Blooming Glen Farm | whole grains
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whole grains Tag

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!

Sweet peppersIt’s pretty hard to resist the sweet taste and rainbow color of the frying peppers finding their way into our share the past few weeks.  Peppers are standard in most of our diets, but did you know that they also provide a huge dose of vitamins C and A to our diets?  They’re also high in phytonutrients, which help us fight off an array of illnesses and disease.  Add to that their fiber content and these little guys are a lot more than just good looks! As with most veggies, we can get the most nutrition from eating them raw.  Chopped up, you can top salads and tacos with them.  Sliced, enjoy them dipped in hummus or a black bean dip.

The stuffed pepper recipe below uses cooked peppers, which are certainly still healthy, especially since we’re adding fresh tomatoes and the whole grain, freekeh. Freekah, young green wheat that’s been toasted and cracked, is super rich in fiber, provides essential minerals, and is a good source of plant-based protein.

Freekah Stuffed Peppers
Freekah Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients
4 peppers, sliced in half lengthwise and cored (choose the largest ones you have)
1-1/2 cup diced peppers
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 tbs fennel
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs basil
1/2 tbs Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4+ tsp crushed red pepper
1 package of freekah (8 oz)*
2 cups broth
1 cup bread crumbs
3 tbs nutritional yeast (or parmesan or romano cheese)
1+ cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
* Freekah is available in the natural/organic section of the grocery store and at health food stores. If you can’t find it or want to use a gluten-free grain, you can substitute freekah for brown rice (increase simmer time below to 40-50 minutes) or quinoa (decrease cooking time below to 15 minutes).

Method
Saute onion until translucent. Add garlic, sauté 1 minute. Add spices and salt and sauté for a couple minutes. Add peppers and tomato, stir and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in freekah and mix well. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, adding more broth or water if necessary.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish, cover the bottom with a light layer of marinara or spaghetti sauce.

Remove veggie and freekah mixture from the stove, add bread crumbs and nutritional yeast and stir until everything is well combined. Stuff pepper halves with mixture, and place in a single layer in the baking dish. Top peppers with a spoonful of marinara or spaghetti sauce. Cover and bake 35 minutes, checking occasionally to see is more sauce should be added to the bottom of the dish. Uncover and broil for 3-5 minutes, making sure pepper halves have softened.

Post sources and recommended links:

Cooked red pepper‘s nutritional profile on Nutrition Data.
Bell peppers on World’s Healthiest Foods.
What is freekah? on the Freekah Foods website.

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!

Basil Quinoa with Edamame and TomatillosPoblano peppers are one of the most mild of hot peppers, measuring 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville Heat units. This is quite modest compared to, for example, it’s fiery relative the cayenne pepper, which has a heat unit of 30,000 to 50,000! The light spice of the poblano makes it a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen, and since it won’t singe taste buds, you can really taste its flavor.

The heat in poblanos and other peppers is caused by plant compounds called capsaicinoids, which are generally thought to exist as a natural deterrent against animals and fungi. Capsaicinoids have been linked to several health benefits over the years including, improved circulatory and heart function; pain management for arthritis, neuropathy and psoriasis; balanced and healthy cholesterol; increased metabolism; and even prevention against prostate cancer. Of course, poblanos mildness does means it has less capsaicinoids than the aforementioned cayenne or even a jalapeño, but it is worth noting.  And, like most veggies, all peppers are low in fat and cholesterol, high in fiber, and contain free radical-fighting antioxidants — a great addition to any diet!

We’ve posted a few recipes on the blog that feature poblanos; Summertime Chili, Creamed Sweet Corn with Poblanos, and Stuffed Poblanos with Mexican-style Quinoa. The recipe below uses two superfoods, edamame and quinoa, as well as flavorful basil and tomatillos, making it not only a nutritious, but delicious dish.

References and recommended links:

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh edamame, pods removed from branches
1 cup quinoa
1 tbs grapeseed oil
4-5 tomatillos, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tbs chopped fresh basil, chopped
2 cups No-chicken Broth

Method:
Heat enough water to cover edamame pods and bring to a boil. Add edamame and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or pot (a dutch over works great). Add onions and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, tomatillos, and jalapeño and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa, basil, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer 10-15 minutes, until quinoa is cooked through.

