NUTRISPEAK by Vesanto Melina
Are you planning any festive gatherings that will include food? Beyond the traditional fare, do you wonder how to nourish the range of dietary choices among your circle of friends and family? Does your group include vegetarians, vegans, raw foods enthusiasts or someone whose health concerns require that they eat healthier food instead of just loading up on cholesterol, fat and sugar?
Here are a few tips along with two vegan, cholesterol-free, no-sugar-added recipes that are suitable for many people with food sensitivities (apart from nuts). The delicious cookies are entirely raw.
When you serve appetizers at events, include one or more packages of the seasoned types of hummus that are widely available in supermarket coolers. These protein-rich dips help many vegetarians fare well at festive events; they can be served with raw veggies, crackers and slices of fresh bread.
Vesanto Melina is a BC-registered dietitian and co-author of the following nutrition classics: Becoming Vegan, the Food Allergy Survival Guide andRaising Vegetarian Children.
Here are two vegan, cholesterol-free, no-sugar-added recipes that are suitable for many people with food sensitivities (apart from nuts). The delicious cookies are entirely raw.
Cashew and Vegetable Stir Fry
From Becoming Vegetarian by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis (Wiley Canada, 2003).
For this stir fry, we suggested specific vegetables, however, you can try others such as asparagus, cauliflower, Chinese greens, daikon radish, mung bean sprouts and mushrooms. For appealing textures in a stir fry, add the denser vegetables at the beginning for longer cooking. Add the more leafy vegetables at the end. Chinese or Thai chili garlic sauces (available at Oriental stores and many supermarkets) can be hot, so use more or less, as you prefer. Makes 4 cups (two servings). Recipe can be doubled.
2 tbsp cashew butter or peanut butter
1-2 tbsp Chinese, Thai or other chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp tamari, Bragg Liquid Soy or soy sauce
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup or more cashews 1 large red or white onion, sliced
2 tsp olive oil 1 large carrot, sliced diagonally
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup bok choy or Chinese cabbage, chopped
1 cup snow pea pods
In small bowl, stir together cashew butter, chili garlic sauce, tamari and water to make a smooth paste. In a preheated hot wok or pan, cook onion in oil over high heat for 3 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add carrot and cook for 1 minute; add broccoli and cook for another 30 seconds; then add red pepper, bok choy and snow peas, cooking just long enough to heat through. Add sauce, stir to combine, sprinkle with cashews and serve over brown rice.
From The Raw Food Revolution Diet by Cherie Soria, Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (Book Publishing Company, 2008).
Sweet Nut’ins are a perfect holiday cookie for all ages. Soaking improves the mouth feel and mineral availability of nuts. For dried fruit, use chopped, pitted dates or try any combination of dates, dried apricots, blueberries, cranberries, cherries and figs (with stems removed).
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
2 cups almonds, soaked for 8 hours, rinsed and drained
1 cup walnuts, soaked for 8 hours, rinsed and drained
3 cups dried fruit
1 tsp almond extract or 2 tsp orange zest (minced orange peel)
In a food processor outfitted with the “S” blade, grind the almonds and walnuts until coarsely chopped. Add the dried fruit and almond extract or zest; process until ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Using a tablespoon, form small balls and flatten these with your hand, making cookies about 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches in diameter. Enjoy these soft, chewy cookies immediately or store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Variation: If you have a dehydrator, you can place the formed cookies on a tray lined with a non-stick sheet and dehydrate the cookies at 105 degrees F/40 C for 12 to 24 hours, depending on how crunchy you want them. These healthy treats make excellent gifts that can be safely mailed. They also freeze well.