Blooming Glen Farm | gluten free
164
archive,tag,tag-gluten-free,tag-164,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,paspartu_enabled,paspartu_on_bottom_fixed,qode-theme-ver-12.1,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.11.2.1,vc_responsive
 

gluten free Tag

Varieties of summer squash and zucchini are are abundant during the summer — which is a very good thing! (And to clarify, at the farm we just call it all summer squash, of which this week’s dark gold and green zucchini is included under that heading. I am referring here to the lighter yellow squash as “summer squash”- it is also milder in flavor than the gold and green zucchini varieties that Blooming Glen grows). These light and mild veggies are not only delicious, but also healthy and versatile. Nutritionally speaking, the manganese in squash helps promote strength by building strong bones and connective tissues. As we know, vitamin C supports our immune systems, preventing colds and other infections, but it’s also an antioxidant that can help protect our bodies from the damage caused by pollution. Finally, the fiber in zucchini and summer squash aids digestion and promotes a healthy gut. In order to get all these benefits, it’s important to skip the peeler; like most other vegetables and fruits, a lot of the healthy stuff in zucchini and summer squash lives in or near the skin. Instead of peeling, simply rinse off the veggies under running water to remove any dirt. Here are a few tips for using up your stock of zucchini and summer squash:

  • Dice ’em up: Diced zucchini and summer squash can be added to soups, stir-fries, chilis, crepes and quiches, stews, curries, spaghetti sauce and rice. They can also be enjoyed raw, mixed into pasta salad, grain salads and green salads.
  • Cut into coins: Sliced zucchini and summer squash make a great topping for pizza, taste great layered into lasagna, or used in casseroles.
  • Savory pancakes: Add grated squash and zucchini to whole wheat pancake mix, along with some garlic powder and chopped spring onion. Serve with a dab of sour cream for a savory, summery side dish.
  • On the grill: Slice zucchini and squash lengthwise, into planks and spray lightly with high-heat cooking oil. Place on hot grill or grill pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 5-10 mins., until tender and charred, flipping once.
  • Thicken up soups: Cook and puree squash and zucchini to use as a creamy soup base.
  • Preserving: Shred and freeze zucchini and squash to preserve. Use thawed veggies in breads, muffins, casseroles, fritattas, and quiches.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com

P1016490 smWell, maybe not 100 ways… but spaghetti squash is so incredibly easy to prepare and so versatile, I bet we could think of 100 ways pretty quickly!  Spaghetti squash can be served as a simple side dish or as a flavorful full meal, and although I won’t list exactly 100 ways to eat it here, the preparation possibilities are truly endless. 

Nutritionally speaking, spaghetti squash is most notable for its high fiber and vitamin C content. The heart- and belly-healthy fiber found in this squash not only promotes cardiovascular health, but also helps maintain blood sugar levels and keeps us feeling full longer. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in everything from boosting our immune systems to protecting our skin.

Use the basic roasted squash recipe below as a starting point, then try out the side or main dishes listed, or experiment by using your own favorite flavors.

Spaghetti Squash 100 Ways

P1016492 smBasic roasted spaghetti squash: Preheat over to 400-degrees. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, being careful not to dig into the flesh of the squash. Place squash halves on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, cut side down. Put a little water on the pan, enough to just cover the cut ends of the squash. Bake for 30-45 minutes (smaller squash will cook more quickly), until squash is tender and a fork can easily pierce through the skin/peel and flesh. Remove the squash flesh by scraping a fork lengthwise across the inside of each half. Toss squash with a little oil or butter, salt and pepper.

You can also microwave spaghetti squash: Pierce squash all over with a fork or paring knife. Place in microwave and cook for 10-15 minutes, until squash is tender and a fork can easily pierce through the skin/peel and flesh.