Shell edamame and put beans aside.

Remove quinoa from heat, stir in edamame and let sit for 5 minutes. Salt to taste.

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

Kohlrabi before & afterKohrabi is a member of the Brassica oleracea, or cabbage, family.  Hugely popular centuries ago, kohlrabi has made a resurgence over the past several years, increasing in availability, thanks to its easy-to-grow nature.  As with most veggies, kohlrabi is low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, is high in fiber, and is super versatile. It’s a good source of thiamin, folate, magnesium, and phosphorus, and a very good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, copper and manganese.

Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked.  Its mild taste (much more modest than it’s broccoli and cabbage family members) makes it a great ingredient for slaw and salad recipes.  It’s also a very popular ingredient in Indian cooking, where it becomes tender and takes on the many exotic flavors of Indian spices.  You can click here for a raw Kohlrabi and Turnip Slaw recipe from Blooming Glen, and read below for a cooked Kohlrabi Dal with Aromatic Rice recipe.

Want to know more about kohlrabi? Here are some recommended links:

Kohlrabi Dal & Aromatic Rice

Kohlrabi Dal with Aromatic Rice

Ingredients
1 cup brown basmati or brown jasmine rice

1 kohlrabi (about 2 cups), plus greens, diced or chopped
2 cups red lentils
2 tsp tumeric, divided

1 modest splash grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large onion (about 2 cups), chopped
1 large tomato (about 2 cups), diced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon salt

chopped cilantro, optional
shredded coconut, optional

Method
Prepare rice as directed on package.

Combine kohlrabi, lentils, and half the turmeric with 3 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the lentils (dal) is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Salt to taste and set aside.

While the kohlrabi and dal are cooking, heat oil in a deep skillet. Add garlic, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, add the onion and remaining turmeric and sauté until onions start to soften, about 2-3 minutes (add a little water, if needed).  Add the tomato, mix well, and cook until tender. Stir in the kohrabi-dal mixture, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and garam masala powder, and cook until flavors mix, about 5-10 minutes. Add salt, stir well, and adjust to taste.

Divide kohlrabi dal and rice into 6 servings, top with chopped cilantro leaves and/or shredded coconut.

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

Orangey Sweet & Sour CabbageCabbage is probably one of the most abused vegetables in town. On St. Patrick’s Day, it’s appearance is first upstaged by the potato, and then its nutrition is slow-cooked to near depletion. In picnic season, it’s coated with fatty oils, dressings and cream sauces. Probably worst of all, it’s reputation seems to be forever tarnished, thanks to the tiresome cabbage soup fad diet.

But, the cabbage deserves so much more than this! It’s anti-inflammatory properties are stellar, thanks to the high content of an amino acid called glutamine. In addition to promoting the digestive process and intestinal health, glutamine has been shown to be useful in all sorts of treatments including burns and peptic ulcers. Because cabbage is a member of the cruciferous family, it’s also a great cancer-fighting food. Cruciferous veggies are high in indole-3-carbinol, a chemical shown to block the growth of cancer cells, as well as stimulate DNA repair in cells. Finally, a look at cabbage’s nutritional profile shows it as an excellent source of vitamins K and C, a very good source of fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6 potassium and omega-3 fatty acids, and a good source of thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and protein.

Clearly, cabbage deserves to shine in all of our diets.  To get the most nutrition, be sure to eat it raw or fast-cooked. Cabbage is delicious steamed and splashed with balsamic vinegar, fits well into just about any stirfry, and makes a perfect wrap:

Orangey Sweet & Sour CabbageOrange Sweet & Sour Cabbage Wraps

Steam 12-15 large cabbage leaves until just tender, about 4 minutes, and set aside.

Combine sauce ingredients and set aside:
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup tamari
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup agave
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne
zest from 1/2 orange

Heat 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups seitan*, chopped small, and cook until crispy (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. *Use crumbled tempeh for a gluten-free version, or if seitan is not available.

Reduce heat to low-medium, stir in 1 1/2 cup bell peppers, chopped small, 1 1/2 cup onion, chopped small and 4 cups cabbage, thinly shredded and cook until tender, but still crisp (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally; if mixture is sticking to pan, add a little water.

