Category Archives: Recipes

Collard Green “Sushi” Rolls

Collard green sushi rollI’ve encountered a number of people who have told me that they don’t like sushi because they dislike the taste of seaweed (edible seaweed wraps are known as nori in Japanese). A desire to bring sushi to these individuals inspired me to develop a nori free option. I admit that these rolls do not have the same taste as ones made with nori. A warning as well is that the rolls will not hold together as well as rolls made with nori, so be careful when eating them. I have drizzled a bit of soy sauce over the rolls instead of dipping them to reduce the chance of the rolls unravelling. I personally find these collard green “sushi” rolls to be extremely delicious.

These rolls are also very healthy. Collard greens are a cruciferous vegetable, and cruciferous vegetables have a reputation of protecting individuals against cancer. Collard greens contain glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin, which are responsible for the cancer preventive properties of collard greens. One cup of collard greens also contains much more than your daily requirements of vitamin K, and is a very good source of vitamin A and folate.

Collard greens contain glucobrassicin which can be converted into indole-3-carbinol (I3C). I3C is both an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compound. Dietary I3C may help to prevent the development of estrogen dependent cancers such as breast, endometrial, and cervical cancers. I3C also provides nutritional support for liver detoxification and helps to support female reproductive health. It helps to regulate female hormones through the metabolism of estrogen in the liver, helping to maintain proper estrogen ratios.

Collard greens, unlike kale, have a very mild flavour. The broad, strong leaves are also ideal for wrapping items in. Collard green leaves make an excellent substitute for bread, adding both nutrition and a gluten free option for those that need it.

I’ve made these sushi rolls using brown rice because it is more nutritious. You’re welcome to make this recipe with sushi rice if that is your preference. To substitute brown rice for white, you need to make sure you use a short grain rice. Also mixing the rice vinegar in with the rice brings out the starches in the rice, causing it to bind together.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • Approximately a half bunch of collard green leaves
  • 2 avocados, cut into slices
  • 1 cucumber, cut into matchstick pieces (0.5cm width, which is approximately ¼ inch)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces
  • 3 green onions, cut into matchstick pieces
  • Horseradish root, shaved inner portion (amount to taste, optional)

Directions

1) Rinse rice well and bring to a boil with 2 cups water, then reduce heat to very low. Cover tightly and simmer until water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let rice stand, covered for 10 minutes.
2) Prepare your vegetables by cutting them into matchstick size pieces about 0.5cm (¼ inch or so) in width, and 6.5cm (2.5 inches) in length. The size doesn’t have to be perfect, it is more important to make your ingredients a consistent size so that one doesn’t bulge out or overpower. You can also add different vegetables to suit your taste and what you have available.
3) Transfer rice to a wide nonmetal bowl (wood, ceramic, or glass) and add the rice vinegar. Mix gently with a large spoon to combine. Cool rice, tossing occasionally, about 15 minutes.
4) Wash and destem the collard greens. Choose the largest leaves for making the rolls. Lay down the leaf and spread the rice over the middle of the leaf in a thin layer. Lay a few pieces of each ingredient down length-wise on the rice in the centre.
5) Use your thumb and forefinger to pick up the edge of the leaf closest to you. Carefully roll the leaf away from you, using your other fingers to try to keep the ingredients within the roll. Make the roll as tight as you can. A sushi mat could be useful, but is not necessary to roll these (I didn’t use one). Watch videos on how to roll sushi to get an idea if you’re not sure how to do it.
6) Using a sharp knife carefully cut the rolls into pieces. I found that the rolls on the end were lacking in stuffing and didn’t create nice rolls. (Feel free to snack on the end pieces.)
7) Carefully transfer pieces to a plate and serve with some pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce (gluten free ). If you added the shaved horseradish to your roll, I’d suggest not using wasabi.
Note: If you can’t get the rolls quite right these make tasty wraps. I also added shaved horseradish in my rolls instead of using wasabi because most wasabi has food colouring in it that I’d like to avoid. Horseradish will also offer that lovely sinus clearing sensation that wasabi offers.

