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Here is a delicious and nutritious recipe that can be served as is, eaten in a sandwich or put over pasta. Broccoli rabe is a member of the brassica family also know as the cabbage family. It’s flavor is somewhere between broccoli and mustard greens. Though it may look like a kinder gentler form of broccoli with its smaller flowers, this leafy green is a formidable foe of numerous health problems. The big news with broccoli rabe is its cancer fighting properties. It is a rich source of glucosinolates which our bodies convert to cancer-fighting sulforophanes. It is noted to be effective in prevention and has a curative effect on stomach, lung and colon cancers. There have also been hints that this vegetable may offer protection from breast and prostate cancers. Just 3  1/2 ounces of broccoli rabe gives you half the daily requirement of Vitamins A and C replete with antioxidants to fight off free radicals that can damage the body’s cells. It is a good source of folate to fight birth defects and heart disease. It slows the build-up of artery clogging plaque. A small serving of this powerful, healthy green provides loads of calcium, potassium and fiber. Red peppers get their antioxidant effect from carotenoids. Beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A is crucial for night vision. One small red pepper gives you enough Vitamin C to supply three times the daily requirement. Red peppers properties can bolster the immune system, protect against heart disease, stomach and colon cancers and help to heal wounds. They also promote better eyesight, protect against rheumatoid arthritis and promote lung health. Garlic another ingredient in this recipe has been touted a great deal in this blog. It provides a potent antibiotic effect as well as being an anti-viral agent. Garlic has been used for healing over the centuries by many cultures. It has been noted to protect against stomach and colon cancers, lower blood pressure and reduce the chances of infection. When these three ingredients are combined, the health benefits are huge…so eat up!

Ingredients:

1-2 red bell peppers or 1  small jar of roasted red peppers

1 bunch of broccoli rabe also known as rappini

2 c water

1-2 T extra virgin olive oil or reserved broth from the broccoli rabe

3-4 cloves of  garlic

1/4 t crushed red pepper

garlic powder

freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Directions for roasting peppers:

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees

Wash the peppers and dry them

Put the peppers in a parchment lined baking tray

Roast the peppers for 15 minutes

Turn them over once with tongs

Cook another 15 minutes

When done, put the peppers into a brown paper bag or covered bowl for 15 mins. The steam formed will allow you to remove the skins more easily.

Remove the skins when cool, peel only the skin that comes off easily and leave the rest.

Cut the peppers in half, let liquid run off, remove the core and seeds, then slice.

Once you have roasted your own peppers and have seen how easy it is, the flavor is so fresh and rich, you will never again want them from a jar.

Directions for cooking broccoli rabe:

Wash the broccoli rabe and remove the very ends of the stem which are usually dry

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl or pot

In a large dutch oven or  pot, bring 2 c of water to a slow boil

Meanwhile, chop broccoli rabe in 1 inch increments across the length

Put the broccoli rabe into the gently boiling water for 4-5 minutes

Remove the rabe with a slotted spoon

Drain in a colander and reserve the broth

Immediately transfer the broccoli rabe to the waiting ice bath until cool 1-2 mins.

Remove with slotted spoon to colander and set aside

Putting it all together:

In a large skillet, heat 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil or the reserved broccoli rabe broth (if you do not use the broth, save it for a soup base or freeze it for future use)

When the oil is hot add garlic and cook slightly (do not brown or it will be bitter)

Add the broccoli rabe to the skillet

Add the sliced roasted red peppers

Season with dashes of garlic powder and freshly ground black pepper and (optional) the 1/4 t of crushed red pepper

Cook until the flavors have blended about 3-5 minutes and let it rest a while

Remove to a serving bowl and top with grated pecorino romano cheese if desired

Serve as is, in a sandwich with aged provolone cheese on a hard Italian roll or on whole wheat ciabbatta as seen here or  over whole grain pasta or gluten free pasta.

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This is a hearty and nutritious sandwich with carotenoid rich sweet potato, nutrient packed green apple, curative sprouts of dill and alfalfa, and hummus loaded with protein and fiber. While visiting my daughter in Boston, she took my husband and I to a wonderful coffee shop in Harvard Square named Crema Cafe. She and I split a unique and truly wonderful sandwich filled with sweet potato, green apple, red onion, goat cheese and maple vinaigrette. The following recipe is my version of it and if you are ever in Harvard Square,  do visit Crema Cafe. When at home, try this!!

Ingredients:

A wonderful whole grain bread. I used Whole Foods Pain De Campagne

1 sweet potato, a medium size will give you two sandwiches

1 green apple

Sprouts of your choice. I used dill and alfalfa sprouts.

Lemon Hummus – I used Whole Foods brand but you can use any brand you like and may want to experiment with different flavors as long as it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.

Maple Syrup – actually I used Maple Praline Syrup but either would be good

Preparation:

Bake the potato until cooked to firm, let it cool. This takes 50 mins. in the oven at 350 degrees. You can try the microwave on high for 7 mins. though the potato may be softer than you’d like. Test for doneness with a sharp knife.

When potato is cooled, carefully remove the skin and cut into 1/4 inch rounds (widthwise).

Cut two slices of bread and spread the hummus on one side of each piece.

Add sprouts to one slice of the bread with hummus.

Add slices of sweet potato.

Add thinly sliced green apple.

Drizzle with Maple Syrup

Add more sprouts if you like

Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread.

Yum Yum!!

Tips:

If I had a red onion on hand, I would have added it to this sandwich but in the end this was amazing!

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