Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Coconut Curry Beet Sauce {Recipe ReDux}

Who doesn’t love leftovers? Cook once, eat twice…or three, or four times.

Instead of just reheating the leftovers, though — c’mon, you know that gets boring — why not repurpose them into a completely new and delicious dish?

That’s what we were tasked with doing for this month’s Recipe ReDux:

Two for One

We’re all about cooking once and eating twice. In short, double dinners are better. Show us how you take a favorite recipe already on your blog – and ReDux the leftovers into a new dish. Or, whip up a new healthy recipe and give suggestions on how to make it a second meal. For example, slow cooker pot roast could become shredded beef tacos; or grilled chicken breasts might morph into chicken salad.

roasted_carrots_coconut_curry_beet_sauce

A few weeks ago I made this delicious {vegan} Coconut Curry Beet and Butternut Squash Soup, and I packaged the leftover soup into individual containers and then stuck the containers in my freezer for future soup-eating occasions.

Now, the soup was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but after eating it for a week straight, I was completely beet souped out. And I still had a couple containers left.

What’s a girl to do??

(#firstworldproblems)

roasted_carrots_beet_sauce

MAKE IT INTO A SAUCE! And drizzle that sauce onto the most perfectly-roasted rainbow carrots.

Did you know that carrots started off as PURPLE — not orange? Some think that orange carrots were first bred in the Netherlands to honor King William of Orange, but whatever the real story, the orange color has seemingly stuck since that time.

I like all carrots, but rainbow carrots are just so gorgeous! And the different colors mean that they have a variety of nutrients — beta-carotene (vitamin A) in the orange carrots, anthocyanins (powerful antioxidants) in the purple carrots and Xanthophykks and lutein (linked with cancer prevention and eye health) in the yellow carrots.

Roasting them brings out their natural sweetness and earthiness. I could eat them straight out of the oven (with a little sea salt), but the addition of this beet sauce completely elevates them and will totally impress your dinner guests.

roasted_carrots

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Coconut Curry Beet Sauce

Serve this delicious veggie dish with grilled chicken or steak — or keep things vegan with marinated/roasted tofu. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. carrots, preferably organic rainbow carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup leftover Coconut Curry Beet and Butternut Squash Soup
  • 1 Tbsp. lime zest (from organic limes)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked sea salt (regular, non-smoked sea salt would also work)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash/scrub carrots and cut the ends off. Lay carrots on a baking sheet and drizzle with melted coconut oil. Toss the carrots a few times to evenly coat them with oil.
  2. Roast carrots for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Transfer the carrots to your serving platter.roasted_coconut_carrotsroasted_rainbow_carrots
  3. Using a spoon, drizzle carrots with leftover beet soup, then sprinkle with lime zest and pecans.

roasted_carrots_coconut_curry_beet_sauce

Check out the link below for infinite leftover meal ideas from the members of Recipe ReDux. Enjoy!

Wild Blueberry, Mint and Feta Farro Salad {Recipe ReDux Sponsored Post}

As you may know, I’ve gone wild blueberry crazy this week (not much different than most weeks).

Wild_Blueberries

But they are just so delicious and packed with nutrients. Do you know the difference between wild blueberries and regular, cultivated berries?

First off, wild blueberries have never been modified or messed with, meaning they are the same berry that existed 10,000 years ago. Which is pretty awesome.

Besides that, they have a more intense flavor and color, are smaller and thus you get more berries per pound and they have a higher concentration of beneficial phytochemicals — twice the antioxidants as compared to regular blueberries! Which means major health benefits (see laundry list below).

Wild_Blueberry_Farro_Salad

Wild Blueberries are the subject of hundreds of research studies looking at potential benefits to humans including:

  • Brain health
  • Anti-aging
  • Heart health
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Cancer prevention
  • Reducing oxidative stress
  • Preventing UTIs
  • Eye health
  • Most Wild Blueberries are frozen at harvest, locking in their intense blueberry flavor and antioxidant power
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries are just as nutritious as fresh and may even retain their nutritional value longer
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries are available year-round; they can be used right out of the freezer – no thawing required
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries offer consumers the most convenient way to have the Antioxidant Superfruit at hand at all times.
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries make it easy to get your “Daily Dose of Wild Blue”
  • Frozen Wild Blueberries are an excellent value, they offer consistent quality, ease of use, high antioxidant content, health benefits, less spoilage, affordability.

Learn more about the benefits of wild blueberries here.

And with that, let’s talk recipes. Healthy food is only good for you if you actually eat it, and while wild blueberries are delicious on their own, they also lend themselves well to both sweet and savory applications. Check out my recipes for Wild Blueberry Truffles and Wild Blueberry, Avocado and Corn Salsa for more inspiration.

