Make friends with healthy vegetables

Miami HeraldNovember 20, 2012 

  • Friendly Broccoli and Black Beans with Sherry This easy sherry-splashed dish would love to be friends with crusty bread and a green salad. 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 1 stalk celery, chopped 1 teaspoon cumin 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or 1 large tomato, chopped 1 head of broccoli, broken into florets 3 tablespoons sherry 2 cups cooked black beans or 1 15-ounce can, drained 1 bunch cilantro, chopped Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste A handful pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for garnish (optional) HEAT olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables soften and turn translucent. ADD cumin, grape tomatoes and broccoli, stirring gently to combine. Add sherry and stir again. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 10 minutes, until broccoli is al dente but still a healthy, bright green. MIX in black beans. Cover and heat through, another 10 minutes or so. ADD chopped cilantro, season with sea salt and pepper. Top with optional pepitas, if desired. Yield: 4 servings PER SERVING: 196 calories (19 percent from fat), 4 g fat (0.6 g saturated, 2.6 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 10 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 95 mg sodium.

Processed food says it wants to be your friend. But it’s full of additives and artificial ingredients – not the kind of thing you want in a friend. Or in your food.

On the other hand, our vegetable friends offer the most nutrients and fiber for the fewest calories. One serving of broccoli offers heaping helpfuls of vitamins C and K, calcium, lutein, even protein, all for 30 calories. Yet less than 10 percent of Americans eat their recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

“I can’t eat a plate of plain broccoli,” people tell me, looking pained. I can, and do, but I’m unusual. Vegetables don’t have to be the solo stars of your dinner. They’re delicious, but they’re not divas. Vegetables are eager to make friends and get along well with other ingredients.

Think of beans, whole grains and pasta as blank canvases that deserve a produce palette. Adding vegetables not only enriches them with nutrients and fiber but also with flavor, texture and color. Why eat a plain bowl of rice when you can enjoy it tossed with a confetti of sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms? Add a handful or two of spinach to hot spaghetti. Give it a toss and the greens will wilt happily into the noodles.

For a printable copy of the recipe, click the link:

Friendly Broccoli and Black Beans with Sherry

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