To many of us, there’s nothing better than a meal of fresh, out of the garden vegetables. While vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet, many of those of us who grew up in the South ate our fresh vegetables breaded in cornmeal and/or flour and fried without even thinking about the health issues this could cause. Humble Warrior would like to share with you some other, healthier ways to enjoy your fresh summer vegetables. Here are six other ways to prepare fresh vegetables this summer—boiling, steaming, blanching, roasting, stir-frying, and griddling. We recommend you give them a try.
Here is more detailed information about each method:
Cut up the vegetables into same size pieces and place them in as little salted water as possible and avoid overcooking so all the vitamins and flavor are retained. Place lid on saucepan, bring salted water to a boil as quickly as possible, reduce heat and simmer gently until tender when tested with a skewer, point of a knife or fork. Always simmer vegetables as vigorous boiling will cause some vegetables to break up. Cooking times will depend on the size and density of the vegetable: 3-5 minutes for leafy vegetables, E.g., bok choy, cabbage, kale, spinach. 8-10 minutes for firmer vegetables, E.g., broccoli, beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, leeks, peas, sweet corn. 12-15 minutes for harder vegetables, E.g., carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, turnips, yams. 18-20 minutes for starchy vegetables, E.g., kumara, potato.
Steamed veggies are cooked briefly and then removed from the heat. During steaming, the heat of the steam cooks the veggies, and they are spared from the boiling water. The goal of steaming is to cook the vegetables until they are no longer raw but are still bright and crisp. If you don’t have a steamer, you can wrap the vegetables in baking parchment or foil then cook in the oven at 350° for 20 minutes until tender, or on the stove, you can fill a medium pot with 1/2 inch of water, place three golf ball–sized balls of aluminum foil on the bottom, rest a heat-proof plate on top of the foil balls, cover the pot, and bring the water to a boil. Add vegetables to the plate, cover, and steam until crisp-tender.
A technique used to soften vegetables, either to remove their raw edge before adding to salads or to loosen skins on foods such as tomatoes or shallots. Vegetables should also be blanched before they are frozen to destroy the enzymes that cause deterioration. Just add vegetables to a pan of boiling water, return to the boil and cook for one minute. Then plunge the vegetables into iced water to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper before using or freezing.
Potatoes, root vegetables, squashes and tomatoes all taste wonderful roasted. Roasting intensifies flavors and causes natural sugars to caramelize, creating a crisp outer coating and a tender center. Cut large vegetables into even-sized chunks and toss in oil and fresh herbs, if you wish. Use enough oil to give the vegetables a slick, glossy coating—a tablespoon or two will usually get the job done. The oil helps the vegetables cook more evenly and crisp up in the oven and adds a rich flavor that makes roasted vegetables irresistible. Use a mild oil when roasting vegetables. Tossing the vegetables with your hands allows you to rub the oil into the vegetables and make sure they’re evenly coated. Preheat the oven to 420°. Roast until the vegetables are tender enough to pierce with a fork and you see some charred bits on the edges.
Uses very little oil and cooks vegetables quickly, so they keep their texture and taste. Cut the vegetables into small, even-sized pieces, add a little oil to a preheated wok or frying pan and heat until just smoking. Start with the vegetables that need the longest cooking and keep stirring as they cook. Don't overfill the pan, as they will steam rather than fry - cook in batches instead. If you are adding a sauce, do so at the very end, then toss to coat and serve immediately.
Also called barbecuing, is a direct heat cooking method, which produces vegetables with a crisp coating and a tender center. For the best results, make sure your barbecue or griddle pan is hot before you start. Slice the vegetables so they sit flat in the pan, then brush with a little oil. Avoid pricking them while they are cooking, as this will release their juices and dry them out. To get the chargrilled stripe effect, don't move them as they cook - just turn them once.
And now that you know other ways to prepare your vegetables, add some variety to your summer recipes. Feel free to add whatever spices you choose and most of all, share your favorites and your not so favorites on our Humble Warrior Facebook page. Bon Appetit!
In recognition of Earth Day, each Humble Warrior Alumni received a surprise package of organic non-GMO vegetable seeds and an invitation to “Grow With Us!” in the mail. Who doesn’t love getting real mail? Soon tomatoes, onions, squashes, carrots, beans, sugar peas, bell and hot peppers will be sprouting all over the US. Our veterans will grow food that feeds the body, mind, and spirit. We hope you join us, too!
When we are closer to our food source, we have the opportunity to eat healthier. Gardening combines seeds, soil, water, and sun for fun, health, and enhanced wellness. Whether you have a large garden, pots on the patio, or do-it-yourself windowsill containers, you can reap some of the many benefits of growing your own food.
The AARP organization shares that exposure to Vitamin D “increases your calcium levels, which benefits your bones and immune system.” Once you try gardening, you may find out for yourself some of these wonderful benefits:
Humble Warrior would like to share a special THANK YOU to Cofer’s Nurseries & Gardening of Athens, GA for the generous seed donation and a community couple for covering the postage. If you’d like to make a donation or volunteer to Humble Warrior, please visit our website.
