Wednesday, February 15, 2012

After my plant-based dinner, I have fallen in love with steamed broccoli!

You may be incredulous.  If you are, I understand.  We're talking about steamed broccoli here, with a dash of sea salt.  Doesn't sound very interesting, does it?

But for some reason, my taste buds started dancing a very merry jig as soon as I ate it!  The texture, the flavour, everything was so amazing-tasting that I literally said, "MMMM!" which surprised me!

But hey, I'm not about to say no to my taste buds--broccoli is VERY good for you! 

Did you know that broccoli is the most nutrient-dense of all vegetables? 


Health Benefits of Broccoli

Broccoli's noteworthy nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin A (mostly as beta-carotene), folic acid, calcium, and fiber. While the calcium content of one serving doesn't equal that of a glass of milk, broccoli is an important calcium source for those who don't consume dairy products. Calcium does more than build strong bones. Research shows that this mineral may play a role in the control of high blood pressure, and it may work to prevent colon cancer.

Beta-carotene and vitamin C are important antioxidants that have been linked to a reduced risk of numerous conditions, including cataracts, heart disease, and several cancers.

Broccoli is a fiber find. Not only is it a rich source, but half of its fiber is insoluble and half is soluble, helping to meet your needs for both types of fiber. But the story doesn't end with broccoli's rich array of nutrients. Broccoli provides a health bonus in the form of protective substances that may shield you from disease. Botanically, broccoli belongs to the cabbage family, collectively known as cruciferous vegetables.

Health organizations have singled out cruciferous vegetables as must-have foods, recommending we eat them several times a week. Why? They are linked to lower rates of cancer. Like all cruciferous vegetables, broccoli naturally contains two important phytochemicals -- indoles and isothiocyanates. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore isolated from broccoli an isothiocyanate, called sulforaphane, that increases the activity of a group of enzymes in our bodies that squelch cancer-causing agents.

Tasty, lots of nutrients, and may end up saving my life?  Well then--bring on the broccoli!!  You don't have to tell ME twice!
A couple of days ago, I made an all-plant dinner.  I've been neglecting the plants lately, and I know how important they are, even in the middle of winter, when the selection is less than ideal!  So how to get them in?  Think outside the box!

In my food processor, I put cooked green lentils, fresh parsley and coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, chili powder (fresh would be great too), onion, 3 whole garlic cloves, 2 tsp or so of good-quality olive oil, about 1 cup whole grain breadcrumbs, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Then, I formed them into rough patties, and baked on 350F for about 45 minutes, until they were firm and held together well.

Then, I steamed 1 small head of broccoli (so I'd have planned leftovers for lunch the next day), and enough asparagus to have for leftovers too.  I also threw in some whole raw almonds.  I often add nuts when steaming veggies, because they're totally tasty!

When the veggies were cooked, I sprinkled them with a tiny amount of sea salt, and voila!  Totally plant-based dinner!  And you know what?  It was DELISH!!  Hardly any work at all, and two entire meals, plus 3 more lentil patties in the freezer to use another time.  Nothing unhealthy in the least! 

When I had it for lunch the following day at work, I just heated up the container that I'd but everything together in, and it was just as delish as the day before.  I was worried that it wouldn't fill me up, after being at the gym, but it totally did, and it was very satisfying. 

All in all, I probably had 2 or 3 servings of veggies in that dinner, plus a serving of healthy fats from the almonds. 

It does a body good!