Grilled Mixed Vegetables

vegetables

You can use any vegetables in this recipe, they will all taste great. When you are making a vegetable dish like this one, think of "eating the rainbow". Vegetables with different colours have different ingredients and health benefits. Read on to find out the benefits of the rainbow!

3  red bell peppers, seeded and halved
3 yellow squash (about 1 pound total)
3  zucchini (about 12 ounces total)
3 Japanese  eggplant (12 ounces total)
12 mushrooms
1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed
2 red onions

1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2  garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh  Italian parsley leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh  basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Prepare the BBQ (medium-high heat) and brush the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Working in batches, grill the vegetables until they are tender:

-8 to 10 mins: bell pepper and red onions
- 7 mins: yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms
- 4 mins: asparagus and tomatoes

Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Add the salt and pepper to taste. 
Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Serve the vegetables warm, or at room temperature. 

Blue/Purple
Behind the color: The blue/purple hues in foods are due primarily to their anthocyanin content, the darker the colour the higher the concentration of phytochemicals.  Anthocyanins are antioxidants that are particularly heart healthy and may help support healthy blood pressure and brain function.
Examples: Eggplant (especially the skin), blueberries, blackberries, prunes, plums, pomegranates

Green
Behind the color: The natural plant pigment chlorophyll colors green fruits and vegetables. In our system, the green foods represented those foods rich in isothiocyanates, which induce enzymes in the liver that assist the body in removing potentially carcinogenic compounds. Green vegetables are high in Vitamin K and potassium - important for lowering blood pressure and preventing clot formation. Leafy greens are also a great choice for pregnant women because they are high in folic acid, which has been proven to prevent neural tube defects in newborns. Examples: Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts

Yellow/Orange
Behind the color: These foods are high in lutein. Lutein is particularly beneficial for eye health, and helps protect against age-related macular degeneration. Orange foods are rich in Beta-Carotene which is beneficial for vision and boosting your immune system. Yellow vegetables are also high in Vitamin C, important for boosting your immune system and preventing colds and flus!
Examples: Avocado, Examples: Carrots, mangos, cantaloupe, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apricots

Red
Behind the color: Lycopene is the predominant pigment in reddish fruits and veggies. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer, and protection against heart attacks. Look for tomato-based products for the most concentrated source of this phytochemical. Cooking actually enhances the activity of lycopene, so feel free to make  your tomato sauce from scratch

In addition to vitamin C and folate, red fruits and vegetables are also sources of flavonoids, which reduce inflammation and have antioxidant properties. Cranberries, another red fruit (whose color is due to anthocyanins, not lycopene), are also a good source of tannins, which prevent bacteria from attaching to cells and can prevent urinary tract infections. 
Examples: Tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, cranberries

White
There are still benefits in fruits and vegetables that don't have any colour. The largest class of phytochemicals are the flavonoids which are often colourless. These are powerful anti-oxidants that help the body to counter free radicals, thereby preventing damage to cells and tissues. 
Examples: garlic, cauliflower, ginger, parsnips, white peaches/nectarines

 

Sweet Potato Fries

These are a favourite around our house, and they provide healthy carbohydrates while still maintaining stable blood sugar levels. Processed carbohydrates cause a spike and subsequent crash in your blood sugar levels, which encourages the body to store excess fat and can wreak havoc on our hormones and our emotions. Choose slow releasing carbohydrates instead, like root vegetables and quinoa. 

1 large sweet potato, cut into long pieces
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, ensuring that the sweet potatoes are well coated
  3. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes feel soft and can be easily pierced with a fork
  4. When they are well cooked, broil on high for 1 minute to make them crispy!

Crispy Broccoli

Before there was kale and goji berries, broccoli was the super food. And with good reason! Broccoli is loaded with antioxidants, and high in folic acid which is important for pregnant women as it prevents certain birth defects. One serving of broccoli contains almost the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk, and with a lot more health benefits! Broccoli also contains a substance, indole-3-carbinole, helps boost estrogen metabolism and can be important for preventing estrogen-dependent cancers. 