As a simple side, toss above-cooked squash noodles with:

  • Lemon zest and chopped fresh herbs
  • Chopped tomatoes and garlic
  • Tomato sauce and nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese
  • Capers, lemon, and parsley
  • Butter and scallions

As a main dish:

Taco-style
Grapeseed oil
1/3 cup onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 cup black beans
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 cup peppers, chopped
1/2 cup tomatillos, chopped
Toppings: shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa, crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese
Method: Heat a large pot with oil, sauté onion, garlic, chili powder and beans until everything is tender and heated through. Add tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos and cook ~5-7 minutes minutes, until peppers are just tender. Add squash and combine well. Serve immediately with toppings.

Buffalo and Blue Cheese
Grapeseed oil
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chickpeas, or mock chicken, shredded or chopped
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1/2-1 cup wing sauce
Toppings: green onion, chopped celery, blue cheese crumbles
Method: Heat a large pot with oil, sauté onion, garlic, and chicken until everything is tender and heated through. Add carrots and cabbage and cook ~3-4 minutes, until crisp tender. Add squash and combine well. Toss with hot sauce, adjusting amount to desired spiciness. Serve immediately with toppings.

Pad Thai
Grapeseed oil
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup cubed tofu (baked tofu works great)
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup carrots, shredded
Whisk together sauce ingredients:
3 tablespoons tamari sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Toppings: chopped green onions, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, sriracha sauce
Method: Heat a large pot with oil, sauté onion and tofu cooked/heated through; cooking time depends on whether you’re using raw or baked tofu. Add sprouts, carrots, and half the sauce and cook ~3-4 minutes, until crisp tender. Add squash and remaining sauce and combine well. Cook for a few minutes over low-medium heat, allowing flavors to meld together. Serve immediately with toppings.

gfg_head shot mPost and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

bg_blog lentil potato chard salad 2This versatile summer salad is not only packed with flavor & nutrition, but also uses several recent share ingredients.  We’ve talked about the healthy stuff in potatoes & Swiss chard here before; combining them with lentils, a good source of both plant-based protein & iron, allows this salad to stand in as a hearty side or a main dish.  Roasting the potatoes & chard brings a smokey flavor & unique texture that contrasts perfectly with the raw ingredients. Note: this is a good time to roast some other veggies (beets & kohlrabi, fennel, peppers, eggplant, turnips, etc.) while you have the oven on!

Try serving this salad on top a bed of chopped spring greens, with a side of grilled string beans & your favorite protein, or topped with a fried farm-fresh egg.

Roasted Potato & Chard Salad with Lentils
bg_blog lentil potato chard saladIngredients
1 cup black, green or brown lentils (black pictured)
6 potatoes (~1-1/2 lb), cut into cubes
3+ cups Swiss chard, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper
Grapeseed or other high-heat cooking oil
3 spring onion bulbs (~1/3 cup), finely diced
1 fennel bulb (~1/3 cup), finely diced — or try celery
1-2 clove green (or other) garlic, minced
3 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped (optional)

Method
Preheat oven to 400-degrees.

In a medium pan, bring lentils, water, and ~1/2 teaspoon salt to boil. Simmer the lentils until tender, ~20 minutes. Drain and put aside

Meanwhile, toss potatoes with a little grapeseed oil & a sprinkle of salt & pepper, then place on a single layer on a cookie sheet. Roast until tender & lightly browned, ~20 minutes. Repeat with Swiss chard, roast until wilted & drying, but not crispy, ~10 mins.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, fennel or celery, garlic & lemon juice, then allow to sit for a few minutes. Whisk in mustard & olive oil. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Add lentils, potatoes & herbs to the bowl & toss to combine. Serve warm or chill until ready to serve.

gfg_head shot mPost and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

BeetsBeets are a staple veggie at the farm, making an appearance both at the beginning & end of the season each year. Like many root vegetables, beets have lots of vitamins & minerals, including those that help grow red blood cells (folate) & those that that help build sturdy & strong bones (manganese). Also like many root vegetables, much of the nutrition in beets lives in or near the skin, so skip the peeler & simply scrub them clean before eating.

