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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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

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Quinoa Power Breakfast: Gluten, Dairy and Egg-Free

Quinoa is often praised by dietitians and other health professionals as a super-food. While I find the term “super-food” a little gimmicky, it is mostly true in the case of quinoa. A grain, quinoa (pronounced KENN-wah) is a good source of both fiber (with more than 5 grams/cup) AND protein (more than 8 grams/cup). While we know that whole grains, like quinoa, generally contain fiber, we don’t always get that one-two punch of fiber and protein.

The best part? Quinoa’s amino acid profile is considered complete, meaning it doesn’t lack an amino acid like many other grain products do. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins for our body. Our body can make ten of the 20 amino acids we need to make proteins in our bodies, but the other ten — considered essential amino acids — must be supplied by the foods we eat. Most plant sources of protein don’t provide all of the essential amino acids, so it’s even more impressive that quinoa does.

I find that most people view quinoa as a savory food, often mixed with veggies and beans (and meat/poultry too) to create a quinoa salad. Think about it, though, quinoa is really just a bland-tasting grain when you get down to it. Thus, you can use it in sweeter preparations as well. Alas, Breakfast Quinoa! It’s a terrific option for when you have leftover quinoa from the night before (assuming you didn’t use broth or savory herbs to make it). Just mix with whatever fruit and nuts you have on hand, plus some cinnamon or other sweeter spices. It’s more filling than oatmeal, because it contains more protein and fiber (the satiety dynamic duo, if you will). Check out my delicious Banana Coconut Quinoa below!

Banana Coconut Power Breakfast Quinoa:

Breakfast_Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • One cup quinoa, cooked (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp)

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions or heat up leftover quinoa. Stir in coconut oil when hot, then top with sliced banana, sunflower seeds and cinnamon.

 

 

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.