And if you are looking for more ways to use wild blueberries (clearly you should), they pair well with honey, mint, cilantro, basil and lemon, to name a few.

Recipe: Wild Blueberry, Mint and Feta Farro Salad

Farro is one of the oldest cultivated grains — enjoyed for roughly 5,000 years. It has a texture similar to barley with a nice, nutty taste. Like wild blueberries, farro is delicious in sweet and savory applications. Plus, it’s packed with fiber, protein and a wealth of other nutrients.

Makes: about 4 cups (serving size 1 cup)

*By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Farro_Wild_Blueberry_Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup semi-pearled farro
  • 1 cup wild blueberries
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/4 large lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Prepare farro according to package directions (generally requires about 25-35 minutes of cooking).

Gently mix prepared farro with remaining ingredients, being careful not to smash the wild blueberries.

This salad is delicious hot or cold. Serve with vegetables (cauliflower “rice” below) and fish or chicken (BBQ chicken was especially yummy).

Wild_Blueberry_Farro_Salad_with_BBQ_Chicken

Nutrition information (for 1 cup farro salad): Calories 229; Fat 4 g; Carbohydrates 40 g; Fiber 7 g; Protein 8 g; Sodium 330 mg

More delicious wild blueberry recipes — follow the link below!

Salted Wild Blueberry and Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Truffles {Recipe ReDux Sponsored Post}

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I’m lovin’ me some wild blueberries this week. I’ve always been a fan, but since the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) sponsored this month’s Recipe ReDux, I have been putting my creative cap on to think of new and different recipes that feature wild blueberries. Dark chocolate, cinnamon and wild blueberries seemed like a great fit. As a general rule, I eat one or all of these things on a given day, so I figured it was only right to put them all together for the ultimate truffle.Image

I’m practically giddy over the antioxidants in these truffles. Wild blueberries are packed with more than twice the amount of antioxidants compared with regular blueberries. They’re rich in anthocyanins — the antioxidant compound that gives that the intense, deep purple color. Plus you’re getting flavonoids from the dark chocolate and even more antioxidants from the cinnamon.

And the bonus? These truffles come in right around 100 calories! If you’ve never tried wild blueberries, you better get on it. They can be found in the freezer section of many grocery stores (I usually buy them from my man Trader Joe). For the full list of where to buy wild blueberries, check here.

Recipe: Salted Wild Blueberry and Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Truffles

If you’re unsure about the cinnamon, you can omit. If you have a silicone candy mold, it works best for this, but you can also make it into delicious bark (see link below). These truffles make a great gift or stash them in the freezer for those times when you just need some chocolate.

Makes: 16, 1 oz. truffles

Melting_Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 9 ounces good dark chocolate
  • 1 cup frozen wild blueberries, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Truffles

Directions:

Fill the bottom of a double boiler* with about two inches of water and bring to a boil. In top of double boiler, add dark chocolate and cook, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted.

Add thawed wild blueberries, cinnamon (if using) and honey. Stir until well combined.

If using candy mold, sprinkle a few granules of sea salt into bottom of each mold. Pour truffle mixture into silicone candy mold (or make it into bark, and sprinkle with sea salt once you’ve spread it out on a sheet pan). Place in freezer until hardened. Remove truffles from mold and enjoy!

*I am a deprived cook and don’t have a double boiler. As you can see above, I used a small saucepan (filled with about two inches of water) and brought it to a boil. Then I placed a medium-sized glass bowl over it. Voila! Makeshift double boiler. You should try it.

Wild_Blueberry_Truffles

Nutrition Information: Calories 108; Fat 7 g; Saturated Fat 4 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 149 mg; Carbohydrates 11 g; Fiber 2 g

For more delicious wild blueberry recipes from the very talented Recipe ReDux bunch, click on the little blue guy/link below.

Purple Vegetables: So Hot Right Now

Hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgivings! Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays, but it’s not so kind to our waistlines. In fact, according the Calorie Control Council, the average turkey dinner (plus appetizers) clocks in around 4,500 calories — yowza!

Well, the good news is that you can have your fall-themed foods and eat them too. With greens like kale and Swiss chard in season, along with other Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, to name a few) and potatoes galore, fall vegetables can pack a major nutrition punch and can help you get back on track. Who says the holidays have to be entirely gluttonous? Enter, purple vegetables.

purple_potato

Seriously — look at these purple sweet potatoes! Such a gorgeous color!