Enjoy beets raw & cooked: Use slices of raw beets in a veggie dip or hummus, or dice them up small & add them to a green, grain or pasta salad. Use a grater to shred raw beets for slaws or to use in breads, muffins & even cookies! Of course, the sweetest way to eat beets is by roasting them. The simple recipe below combines beets with another CSA staple, kohlrabi. You can serve this dish as is, or use it as a base for a more hearty meal:

  • Serve chilled & topped with cooked quinoa & plain yogurt (pictured below)
  • Mix in chickpeas or black soy beans
  • Use as a pita filling with hummus
  • Top with plain yogurt or sour cream & minced chives
  • Serve on top of a chopped green salad
  • Combine with a cooked whole grain (brown rice, bulgur, farro, etc.)
  • Top with sunflower or sesame seeds

Roasted Beets & Kohlrabi with Fennel
BeetsIngredients
8 beets
8 kohlrabi
3 fennel
1-1/2 tablespoons grapeseed or other high-heat cooking oil
salt & pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Trim tops off beets, scrub clean & dice. Trim, peel & dice kohlrabi. Slice fennel bulbs & stems, up to fronds. Toss beets, kohlrabi & fennel with a bit of grapeseed oil, salt & pepper.

Place vegetables in a baking dish, cover & bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with a little more salt & pepper, stir, recover & return to the oven. Bake until just tender, about 20 more minutes.

gfg_head shot mPost and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Rice & Beans PeppersFrom Cuban black beans with yellow rice to Indian ramjah (kidney beans) with basmati rice, rice and beans is a classic, versatile dish that’s found throughout most cultures around the globe. Rice and beans are hearty, inexpensive, and super adaptable, making them a worthwhile addition to anyone’s kitchen repertoire. The key to making this not only a belly-filling meal, but also a nourishing and nutritious one is using whole grains and loading up on veggies. The recipe below uses heart-healthy brown rice, and loads of Blooming Glen Farm-fresh veggies that are packed with vitamins and minerals. The black beans bring plant-based protein, making this a nice rounded and complete meal.

As with many recipes on this blog, the one below is very much open for alterations, depending on your particular tastes, what you have available in your pantry, and what veggies you may need to use up from your share.  I’ve added lots of peppers to this version, since they’re abundant right now. The poblano peppers add a tiny bit of heat, while the frying peppers bring in some sweetness.  Greens are always a good thing to add to your meals; using them here brings in a satisfying chewiness, perfectly complimented by the soft peppers and beans.  Corn would be a nice addition and so would zucchini — feel free to use up whatever vegetables you have on hand!  You can substitute pinto or other beans in place of the black beans. You can even skip the rice and serve the beans over baked or smashed potatoes (leave skins on) or another whole grain. Experiment and have fun 🙂

Recipe note: I make rice and beans by first getting the rice going in a rice cooker, then moving on to the prep and cooking of the beans.  In most cases, by the time the beans are done, so is the rice.

Rice & Beans

Rice & Beans

Ingredients
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (~1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped (~1 cup)
4 sweet peppers, seeded and chopped (~1 cup)
1+ jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
1+ cup kale, chopped fine
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (~2 cups)
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1+ cup broth (No-Chicken Broth is good here)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
3 cups hot cooked brown rice*
Fresh cilantro (optional)
* I prepare rice for this recipe with broth, rather than water.

Method
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for a minute or two, until they begin to soften. Add garlic and spices, cook for one minute more. Add peppers. greens, and tomatoes, stir well, and cook until veggies are tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash 1/2-cup of the beans.

Add mashed beans, whole beans, broth, and maple syrup to the skillet. Turn up heat and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer until reduced to desired thick consistency, about 5-10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice, topped with cilantro.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Tabbouleh Salad ingredientsTabbouleh (also tabouli) is a classic Middle Eastern salad made from whole grains and highlighted by the fresh herbs, cucumbers, and tomatoes that are in season right now. The whole grains in tabbouleh come from bulgur, which is made from whole hard wheat (wheat berries) that’s been parboiled, dried, and then cracked.