Reduce heat to low, stir in 3 cups cooked brown rice and half of the sauce, mix well and allow to thicken. Add sauce until the filling reaches your desired consistency. Remove filling from heat, scoop onto cabbage leaves and wrap ’em up!

Serve these immediately, two to three as a main dish or one as a side.  Options: Substitute peppers and rice for any veggies that are in season and grains that are on-hand.  Increase cayenne if you want to turn up the heat.  Substitute pineapple juice for orange juice and eliminate the orange zest if you want a more neutral sweet-and-sour flavor.

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

Warm Curried Millet Salad with Delicata SquashDon’t let delicata squash’s small size fool you! Each pint-sized veggie boasts loads of nutrition. Low in calories, carbs and fat, high in Vitamins A and C and containing both minerals calcium and iron, delicata is a health-promoting addition to anyone’s diet.

Appropriately named for it’s delicate weight and size, delicata is considered a winter squash, making an appearance in the cooler weather.  However, delicata is actually a member of the summer squash family, which includes gold and green zucchini, pattypan, and yellow crookneck varieties.  This is a great point to keep in mind when preparing delicata, as it cooks up more like its summer cousins; preparation and cook time is quick and the skin is also eaten.

Lucky for us, extra delicata with just a slight soft spot was for the taking on the Blooming Glen Farm sharing table this week. If you, like me, took advantage of the gift, you’ll be able to put to use the tasty recipe below. In this warm dish, delicata’s sweet potato flavor and beneficial nutrition is highlighted against the super-grain, millet.

Warm Curried Millet Salad with Delicata Squash

Warm Curried Millet Salad with Delicata Squash
Heat oven to 425-degrees. Slice two small delicata squash in half lengthwise and spoon out seeds. Slice halves lengthwise again and place in a single layer, flesh side up, on a cookie sheet. Lightly spray with grapeseed oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and edges begin to brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.  Note: Careful not to eat all these up before you can get them into the salad 😉

In a large pot, boil 3 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups of millet. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook until done, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup lemon juice, 3 tablespoons curry powder, 2 tablespoons tamari and 1 tablespoon ginger powder or freshly minced ginger.

A few minutes before the squash and millet are done, sauté 2 cups of thinly shredded or chopped Swiss chard and 1/4 cup chopped onion.

Dice squash and add to millet along with chard-onion mixture and 1/4 cup raisins. Combine ingredients while stirring in sauce. Serve hot.

This makes a satisfying main dish; try serving with grilled veggies, curried tofu or a bit of curried chicken.  As a side, a smaller portion goes great with a couple slices of smoky grilled tempeh and steamed broccoli.

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

Swimming in poblanos? Try these little poblano boats to deliciously deliver one of nature’s greatest superfoods, quinoa, to your awaiting taste buds and belly! Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) easily incorporates the seasonings and spices with which it’s cooked without losing its own taste and texture, making it a great companion to the robustly flavorful poblano.

Poblanos & Quinoa

Technically a seed, though often grouped with whole grains, quinoa is tightly packed with essential micronutrients magnesium and mangnese and delivers a healthy dose of fiber. Quinoa also contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a source of complete protein — in fact, it’s considered to have the most complete amino acid profile of all grains.  Start reaping quinoa’s benefits today with the stuffed pepper recipe below.  Two or three pepper halves work as a main course, or serve just one as an appetizer or side.

Stuffed Peppers: Poblanos & Mexican-style Quinoa

BPoblanos & Quinoaoil 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup your favorite quinoa (a mix of red and yellow is pictured), cover pot and lower to a simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 12 minutes.

Slice 3-4 poblano peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds.  Steam pepper halves in a steamer basket until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Set aside on a plate.

In small a frying pan, sauté until just soft (about 5 minutes):
1/4 onion
1/4 cup sweet frying peppers
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Stir in 1/2 cup cooked black beans and 1/4 cup chopped tomato and heat through.  Keep mixture warm until quinoa is done cooking.

Combine quinoa and vegetable-bean mixture, stirring well. Stuff pepper halves with mix, and enjoy hot or at room temperature. Serve with salsa, guacamole or avocado, cheese, sour cream, cilantro and/or lime wedges.

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