We hear this all the time whether speaking about eco-friendly cleaning products or healthy food. We are going to focus on healthy food greens. For a nutrient-dense boost, consider adding microgreens to your meals or favorite smoothie. Microgreens are small but mighty!
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are vegetables (aka “greens”) harvested after the cotyledon leaves have developed. They are nutritionally dense and can be used as a nutrition or supplement enhancement or visual enhancement on your plate or in a planter. So, what are cotyledon leaves? The easiest explanation is that they are the first leaves to appear from a seed.
Research from the Department of Nutrition and Food Science (NFSC), discovered that “microgreens contained four to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts.” The NFSC found nutrients like Vitamin C, E, K, and Beta Carotene in 25 different types of microgreens including cilantro, celery, red cabbage, green basil, and arugula.
Our favorite whole food plant based enthusiast and doctor is Dr. Michael Greger, author of “How Not to Die”. He delves into the benefits of eating broccoli sprouts (which are microgreens), which have a radish-like taste and may improve survival rates of bladder cancer patients, help to protect sun damage to skin, and more. Visit www.nutritionfacts.org click on topics and broccoli for details.
Salads, smoothies, pasta, and more! There are so many ways to sneak a handful of microgreens into your diet. In some recipes you might not even taste them, but your body will know the difference by the numerous benefits they provide! Check out this compilation of microgreen recipes by GroCycle to get started with some delicious ideas!
Grow Your Own Microgreens
You can grow and harvest your very own microgreens at home! Check out some of these resources for how to get started and get growing.
You can visit your local grocer, farmers’ market, or try growing your microgreens in your house. So, go beyond thinking green...and explore eating mighty microgreens!
Try this super simple, belly-satisfying, potato recipe from Wisconsin Public Television's Jazzy Vegetarian! With only four ingredients, it's truly simple to make and delicious to eat!
You can choose either Fingerling or Red Potatoes. Fingerling Potatoes aren't just cute little potateos. They grow small and narrow, come in a variety of colors, have a nutty taste, and are an excellent source of Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6). According to the USDA Food Database, Red Potatoes are the healthiest potato based on mineral and vitamin density, macronutrient balance, sugar-to-fiber and sodium-to-potassium ratios, and the phytochemical profile.
What do you do with all those fresh or frozen berries? Make your own jam that’s healthy and more affordable than store bought jam! We turn to our favorite plant-based cookbook the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon for a sweet treat that can top a bagel, toast, or even ice cream.
Tip: Angela recommends mixing strawberries in a food processor until smooth since they do not break down as quickly as other berries.
Halloween has passed, but pumpkins are plentiful! We decorate our Thanksgiving Day tables and doorways with them throughout autumn.
Before you throw away the gooey, icky, seedy guts, or compost your table decorations, consider eating the pumpkin and seeds! Pumpkin is a seed-bearing fruit that is highly nutritious and considered a superfood--power packed with nutrients. However, pumpkin-based junk food, like candy and lattes, may be loaded with sugar. After baking, steaming, or roasting, add a little pumpkin puree to a smoothie, oatmeal, or make soup, muffins, or a pie.
Let’s take a look at this superfood...
Check out this article by "Trash is For Tossers" to learn the importance of "upcycling" your pumpkins! Pumpkins release methane gas when they are thrown away which contributes to the climate crisis. Instead, check out the recipes on how to use those pumpkins for nutritional and delicious benefits!
Where do you get your protein? This is the most frequently asked question when following a plant-based diet. The answer is “from plants!” Lentil Quinoa Tacos pack a powerful protein punch and we hope you try them. This tasty recipe was found on Dr. Greger’s www.nutritionfacts.org site from Erin Stanczyk - Eat Move Rest. Feel free to stuff your tacos with your favorite veggies and spices to tailor for your taste buds and family’s peculiarities...ENJOY!
1. Rinse and drain quinoa and lentils and cook each separately with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium/low until water is absorbed and grains are cooked.
2. Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic with a bit of pepper and a splash of water in a pan until soft, fragrant and slightly translucent.
3. When green lentils are cooked, place in a strainer and rinse under COLD water and then place in a food processor and pulse to achieve more of a “meaty” texture. *The cold rinse will help ensure that the lentils do not become over-processed.
4. Combine pulsed lentils, quinoa, sautéed onion and garlic, and seasoning mix, and stir until thoroughly combined.
5. Serve the dish up with optional fixings below. Makes enough for about 4-6 people.
With summer over and the kids back to school in some manner, here’s a fast and easy lunch that tastes good hot or cold...and it’s simple to make! This dish tastes great plain or on top of a green salad. One cup of cooked quinoa has about 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. It contains 222 calories, with 39 grams of carbs and only 4 grams of fat. Harvard University states that “unlike some plant proteins, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own. (Ref: hsph.harvard.edu). Hope you try it and post pictures on our Facebook page “Humble Warrior Wellness & Yoga.”