Sprouts taco dinner

I was in the mood for something quick after fighting 108º F weather and commuter traffic today in the blast furnace summertime of Dallas, so I went for something that looks great, tastes great, and is sure to boost my spirits to face another day just like this one tomorrow.

I harvested my lentil sprouts this morning, so they had been in the fridge all day, just chillin’.  Summertime is a great time for good-tasting tomatoes, when the taste hasn’t been compromised by refrigeration, and I can never turn away from a just-ripe avocado!

sprout tacosThere it was, simple, tasty, and inspiring with its color and fresh taste!

I had some organic corn tortillas that were very low in sodium and no oils, and I had some spicy tomato sauce left over from last week that was just enough to mix in with my sprouts.  I pulled three tortillas out of the storage bag, heated them for 20 seconds, covered with a paper plate, in the microwave oven.

To get my quota of cruciferous veggies for the day, I steamed some brussels sprouts and diced butternut squash I had prepared for steaming over the weekend.  This couldn’t have been any easier!  Faster than waiting in a drive-thru line at a greasy hamburger joint where I used to spend my money.

The result was a full stomach, nutritious perfection, and I was done with it all by 7 p.m.  Time to kick up my feet and watch some baseball!

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Cauliflower Tomato Purée

I found the best cauliflower I’d ever seen on a produce shelf this week at Sprouts and brought it home, intending to eat it raw in my salads this week, but I changed my mind after thinking about how great it would taste in a tomato-ey soup.  So, I went to Trader Joe’s and bought some nice looking Roma tomatoes and put together this ensemble for a very tasty, and quite filling, purée.

Cauliflower Tomato PureeIngredients

1 large organic cauliflower, cut in large pieces
8 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1 large red onion, diced
8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried adzuki beans (or other dry bean that is fast-cook type)
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red pepper
64 oz (2 boxes) of low sodium vegetable stock (I used Imagine brand)

Directions

Place all ingredients in large soup pot and bring to a boil for about five minutes.  Lower heat, and cover for one hour, until all ingredients are soft.  Let cool for about 30 minutes.  Carefully dip all ingredients into a blender and purée until entire soup has been blended.  Depending on the size of your blender, this may take three to five “loads.”  After all the soup has been blended, pour all together back into the single pot, and stir until the consistency is…well…consistent.

I divided this half-and-half into containers for the freezer and for three large servings for lunches this week.

Makes about two quarts.

Roasted mango and tomato stacks

Excited about my mangoes since getting my new peelers, I’ve been working on some main course uses that would not taste so much like a dessert.  This is a sweet dish, but it’s delightful, light, and perfect for hot days.  We are at 101 F today in Dallas.  Have mercy!

Roasted Mango and Tomato StackWe had this tonight for dinner, along with fresh sweet corn off the cob, romaine and arugula salad, with raw red cabbage slices, sliced avocado, and my new favorite homemade Fig Balsamic Salad Dressing.

Ingredients:

1 mango, peeled and halved (See video on how to do this, if you need help.)
1 large beef-steak tomato, divided into 4 slices
2 half-inch thick fresh pineapple rings, cored
10-12 fresh blueberries
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw cashews, rough chopped
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

In a blade coffee grinder, grind cashews, sunflower seeds, grated nutmeg and cinnamon together, set aside.  Cut mango halves so that the round side is flat enough to sit on the roasting rack as the base.  Assemble the ingredients in this order, bottom to top: mango half, one tomato slice, 1/4 of the seed and spice mix on each half, pineapple slice, tomato slice, the remaining seed and spice mix on each half, and 5 or 6 blueberries on each stack.  Set each stack carefully on the roasting rack and roast for 60-70 minutes in 375 degree oven.

Makes two large servings

Rich Tomato and Tofu Salad Dressing

This one is flavor-filled, slightly tangy, and has a beautiful color!

Rich Tomato and Tofu Salad DressingTurmeric and black pepper

With this dressing I bring back one of my favorite spices, turmeric, paired with black pepper to maximize the anti-inflammatory benefits of this deliciously pungent spice (see links below for more info on the nutritional value of turmeric and black pepper.).  Turmeric is also responsible for the orangey color!  Warning: If you’re a nail model, be careful using this spice without wearing gloves.  It could be a career-ender!  Also, be careful not to stain your countertop, your hands, and whatever else matters.  I guess it would be fine to let it touch carrots, huh?

Another tofu dressing

As the story goes, if you’ve read my other posts about salad dressings, I am on the Eat To Live nutritional program, and I am especially interested in the anti-inflammatory benefits of the plan due to my psoriasis and the psoriatic arthritis that had started to show its monstrous head a year or so after getting off-plan two years ago!  No doubt the plan helped me with this condition, and I should have known better than to leave it in the first place, especially since the food is all homemade and tastes so good.

Dr. Fuhrman’s mantra (Eat To Live) is “the salad is the main course!”  And, truthfully, without great salad dressings, many people are apt to give up on receiving the great health benefits available to them through Eat To Live, because the plan does not allow added oils or salts to the diet.  Further, ETL’ers have to search for salad dressings that do not have sodium or oils.  It’s so much easier, and far tastier, to make them at home.

Silken tofu is the perfect medium for creating creamy dressings similar in appearance and flavor to the ones I used to eat when I didn’t have a care in the world about my health.  In a blender, the tofu combines easily with other ingredients, and it can be kept for at least a week in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar, without losing any of its flavor.  (See my other tofu salad dressing recipes here.)

Other food uses

Like all of my homemade dressings, this one works great as a vegetable topping.  When I made this dressing, I was also roasting some plain slices of eggplant for use in another recipe, so when the eggplant was done, I nabbed a couple of slices off the roasting rack and put them in a saucer, covering them with the new dressing!  Finger-lickin’ good!

Of course, it’s great on a lettuce and tomato salad, just to stay with the salad dressing theme, right?

tomato3

Rich Tomato and Tofu Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

28 oz can of “no salt added” crushed tomatoes with basil
1 pkg silken tofu
1 level tbsp of turmeric powder (a little less would be fine, if you’re not sure you’ll enjoy it.  Turmeric is about as subtle as this guy!)
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 of roasted sweet bell pepper, sliced (I use yellow or orange ones to keep the color them going…and I like them better!)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 medium lemon
1/2 cup of your favorite vinegar (I used raw coconut vinegar I bought at Sprouts.)

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until the dressing is creamy in appearance, like this:

tomato2

The dressing recipe takes about 15 minutes to put together, once you have roasted the sweet bell pepper, and that can be done anytime you are roasting anything, just to have it handy for later.  It makes about 32 oz, if I can keep from tasting it a dozen times while I’m making it.

There you have it!  A perfect, rich dressing for a “no salt added” and “no oil added” diet!

Further reading:

Dr. Weil’s take on turmeric
Why Pepper Boosts Turmeric Blood Levels, Dr. Michael Greger
Turmeric and Black Pepper Fight Cancer Stem Cells, Anticancer: A New Way of Life