Nutrition Champs Nails It

I was reading Jill Nussinow’s work years before I had the pleasure of meeting her. As “The Veggie Queen,” she reached out to me almost a decade ago when I debuted my “Vegcoach” website with my daughter’s (now a well-known London artist) running carrot. Two years ago, when I was a guest chef at Dr. John McDougall’s Advanced Study weekend, she picked me up at my hotel and escorted me to the store where she spent several hours helping me pick out food for my cooking demo for 300…something she had done many times before. She was more than generous with her time and ideas, then and in many chats we’ve had since then.

When she proposed the idea to write “Nutrition Champs” and offering an opportunity to pick a few ingredients we know and love to fill some of the pages of her new book, I jumped at the idea. Maybe it was a secret desire to declare my undying love of brussels sprouts. Who knows. But I’m glad many others chimed in too, and that Jill gave us all this opportunity. What a great collection of recipes and ideas! I hope you’ll agree.

My recipes she included are here.

Stir-Fry Toppings
When we hear the advice, “Eat the colors of the rainbow,” we often assume
this mainly applies to vibrant colors of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. But it is important to keep gorgeous colors in cooked food too, which is your insurance policy to resist disease with a recipe packed with anti-oxidants. The key to keeping color in cooked food is not overcooking. If you can use a food processor, you’ll have this done in no time. But even if you don’t, this should take no more than 20 minutes max to prepare, and another 10 minutes to cook.

Serves 6-8

1⁄2 cup dry lentils
11⁄4 cup liquid vegetable broth
1⁄2 head broccoli, cut into florets
4 medium turnips and greens, cut into small chunks and thin strips
1 large portabello mushroom, cut into small chunks
1 medium carrot, cut into thin rounds
1⁄4 head red cabbage, sliced into thin shreds (approximately 1–2 cups)
1 orange or yellow pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 medium summer squash, cut into thin rounds
1 medium zucchini, cut into thin rounds
10–12 small cherry or Roma tomatoes, cut in halves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons onion flakes
2 tablespoons garlic chips or
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 cup cooked brown rice or your favorite whole grain

In a small pot, add the lentils and 1 cup of the liquid vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20–30 minutes until the lentils are cooked.

While the lentils are cooking, in a large pot or wok, add the remaining broth along with the broccoli, turnips, mushrooms, carrot and cabbage.

Cook over low heat, stirring to keep vegetables from sticking, until they are just starting to become soft. Add the turnip greens, yellow pepper, squash, zucchini and tomatoes. Cook for another 5–10 minutes until all the vegetables are soft, but not mushy. Sprinkle the sesame seeds, onion flakes and garlic chips over the mixture during the last minute of cooking to add extra protein and crunch. Stir well. Serve over the rice.

Protein Powerhouse Trifecta
Vegan athletes cringe when they hear the too frequently-asked question, “Where do you get your protein?” But probably a day doesn’t go by when we do. It is always an opportunity to educate, no matter how tired we may be of answering it. Eating plant-based proteins have served many athletes well in all kinds of sports. But even if you’re not training for a marathon, a serving of this protein-rich bean and nut entrée will keep your muscles in tip-top shape for whatever events you have planned. Quinoa has more protein than any other whole grain.

Serves 6–8

1⁄4 cup vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons low-salt soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 bunch kale, stems removed, rolled and cut in thin strips
1 cup cooked adzuki beans
1 tablespoon miso, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm but not boiling hot water
3 cups cooked quinoa
4 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds

In a large pot or wok, add the garlic and onion to the vegetable broth and cook over medium heat until both are translucent. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and kale. Cook the kale until it is just soft.

Add the adzuki beans and warm thoroughly. Turn off the heat, and then add the miso. Use a spoon or spatula to turn the kale leaves over, blending well the miso and other ingredients.

Spoon servings over the quinoa. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds.

Tuscan Soup with a Twist
Even in Florida, it gets bone-chilling cold in the winter. This soup will satisfy the core of your comfort food cravings, but warm and protect you against the worst of winter’s fury. In my opinion, you can never have too many allium family/cancer- fighting onions. Feel free to add or subtract according to your tastes. The light- colored beans give this soup its creamy consistency.

Serves 4–6 (or just you 4 to 6 times)

2 cups vegetable broth plus 4 tablespoons for sautéing
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1 cup cooked cannellini or white beans
8 ounces button mushrooms, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 bunch, green onions, thinly sliced plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped flat parsley plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1⁄2 teaspoon salt (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

In a blender, add the vegetable broth, garbanzo beans and cannellini beans. Process until all of the beans are blended into a creamy consistency. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time to achieve a creamier consistency if desired.

In a large soup pot add the mushrooms and onions. Add two tablespoons of the vegetable broth and sauté over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent. Add a tablespoon of broth at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking. Add the bean mixture and parsley, and stir well over low heat until the soup is steaming hot.

Serve into bowls and garnish with the parsley and chives. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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