This whole wheat is very different than the wheat-based products we often buy at the grocery store:  When wheat is refined and processed — primarily into wheat flour — nearly all of its nutritional value is stripped away.  In fact, “more than half of wheat’s B vitamins, 90 percent of the vitamin E, and virtually all of the fiber” are lost.  When wheat is refined, its nutritious bran and germ are removed and we’re left only with a starch that’s digested as a simple sugar, causing our blood sugar levels to spike as if we’d eaten candy!

Healthy whole wheat like bulgur, on the other hand, is a complex carbohydrate that offers a unique combination of minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which work in concert together to protect our cardiovascular health, prevent Type 2 Diabetes, promote digestive health, and help fight off cancer.  Once cooked, bulgur has a mild, nutty flavor that adds a fantastic chewy, meaty texture to foods. Mix it into a salad, stirfry, chili, spaghetti sauce, taco filling, or use it as a base for a grain salad (such as this Asian Bulgur and Edamame Salad), stuffed peppers, breakfast porridge, or savory side dish.

In addition to whole wheat, tabbouleh takes advantage of the cucumber bounty we’ve been enjoying with our share.  Cucumbers aren’t commonly thought of for their nutrition, but they actually are a good source of vitamin A, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese, and a very good source of potassium and vitamins C and K.  Thanks to the phytonutrients in cucumbers, they also bring our bodies anti-inflammatory, antioxident, and anti-cancer benefits, too.

The important key to accessing all this great stuff, however, is consuming the skin. (Some might remember that this is true for many of the vegetables we eat — we’ve talked about potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and eggplant here before 🙂 )  If you’re just getting used to eating the skin on cucumbers, try peeling only half of the skin off at first, then move up to keeping it all intact.

Tabbouleh a naturally versatile and adaptable dish, so feel free to play around with the grain-herb-veggie ratio.  You might prefer an herb-based salad, or you might choose to go heavy on the cucumbers, since they’re so abundant right now (as I did in the salad pictured). You could even make this recipe gluten-free by substituting bulgur for another healthy whole grain, such as quinoa. Tabbouleh pairs great with hummus, baba ganoush, and pita.

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh

Ingredients
2 cups boiling water
1-1/4 cup bulgur wheat (use quinoa for a gluten-free version)
1 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
1/4 cup minced onion
1+ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or chopped
1+ cup cucumbers, diced

Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon, more to taste
1 tsp salt, more to taste
pinch of pepper
pinch allspice

Method
Place bulgur in a bowl and pour boiling water over top. Let stand for 20-30 minutes, until softened, but still chewy.  Drain off any excess liquid, and fluff. If using quinoa, prepare per package instructions. Add herbs and veggies to bulgur and gently stir. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Add dressing to bulgur, gently stirring until dressing coats salad well. Adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve chilled.

Post Sources
Harvard School of Public Health
Nutrition Data (Bulgur)
Nutrition Data (Cucumber)
WH Foods (Cucumber)

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Pick-your-own string beans are a sure sign that summer has arrived at Blooming Glen!  Although we often don’t think about these beans as being particularly healthful, they actually have “impressive antioxidant capacity,” containing flavanoids, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K.  They’re a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which helps facilitate the passage of waste through our gut, as well as the mineral silicon, which works with calcium and magnesium to aid bone health.  And, because it’s in the pea and bean family, they also offer a nice bit of plant-based protein.

Given the heat wave we’re in the midst of, I’m sticking with cool ingredients once again for this week’s recipe — which has certainly been a theme here on the blog as of late! (If you haven’t already, check out last week’s recipe for Raw Mediterranean Squash & Greens Salad and Kristin’s awesome Raw Veggie Hash with Green Garlic Vinaigrette in a Lettuce Bundle.) Although there is a bit of stove time needed for blanching the vegetables, the recipe below requires very little cooking, little time, and little effort.  It’s a perfect dish to make ahead and have on hand for a healthy meal side dish or snack.  If you only have one bunch of scapes on hand, no worries! The optimal string beans-to-garlic scapes ratio may be a little off, but just use what you have 🙂  You can also skip the scapes all together; you may want to add a clove or two of minced garlic or a bit of granulated garlic to the marinades below.  There are three variations of the recipe, of which the Asian is pictured.