I’ve been reading Jo Robinson’s book, Eating on the Wild Side: the Missing Link to Optimum Health, wherein she discusses the history of our favorite fruits and vegetables along with the most nutritious varieties found in stores/farmers markets and the best nutrient-sparing ways to prepare them. Through her book, I’ve learned that many of our favorite vegetables started out purple — corn, potatoes, carrots and many others. Most purple vegetables get their color from anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol (antioxidant), that may aid in cancer prevention and improve heart health, among other benefits. Thus, the original [purple] varieties of vegetables were often more nutritious.

It’s safe to say that since reading the book, I’ve been searching for purple or other “odd”- colored vegetables — orange cauliflower, purple kale and of course, purple potatoes. So you can imagine my excitement when I came across purple sweet potatoes at Whole Foods (seriously, it was embarrassing — people were staring). But check these things out (!):

purple_sweet_potato

Purple potatoes are the most gorgeous, jewel-tone shade of purple. While the USDA does not provide nutrition information for this variety, according to Stokes Foods, purple sweet potatoes contain 4 grams fiber per 4 oz (medium-size potato), along with 2 g protein and 20 percent daily value of vitamin C (making them an excellent source of the vitamin). They are so delicious, with a creamy, dense texture, that all you really need to do with them is bake them, add a little grass-fed butter or coconut oil and sprinkle with cinnamon. They would also be wonderful roasted with other vegetables such as cauliflower and carrots, with fresh rosemary.

Another, more common purple vegetable to which I’ve taken a fancy is purple (technically red, but it looks purple to me) cabbage. Purple cabbage is — you guessed it — a source of anthocyanins. It also provides vitamins A, C and K, fiber and potassium, all for minimal calories (less than 25 calories for a cup of shredded red cabbage). Nutritionally, it’s a star. However, many people are turned off by it’s bitterness. So, when preparing cabbage, you may need to give it a little extra lovin.

While raw purple cabbage is delicious when shredded and used in an Asian-style slaw recipe, I prefer cooked cabbage during the colder months. I have a Portuguese friend, Joana, who makes the most delicious purple cabbage by sauteeing it in olive oil with salt, pepper and onions (until it’s soft). While I love this method and use it all the time, I wanted to try something new. Since my answer for how to make vegetables crave-worthy is generally, “roast them,” this seemed like the perfect fit for cabbage.

roasted_cabbage

I washed the purple cabbage and cut it into wedges, drizzled with olive oil and roasted it at 375 for about one hour. Then I cracked fresh pepper over the top, along with Himalayan sea salt. It was ridiculously good. Nicely charred on top and bottom, but warm and soft on the inside. The best part was the bottom leaves, which had essentially been oven-fried in the olive oil that had coated the bottom of the pan. Naturally, I ate them all immediately. Look at that crunchy goodness!

cabbage_leaf

Have you discovered any purple vegetables? Let me know your favorite varieties and preparations in the comment section.

Purple Asparagus: Antioxidant Powerhouse

Chicago’s Green City Market has finally started back up! And with a spring farmers market comes asparagus AKA the only vegetable available in Chicago at this time of year. Lucky for me, I love asparagus. My newest obsession, however, is purple asparagus. With a slightly sweeter taste than regular [green] asparagus, it’s perfect both cooked and raw. Note, purple asparagus sadly turns green when cooked (see pic below), so if you want to keep the color intact, slice it thin and serve it raw in salads. A source of acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, also helps to boost the purple color. Nutritionally speaking, purple asparagus contains slightly less fiber, more protein and more vitamin C than green asparagus. Check out the comparison below:

Left: purple asparagus, Right: green asparagus

Left: purple asparagus, Right: green asparagus

The purple color is not only pretty — it’s what makes purple asparagus a nutritional powerhouse. Anthocyanin, the flavanoid responsible for purple, red and blue colors in fruits and vegetables, is considered an antioxidant, able to remove free radicals (which can cause negative health effects, from inflammation to cancer). Various research has shown that anthocyanins also have antimicrobial properties and can decrease inflammation, improve blood pressure, improve eyesight and suppress the spread of cancer cells*.

The most important point to note with purple asparagus, however, is that it is delicious. It tastes less bitter than green asparagus and just looks gorgeous as part of a meal. Dietitians and other health professionals will tell you to “eat the rainbow” not only because it will provide a variety of nutrients, but also because we eat with our eyes, and a colorful plate is much more appealing that a monochromatic one.

With leftover salmon and purple asparagus on hand, I cooked up a delicious little meal. After cutting the asparagus on the bias, I sauteed it in coconut oil and minced garlic. This formed the bed underneath my salmon. I then drizzled with Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze (amazing stuff, by the way). A nice, light, low-carb lunch!

purple asparagus and balsamic salmon

 

 

*Source: J Biomed Biotechnol. 2004 December 1; 2004(5): 239–240.