Vegetables from A to Z
By Hannah Marcotti
I’m not going to write about iceberg (oddly enough), but rather making the smartest nutritional choices at each meal. Iceberg is fine and crispy and quite yummy on a taco. The variety of lettuces and dark greens that are available in stores and markets today that pack a nutritional punch make it hard to take iceberg seriously.
My husband and I used to put iceberg on our tacos, then we moved to romaine, then spinach and now it’s kale. We’ve reached the nutritional peak for garnishing a taco with shredded greens. Adding dark greens gives you minerals, fiber and fat soluble vitamins, and all of it can be on top of a simple taco. I call dark greens my instant energy and add parsley to a smoothie with frozen pineapple, ginger, orange and coconut milk.
Other ways to swap out mundane for awesome, are to think of side dishes that you can jazz up. Roasted root vegetables or roasted red potatoes smothered in garlic and herbs, instead of fries along side a burger makes for a great dinner. Scramble some eggs and serve along side the leftover vegetables in the morning. Use cut up vegetables instead of chips or crackers with dips. Add dark greens to sautÃ©ed vegetables in the last few minutes of cooking. So many options, luckily so many meals!!!
The recipe I wrote was inspired by two things, the scallops I had waiting to be used and the seafood alfredo Patrick and I had on our wedding night. The alfredo probably had no nutritional value but was out of control tasty, so I decided to jazz it up with nutrition while staying away from heavy cream. Oh, the iceberg? It makes a great bowl for holding a dip!
Red Pepper Ricotta Dip or Sauce
1 red pepper, diced and sautÃ©ed lightly in olive oil
2 scallions, chopped
Â¼ cup parsley
2 garlic cloves, diced
Â½ cup walnuts
2 dates, chopped
1 15oz container of ricotta cheese
Â½ tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Puree the sautÃ©ed pepper, scallions, parsley, garlic, walnuts and dates in the food processor until smooth. Add ricotta and salt and pepper to taste. This makes a wonderful dip or sauce. We added it to scallops, served it over pasta with more fresh parsley and Romano cheese, and brought it to a potluck full of willing recipe testers.
Hannah Marcotti is a Holistic Health Counselor who helps women achieve and maintain their ideal weight, find more energy for their lives, figure out the food that works for their body type and ease family meal time chaos! For more health tips and recipes sign up for her free e-newsletter atÂ Hannah’s Harvest, (www.hannahsharvest.com). To find additional recipes and stories of life with three children visit her blog, Hannah’s Harvest Thoughts. (www.hannahs-harvest.blogspot.com).