Cold Marinated String Beans & Scapes


Basic
1 quart string beans, trimmed
2 bunches garlic scapes, trimmed and cut in quarters
1/3 cup tamari or low sodium soy sauce
3 tbs sesame oil
1/2 tbs agave, or other sweetener

Asian
1 quart string beans, trimmed
2 bunches garlic scapes, trimmed and cut in quarters
3 tbs mirin
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tbs cup tamari or low sodium soy sauce
2 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs sesame seeds
1 tsp minced ginger
pinch of crushed red pepper, or more to taste

Italian
1 quart string beans, trimmed
1 bunch garlic scapes, trimmed and cut in quarters
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs cup tamari or low sodium soy sauce
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs Italian seasoning, or combination of basil, oregano, and thyme

Boil a large pot of water. Blanch veggies: Add string beans to boiling water for 3 minutes, then add scapes, and blanch for 2 more minutes. Drain veggies and drop into ice bath to stop cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a large resealable bag (or container with a tight fitting lid), add veggies and all of the remaining ingredients. Zip the bag closed and shake until veggies are evenly coated. Let cool in the fridge for a couple hours, tossing them once or twice. Or, marinate overnight.  Toss once more before serving.

Post sources
Nutrition Data
Web MD
WH Foods

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Raw veggies for squash saladHappy Summer! As the temperatures rise this season, many of us find it harder to crank up the stove top or oven to get meals onto the table. This is a natural time of year to crave cooler, fresher ingredients that require little-to-no cooking — and eating these raw foods do provide us with benefits:

Eating our foods in a more raw form provides a different nutritional profile than eating a food cooked. For instance, ounce-for-ounce, raw Swiss chard has almost twice the amount of Vitamin C and almost three times the amount of Vitamin K than cooked Swiss chard. Similarly, raw zucchini offers much more folate and Omega-3 fatty acids than its cooked counterpart. Many people also find raw foods cleansing, as they often promote efficient digestion and a happy gut. Raw food also encourages us to slow down while eating, simply because it takes us longer to chew, which is a wonderful way to support portion control and mindful eating. All those benefits, and fresh, raw veggies also taste great (especially those from Blooming Glen 😉 )!

The recipe below uses lots of raw veggies from this week’s share, including summer squash, zucchini, green onion, dill, lettuce, and Swiss chard. By shredding the zucchini and chopping the greens, we’re helping out our belly a bit, making it easier to digest those veggies. As always, feel free to use this recipe as a base, an experiment with whatever vegetables, greens, and beans you happen to have on hand in the coming weeks.

Mostly Raw Mediteranean Squash SaladMediterranean Shredded Squash Salad

Ingredients
3 zucchini and/or squash, shredded
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 green onion including greens, chopped
12-15 kalamata olives, sliced
5-6 sprigs dill, chopped (basil would also be good)
Chopped lettuce and/or Swiss chard

Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic scape, minced
sea salt and ground black pepper

Optional: Pine nuts, capers, dried figs, dried apricots, feta cheese

Method
In a small bowl (I use a glass measuring cup), whisk together the dressing ingredients. In a larger bowl, combine all the other ingredients, except for the lettuce/chard. Pour the dressing over squash mixture and stir to combine well. Place a handful of chopped greens on a plate, top with a big scoop of the squash salad. Serve with optional toppings.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Blooming Glen PotatoesBlooming Glen Farm grows a really wonderful selection of potatoes. We’ve been introduced to a variety of potatoes this season, including Sangre, Purple Sun, Kerrs Pink and Purple Viking, along with classic Yukons. While specific nutrition may differ a bit between varieties, generally speaking, all potatoes have almost half the recommended daily values of vitamins C and B6 and potassium. The recent low-carb craze have given potatoes a bad rap in recent years, but the truth is potatoes are actually a healthy complex carbohydrate. They’re a “good” carb, meaning that they digest slowly, preventing your blood sugar from spiking like simple carbs do. The caveat: We need to eat them with their skin and prepare them as healthily as possible. So, choose the baked potato or simple mashed potatoes over the French fries and potato chips 🙂

