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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Vividly Colored Plant-Based Dish Has Eye and Taste Appeal

Vividly Colored Plant-Based Dish Has Eye 


Taste Appeal

Bring the vibrant colors of the fields and farmer’s markets to your table. Learn how easy it is to create a main course dish that looks and tastes great, smells delicious, and is healthful too. 

Before I share my recipe, I'd like to introduce the colorful components of this dish to you.

AsparagusFresh Green

Asparagus is a sweet tasting vegetable, and one of the first to be harvested in the spring. Lucky for us; it's available in markets during most of the rest of the year too. The tender stalks are rich in vitamins K, C, and A as well as folate, which is a B vitamin. These vitamins are good for blood, eyes, and the immune system to help you ward off illness and stress. Asparagus contains the amino acid asparagine, one that cleans out toxins from your body. That is the reason, after you eat them and urinate, you may notice that your urine may smell strange. Asparagus info

Red Bell PepperBright Red

Red bell pepper is a fruit not a vegetable. It's a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, and the minerals molybdenum and manganese. Red peppers are mature green peppers and have more carotenoids and vitamin C than the green variety. See more about red pepper benefits from Annie Stuart at WebMD. Red Pepper Benefits

Carrots-Vibrant Orange

Almost everyone knows that carrots are rich in beta carotene, an organic compound that is good for your vision, immune system, and general well-being. Perhaps you don’t realize carrots are the root portion of the carrot plant. When the taproot reaches about 1 inch in diameter, it is harvested. This is the time when the root is most juicy and tender.  Carrot Facts

Quinoa-Ivory, Brown, Red, and Tricolor

Quinoa is high in protein and comes from the seed of a plant. It isn’t a grain or cereal grass, but is a member of the same food family as spinach, Swiss chard, and beets. Many researchers refer to quinoa as a "pseudo cereal." This term is typically used to describe foods that are not grasses, but can still be easily ground into flour. In any case, this product is a powerful plant-based building block for health and comes in several hues. Pick the color that calls to you. They're all nutritious. Here's more information for you. Quinoa info from USDA

Here’s my recipe. It takes only 15-20 minutes to prepare.

Steamed Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Carrots with Quinoa

Note: Make an effort to buy and serve organic produce, as conventionally grown fruits and veggies often are heavily sprayed with harmful pesticides and may be genetically modified. Organic, non-GMO products are better for you and the health of our planet. 

1 Cup organic quinoa of any color
2 Cups Water (for quinoa)
Optional- 2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or 2 teaspoons of Coconut Aminos
1 lb. slender asparagus stalks. They require no peeling and taste sweeter than the chunkier kind.
2 Cups carrots scrubbed and sliced into 1 in. x 1 in. strips
1 Cup red bell pepper, cut into 1 in. x 1 in. strips
¼ teaspoon salt (leave this out if you use Bragg Liquid Aminos)
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped dill and 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
2 Cups water (for steaming asparagus, red pepper, and carrots)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Part 1

Wash asparagus, red pepper, dill, and parsley. Cut off dry or tough ends of the asparagus and cut asparagus into 1 in. pieces. Core and slice the pepper into 1 in. strips. Scrub the carrots (leave the skin on) and slice into 1 in. strips.

Pour 2 cups water in the bottom of a 3-4 qt. saucepan and insert a steamer basket above. The amount of water you need depends on what size pot you have on hand. Add enough water to allow it to boil, but not rise above the steamer basket. The idea of steaming veggies is to cook them, but not let the produce soak in water and boil away nutrients. Place asparagus, red pepper, and carrots into the steamer and cover. Steam (simmer) for 5-8 minutes or until produce is tender, yet still brightly colored.

 Part 2

Rinse quinoa well and cook according to package directions. An option is to add 2 teaspoons of one of the following to water for an extra dimension of flavor: Bragg Liquid Aminos, Coconut Aminos, low sodium soy sauce, or vegetable broth. You'll know the quinoa is cooked, when all the water is absorbed. It takes about 15-20 minutes for it to expand and look like each circle has a circle within a circle.

Fully cooked quinoa

Fluff the cooked quinoa lightly with a large serving fork or spoon and transfer to a serving dish. Top with freshly steamed produce. Drizzle olive oil on top. Sprinkle on the chopped dill and parsley, add salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a splash of lemon juice. That's when you'll know you’re good to go.

This simple yet flavorful dish is fabulous when served hot, accompanied by a tossed salad to feed four. It tastes great, served chilled, on a bed of romaine as an entree salad. Get creative. Add additional veggies like kale, squash, and red cabbage, and steam them as well. If you prefer, garnish with raw veggies like celery, cucumbers, turnips, or jicama for added crunch. Your family and guests are bound to cheer, when you serve this whole food plant-based dish at brunch, lunch, or dinner. It's also a colorful way to pack nutrition and taste into a Meatless Monday meal.

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Nancy Andres, Health and Lifestyle Writer, Author, Blogger lives in Tucson, where she appreciates the high desert colors of a city surrounded by mountains. For a peek at the 12 week interactive self-care journal program, Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery Balance and Bliss check Colors of Joy on Amazon Books.  Colors of Joy provides unique activities that help women get in touch with their feelings, thoughts, and aspirations and experience more joy in daily living. See Colors of Joy on Nancy's Website.

The quote for today is from Cesar Chavez

"If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him... the people who give you their food give you their heart."


This post has been shared at Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up 48

This post has been shared at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #70

Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan