Green yogurt, 1/4 tsp smoked paprika), and voila!

Crab Cakes on a Bed of Purslane & Spinach