If you’re anything like me, you still have some potatoes from the last few weeks’ shares hanging out in your kitchen, and maybe even a couple different varieties. Feel free to mix and match whatever potatoes you happen to have on hand for the recipe below. This recipe is based on one of my mom’s classic soups. Growing up, we always looked forward to the first batch of her potato soup each fall — it took some of the sting out of the increasing colder weather and darker nights. In this version, I add beans, which provide a healthy boost of fiber and plant-based protein, and makes for a more filling and nutritionally complete meal. The seasonings are kept super simple, allowing the natural flavors of our fresh and local potatoes, leeks and celery to really come through.

Sam’s Potato Soup

Sam's Potato Soup
Serves 12
Ingredients

2 tbs Earth Balance
1 tsp peppercorns
1-1/2 cups leeks, cut into half moons and sliced
1 cup celery stalks and greens, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 cups potatoes, scrubbed clean with skin left intact, cut into a large dice
1/2 tsp salt
6-8 cups vegetable or No-Chicken broth
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Heat butter in a large heavy-bottom pot. Add leeks, celery, garlic, salt, pepper and peppercorns, sprinkle with a bit of salt and stir well. Cook until veggies begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix well. Add a splash of broth and let potatoes heat up, about 3-5 minutes. Add 6 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Let simmer and cook until potatoes begin to get get tender, about 20 minutes. Remove peppercorns. Add beans and, depending on consistency of soup desired, add more broth. Cook for 5-10 minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste. Option: You can blend part of the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender for a creamier soup.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

sweet potatoesIt’s hard to find a person who can’t appreciate sweet potatoes. They’re often something I recommend to clients who need to add a little more color into their diets — both literally and figuratively — because their sweet flavor, beautiful color and ease of preparation make them a relatively safe new veggie to try.  I’ve found that sweet potatoes, specifically fresh ones, have the ability to impress even the most fastidious of palates 🙂

Nutritionally speaking, sweet potatoes are most noted for providing beta carotene, which helps increase the cancer-fighting antioxidant, vitamin A in our blood. They also provide a healthy shot of fiber, vitamin C and manganese, in a low calorie, low fat, low cholesterol package.  As is the case with many fruits and vegetables, it’s important to eat the skin since that’s where many of its nutritional benefits are stored.

Unfortunately, we have a tendency to add far too many sweeteners in sweet potato recipes — the most classic example being, of course, the marshmallow-topped Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole! There’s nothing wrong with adding a small drizzle of maple syrup to sweet potatoes, but having these potatoes fresh in our CSA shares each week offer a great opportunity to experiment a bit and try them prepared different ways. We can simply bake them and top with a small dollop of butter, or mash them adding a sprinkle orange zest and cinnamon. They also make a good addition to soups and chilis, as seen in the chili recipe below. This chili pairs the sweet potato with savory and smokey spices, and boosts nutrition with heart-healthy black beans and one one of my all-time favorite superfoods, kale. An added bonus: In total, it uses five veggies (potatoes, kale, onion, peppers, tomatoes) from our share!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

sweet potato and black bean chili

Ingredients
2 small onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tbsp chili powder
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups chopped kale
1 cup sweet peppers, diced
3 – 4 cups sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean and diced.  Leave the skin on, but cut out any gnarly spots.
2 15-ounce cans black beans
1 24-ounce can diced tomatoes or equal amount of fresh diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Method
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (I used a Dutch oven), sauté onion and garlic with a sprinkle of salt over medium-high heat for a couple minutes until onion begins to soften.  Mix in spices and cook for another minute. Add potato, kale and peppers and a splash of the broth and stir well.  Cover and cook for ~5 minutes until veggies begin to soften.  Add tomatoes, beans and broth, stir well and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Salt and pepper to taste, serve with vegan (or dairy) sour cream and fresh cilantro.

Post sources: Nutrition Data

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!