Kale, Ginger and Lentil Soup

ginger kale soupThe weather forecast predicted that there would be snow today, but I didn’t believe it. After the cold winter we’ve had I thought that we had seen the last of snow, but it seems we are not so fortunate. This cold weather prompted me to make a nourishing warming soup, with ginger as the highlight.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is both a great plant to use in cooking and medicinally. It has such a unique flavour and can add subtle heat to a dish. Ginger contains compounds called gingerols which give ginger its pungent taste and is responsible for many of the medicinal properties. Medicinally, ginger has a variety of different actions. One of the more widely known benefits of ginger is its ability to act as an antiemetic (reduces nausea and vomiting). This is beneficial for reducing motion sickness as well as morning sickness. Ginger can actually act as an abortifacient in large quantities. Therefore, pregnant women shouldn’t exceed 2 grams of ginger a day and should be cautious when consuming ginger.
The digestive system can benefit from ginger. It acts as a digestive stimulant, helping individuals who have weak digestion. This plant can increase blood flow to the digestive tract, normalize peristalsis, and help relax smooth muscles. This leads to some relief from intestinal gas buildup, and stimulates the release of enzymes involved in digestion.
Gingerols have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger can help decrease pain and increase mobility in arthritis sufferers. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger.
The root of the ginger plants contains the medicinal benefits and is the part that is used in cooking. I was surprised to learn when I was in Hawaii that the flowers are beautiful. The flowers of the ginger plant can vary between a brilliant red to white. The picture below is the yellow ginger plant that I came across. I was told that this particular specifies is invasive, and not a welcome addition in Hawaii.

Hawaiian ginger

The recipe below is to make a lovely ginger and kale soup. You can adjust the recipe to your tastes and add or omit items to taste and availability. For instance if you don’t have kale you could try adding spinach or even parsley. Potatoes could be added for an interesting texture. Soups are quite forgiving.

Recipe:
Ingredients:

• 1/2 white onion (chopped)
• 2 carrots (chopped)
• 1 cup lentils (you can try quinoa instead)
• 6 cups organic vegetable broth or ideally use homemade broth (If you are buying stock, look for gluten and dairy free if you have sensitivities. Chicken broth can be substituted for vegetable broth)
• 2 tbsp grated ginger
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 2 tbsp oil
• 1/2 bunch kale, remove the stems, finely chop
• 1-2 bay leaves
• 2 tsp dried basil (You can also try a blend of rosemary, basil, oregano and thyme)
• salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
1) Roughly chop the onions to your desired size. Dice the carrots into cube sized pieces.
2) Peel and crush the garlic. Peel the skin off of the ginger and grate the ginger against the small holes of a cheese grater. The skin of ginger is quite delicate and can be peeled using a small spoon.
3) Sauté the onions and carrots in oil of your choice until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
4) Add the vegetable broth, bay leaves and lentils (or quinoa). Let everything come to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
5) Wash, chop and de-stem kale. Stir kale into soup then cover for 4-5 minutes.
6) Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

Note: This soup doesn’t provide an individual with a large dose of ginger, but if you are taking ginger as a tea or in a more concentrated form, certain individuals should be cautious. Individuals who have gallstones should be cautious consuming ginger. If you are on certain medications such as anticoagulants then you should contact your naturopath before taking ginger as a supplement.

If you have morning sickness or other pregnancy related complaints you want help with, book an appointment with me to discuss your concerns.

Kale Chips

Kale chips, plateOh how I love Kale! It’s an amazing food in that it is cram packed with so much nutrition. When considering the amount of nutrition per calorie, kale is one of the most nutritious foods a person can consume. One cup of kale has much more than your daily requirement of vitamin K and A. Kale is in fact one of the best sources of vitamin K and plays many roles in your body. It is important for proper clot formation, keeps your bones strong and helps prevent calcification of your arteries. Kale is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and also contains a good amount of calcium, iron, vitamin B6 and potassium. There is a high fibre content of kale that binds bile acids, lowering an individuals cholesterol. This reduces risk of heart disease.

Kale is very high in a variety of different flavonoids. These flavonoids act to provide both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. This is important to help prevent and combat chronic inflammation and disease. Another reason to love kale is that it helps to prevent cancer. Kale contains a compound known as glucosinolate. Glucosinolates has been shown to prevent cancer of the prostate, colon, breast, bladder and ovary.

Despite the fantastic nutrition found in this leafy green, kale may seem like an intimidating vegetable. Its leaves are curly and rubbery, not quite what most people are used to compared to its delicate lettuce counterpart. If you’ve ever tried to eat kale raw you may have decided it will be on the top of your “what not to eat” list because it can be bitter and tough. Raw kale may not be for those new to this super-food. An easy and delicious way I like to introduce people to this nutrition powerhouse is to make kale chips.

