Sometimes it blows my mind that I talk about eating vegetables (especially green ones) so much because, as my mother can attest to, I grew up hating, hating vegetables! I blame my supertaster status to a lot of my discomfort in eating vegetables. A supertaster is a person who is more sensitive to bitter flavors including cruciferous vegetables, alcohol, coffee, etc. It’s a real “condition” and it’s more common in women; I originally learned about it in one of my nutrition courses. (By the way, if you think you have kids who might be supertasters, feeding them green smoothies like my Collard Green Smoothie is a delicious way to get them to eat greens. Another way would be to serve cruciferous greens like broccoli with an accompanying dip to mask the flavor…see below for suggestions).
How sad that I missed out on the nutritional benefits of green vegetables for so long given that they are the healthiest foods on the planet (check out Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Pyramid here). Oh well, I am making up for it now! I’ve noticed that collard greens are fairly inexpensive, too, they sell for $2 a bunch at my farmers’ market. I washed up three bunches of them last night to use in various dishes over the next few days:
I mixed in a bunch of dandelion greens in one of the bowls, too. Talk about bitter, dandelion greens are pretty up there right along with watercress. So what’s the secret in counter-acting the bitterness in green vegetables? It is adding an acid like lemon juice or vinegar. I blend either or both of these with nuts to make a cream-based sauce that I pour over my vegetables and it literally is a meal on its own.
It is unfortunate that a high-speed blender is necessary to turn most nuts into creams, but that’s just the way it is. As you know, I use a Vitamix, but I’ve heard that Blend-Tec is also a great product. Does anyone have any suggestions for other, less expensive high-speed blenders? The Vitamix and Blend-Tecs are about $350-400 a pop, but my opinion is that it’s a good investment if you can swing it (there are refurbished models available too on the company websites that are fully guaranteed).
Last night I decided to use sesame seeds and cashews to make a Creamy Tahini Dressing. I also used two fresh lemons that my friend Ginny gave me last weekend:
I also added some cashews to add creaminess and vinegar to add even more tartness. The sauce turned out pretty awesome:
Here’s the recipe:
Creamy Tahini Dressing – Makes 6-8 Servings
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup unsalted, raw cashews
2 lemons, skin cut off
1/2 cup of white balsamic vinegar (or your choice of vinegar)
2 garlic cloves or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon curry powder (optional)
Blend ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Pour in additional vinegar if necessary to blend. Keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I used the collard and dandelion greens I had washed and added them to some mushrooms, onions, chickpeas and tomato sauce I had water-sauteed:
The greens wilt down so don’t be afraid to fill the pot to the top!
Less than five minutes later:
My bowl of green goodness with the cream sauce and some raw onions chopped on top:
I would never, ever in the past have eaten a bowl of cooked greens like this, but the nut-based cream sauce makes it enjoyable and delicious. I love being healthy and all, but I wouldn’t be as happy as I am if I weren’t eating delectable food every day. Life is too short not to enjoy your food. The good news is that healthy food can taste as great as non-healthy food.
Here are a few of my other nut-based cream sauces that help me enjoy eating my former nemesis…vegetables!
My Tangy Cashew Sauce (recipe is here) is similar yet different than the Creamy Tahini Sauce. I encourage you to try both and see which one you like better. The tahini sauce packs a calcium-punch because of the sesame seeds, so it’s a nice alternative to just using cashews.
My all-time favorite sauce to use on veggies is my Peanut-Butter Based Sauce.
I talked about it in this post, but I never posted the printable recipe. This sauce is so easy to make, you can just mix it in a bowl! Here goes:
Sweet & Savory Peanut Butter Sauce – Makes 4 Servings
1/2 cup organic, unsalted peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
about 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or enough to thin out sauce
2 garlic cloves, grated (optional)
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated (optional)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Let peanut butter sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to make it easier to stir. Then, add additional ingredients and use a spoon or whisk to mix together. If serving this sauce to kids or picky-eaters, leave out the red pepper flakes and ginger.
Have a happy Friday and let me know if you have any sauces you like to serve on vegetables, I’d love to hear them. Also, I’m trying my darndest to build up my Facebook page numbers. I would love for you to “like” my page and share it with your friends! The link is here. See you tomorrow for my Weekly Wrap-up and (possibly) a new healthy, dessert recipe.