Ground flaxseed is a good vegetarian source of omega 3 anti-inflammatory fats, and provides a great source of fiber. Combined with broccoli, it has a potent effect on decreasing harmful forms of estrogen in the body. Flaxseed needs to be ground in order for you to absorb it, so grind it fresh before using it, or buy ground flaxseed and store it in the freezer to keep it fresh.

1 head of broccoli
2 tbsp (30mL) ground flaxseed
2 tbsp (30mL) sesame seeds
3 tbsp (45mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp (2mL) sea salt
1/2 tsp (2mL) freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 500F (260C)
  2. Cut broccoli into small florets and soak in a bowl of water for 5 minutes
  3. Drain the water from the bowl and add in all the other ingredients
  4. Place mixture on baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. 

Mango Quinoa Salad

This is a great summer salad to bring to a picnic or enjoy at home.  Mango is naturally sweet while the jalapeño balances the sweetness with a bit of spice! 

Quinoa is a complete vegetable protein - meaning that it contains all essential amino acids. It is also high in fiber so it stabilizes your blood sugar and keeps you feeling full throughout the day. Parsley and cilantro are fresh herbs that help in the detoxification processes in your body, by binding to any heavy metals and promoting their excretion.  

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1 mango , peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 jalapeno chili , seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 ripe tomato , chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro sprigs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley sprigs, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt , plus more to taste

 

1. Rinse quinoa before use to get rid of naturally occurring saponins, which can make quinoa hard to digest. 

2. Bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 15-20 minutes). Fluff with a fork.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add garlic, mango and jalapeño. Sauté until mango begins to color, about 1 minute.

4. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, couscous, raisins, tomato, lime juice, cilantro and parsley and toss to heat through, about 1 minute. Season with salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

Curry Cauliflower Rice

Roasted-Cauliflower-Rice-1.jpg

This is possibly one of my favourite low-carb substitutions from the Paleo Diet (well maybe tied with bulletproof coffee). The cauliflower replaces rice or any other grain you would use for fewer calories, fewer carbohydrates but definitely more flavour. It's so easy and I promise you may never make rice again. 

1 head cauliflower
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp ginger ground
Pinch of salt (to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 425F

2. Chop up your cauliflower into small florets and place in a food processor, try to avoid using the stems. Pulse until the cauliflower has reached a rice-like consistency. If you don't have a food processor, you can also use a cheese grater, or just chop finely by hand, although it takes longer. 

3. Place cauliflower on a baking sheet, and toss in olive oil and spices. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cauliflower has brown spots. 

4. Serve with your favourite curry!

Kale Salad

Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods available. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and even contains 3g of protein per serving! Kale acts to lower cholesterol levels, fight cancer-causing free radicals, maintain healthy vision and even helps to normalize hormone levels. There is a reason kale has become such a popular super food!

Kale can be used as a base for any salads, but to make it more digestible and ensure adequate absorption of the high dose of fat soluble vitamins, it is important to massage kale beforehand. It also makes your kale salad a beautiful bright green! This salad couldn't be more simple and you can make a big batch to enjoy for leftovers.

Salad Base:
4 cups (1L) kale - remove the stalks and save them to add in your smoothies, cut the leaves into small pieces
2tbsp (30mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp (15mL) fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1tsp (5mL) sea salt
Pinch of ground cayenne for a bit of spice (optional!)

Mix/Match Toppings:
Diced mango
Avocado
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Toasted almond slices
Dates - cut into thin slices
Dried cranberries or cherries for a more tart flavour
Finely sliced red onion (soak in water beforehand to eliminate the sharp raw onion taste)
Grated carrots
Grated parmesan cheese
....experiment with your favourite salad toppings!

  1. Place kale in a large bowl
  2. In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon or vinegar, salt and cumin. 
  3. Pour dressing over kale, and massage kale with your hands for about 1 to 2 minutes
  4. Finish with your favourite toppings