Basic Kale Chip Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 250° F.
2.Wash the kale leaves and tear the leaves off of the thick stem and rip into smaller pieces.  Spin the leaves in a salad spinner until they are entirely dry. It is very important to ensure the leaves are dry! If you don’t have a salad spinner, shake off the excess water as best you can and allow the kale leaves to air dry a few hours.
3. Drizzle leaves with the melted oil and rub the leaves to coat each one individually. Sprinkle with salt.
4. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Do your best to make sure none overlap or are folded as this will affect how crispy they turn out.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the leaves are crisp and dark green. Watch the kale closely at the end of cooking to make sure it doesn’t burn.
6. Remove the kale and allow to cool.

Tips:

  • It is very important to allow kale to fully dry before baking it. If you don’t, you will likely end up steaming kale resulting in mushy leaves versus the nice crispy texture that is desired.
  • Be vigilant in watching the kale as the end of the cooking time approaches. Browned kale tends to be bitter and kale can quickly go from crispy to burnt.
  • I have had some success baking wilted kale, finding it will turn out somewhat crispy. Firm kale does yield a better chip though.
  • Kale is one vegetable that you should buy organic because it commonly contains pesticides that are toxic to the nervous system.

Making a Smoothie

Breakfast is so important and it is unfortunately a commonly skipped meal. Many people complain that they do not have time in the morning to prepare something. I feel that smoothies are an answer to the morning time crunch because you just throw everything in the blender, blend everything for few minutes and you’re ready to run out the door. Smoothies are very forgiving and you can experiment to find out what combination works for you. Here is a basic recipe to follow and adjust according to what you have and your personal preferences:

Ingredients:
• 1 cup unsweetened milk (almond, rice, coconut, oat)
• ½ banana (can be frozen ahead)
• ½ cup fruit
• 1 tbsp seeds (ground flaxseed, chia, hemp seeds
• 1 tbsp nut butter (almond, cashew, macadamia)
• 1 scoop whey or vegetarian protein powder (find one that has no artificial sweeteners and colouring)

When using ground flaxseed, don’t buy flax pre-ground as it will quickly go rancid. Buy it whole and grind it before adding it into the smoothie. For added convenience, you can peel and half bananas and put them in the freezer. This is especially useful when your bananas are overripe and about to go bad.
I’ve included some smoothie recipes below. You can play around with the amounts of things you add and you can try different flavour combinations. For example, do you find 1 cup of milk is too much for you or you don’t have enough on hand? Try using a ½ cup milk and ½ cup water instead.

Berry Smoothie
Ingredients:
• 1 cup unsweetened milk (almond, rice, coconut, oat)
• ½ banana
• 1 cup mixed berries (frozen are okay)
• 2 handfuls of organic baby spinach
• 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
• ½ scoop protein powder

Directions:
1. Place everything in the blender and blend until smooth. It’s helpful to add the liquid first and protein powder last so that items don’t get stuck to the blender blades.

Mango, Avocado and Kale Smoothie
Kale can be bitter and may not be the most pleasant in a smoothie, It is such an incredibly healthy vegetable that it is worth trying to get to like! I would start by adding half of what the recipe calls for and then slowly increasing how much is in your smoothie.

Ingredients:
• 1 cup unsweetened milk (almond, rice, coconut, oat)
• 1 cup kale leaves, loosely packed (do not blend the stems, instead rip the leaves from the stems)
• ½ ripe banana
• ⅓ cup mango (you can use frozen)
• ½ scoop protein powder

Directions:
1. Place everything in the blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie
• ½ cup unsweetened milk (almond, rice, coconut, oat)
• ½ cup water
• ½ ripe banana
• ½ avocado
• ½ cup frozen berries (can be mixed or a berry of your choice)
• 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
• ½ scoop protein powder
• Optional: you can add 1 tbsp nut butter to vary the flavour and add a bit more protein

Directions:
1. Place everything in the blender and blend until smooth. The addition of an avocado makes this smoothie very rich and creamy. If your smoothie is too thick add ⅛ cup water, blend and assess the consistency. Keep adding water until a desired consistency is reached.