Posts Tagged ‘vegetable’

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!


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


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 gorgeous dish with its orange and green vegetables bursting forth amidst the tawny mushroom color that highlights them beautifully. This recipe is chock full of healthy, healing phytonutrients. Sweet potato is an all star vegetable rich with carotenoids (beta-carotene and Vit. A), vitamin C, potassium and fiber. It’s antioxidant powers are unsurpassed. Some studies have shown that sweet potatoes lower the health risks of heavy metals and oxygen radicals. It is important to have some fat at a meal with sweet potato to increase the uptake of vitamin A. Just 1 tablespoon will suffice. Shiitake mushrooms with their rich, smoky flavor give us so much for so little. This lovely mushroom with its legendary benefits is a symbol of longevity in Asia. It is a potent antioxidant and good for your heart. Its healing benefits boost the immune system and fight infections like flu and viruses as well as diseases.  Edamame (pronounced ed-a-mom-ay) is a green soybean replete with phytoestrogens. It is high in protein and fiber and low in calories, fat and sodium. Soy protein may help to reduce insulin resistance in diabetics. It reduces cholesterol especially the LDL type or “bad” cholesterol. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, it can reduce menopausal symptoms. Soy protein also protects against cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.


1 large sweet potato sliced

18 or so shiitake mushrooms sliced

1  C of edamame ( green soybeans sold frozen)

1/2  C chopped onion

1 Tablespoon of canola oil after this,  if vegetables get dry, add water or vegetable broth

freshly ground black pepper

1 – 2 teaspoons of sodium reduced Tamari soy sauce


Wash/scrub the sweet potato and wipe dry

Remove skin with vegetable peeler from the sweet potato

Cut the potato in half lengthwise then thinly slice the halves widthwise, set aside

Wipe the mushrooms with a dishtowel or paper towel. Avoid using water because mushrooms are porous and absorb it. Set them aside

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the canola oil on medium/low setting

When hot, add the chopped onion

Season with fresh gound black pepper

After about 1 minute, add the sliced sweet potato

After 2 minutes, add the sliced mushroom

When the vegetables are close to done, add the frozen edamame

Cook until all is warm and edible

Remove from heat and add 1-2 t of  reduced sodium Tamari soy sauce

You may serve as a complete meal


For a more hearty dish, serve over brown rice or as I did, over a mix of brown rice and quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) for more nutrition.

Seeds of Change brand sells grain products ready-made and quick to prepare. Keep some of these on hand for when you are in a hurry.

If you are gluten sensitive, do not use the soy sauce.

If the mushroom dry out, soak them in water for 30 minutes and they will reconstitute.

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This tomato sauce is a delicious and nutritious versatile sauce. It’s most common usage is over pasta and, though as you have seen on this blog, it can be used over vegetables like eggplant and of course on pizza.  It is easy to make and full of phytonutrients and antioxidants. Tomatoes are a fruit and in the carotenoid family.They are one of few carotenoids without vitamin A. They do however have lycopene , an antioxidant, which protects cells from oxygen damage. Lycopene is said to have cancer prevention properties, particularly with prostate, colon and lung cancers. The benefits are supposedly more pronounced in advanced stages of these cancers. Add red peppers to this sauce to increase the antioxidant benefits. Go tomatoes!!



1  28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano tomatoes, but you can use any brand.

1  15 oz. can of no salt tomato sauce

2-3 T  extra virgin olive oil or vegetable spray oil or vegetable broth or water

3 cloves of garlic minced

1/4 – 1/2 of a medium onion chopped

Dried basil

Fresh basil

garlic powder

freshly ground black pepper

add a 2 inch piece of carrot for sweetness.


In a deep pot, add the oil on medium heat

When hot, add the onion

Add dried seasonings to your liking or 1/4 t of each ( I like more)

When onion is almost translucent, add the garlic being careful not to burn (it cooks quickly)

Add the contents of both tomato products

Nora hitting the sauce

Add more seasoning if you wish

Add a few or a small bunch of fresh leaves to the pot

Cook on low-medium heat or simmer for 20-30 minutes

remove the carrot and basil leaves

Tomato sauce  –  done!!


You may cook this sauce longer if you wish.

When this sauce is left overnight, the flavors infuse it and it thickens as well (better for pizza then as long as you bake the crust for 5 mins.  beforehand to prevent seepage).

This sauce is great over any pasta.

If you want a meat or meatless sauce, just add ground hamburger or soy crumbles to the garlic and onions.

If you do not like garlic or onion you may omit one or use less.

I have a friend who makes her sauce in a crock pot after following the first four preparation steps.

My niece tells me to leave the pot uncovered for the best flavor. I find that she is right and that is why I use a deep pot though the sauce wipes easily from the stove.

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We are having our way with eggplant today. Eggplant is my daughter’s favorite vegetable. Here it is baked and made three different ways for you to enjoy: in a rich low-fat tomato sauce, as a no-bread sandwich, and with mint and feta.  Like most vegetables, eggplant has lots of phytonutrients. Minerals such as potassium, manganese, Vitamin B-6, omega’s 3 & 6, folate, magnesium and niacin are a just few of these. There is also plenty of vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that protects cells from oxygen damage. It has been touted to prevent certain cancers and heart disease. There is 20 calories per cup of eggplant which means essentially zero calories for dietary purposes. A few more reasons to eat your vegetables!!



2 medium size eggplant
Extra virgin olive oil
Garlic powder
fresh ground black pepper
Dried basil


Wash eggplant
Leave skin on and cut off ends
Slice widthwise into 1/4 inch slices
Brush one side of the eggplant slices with the oil
Season with garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper and dried Basil
Lay the eggplant oil side down on a non-stick cookie sheet or use a regular cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silver foil
Brush the top side of the eggplant with extra virgin olive oil
Season with garlic powder, fresh ground black pepper and dries basil
Put in the pre-heated oven set at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until tender and eggplant can be pierced with a fork.
Remove from the oven

We are now ready to use this baked eggplant in a variety of ways. Here are three of my favorites.

1) Eggplant with tomato sauce:


Baked eggplant

Your favorite tomato sauce (homemade or store bought). Recipe for easy homemade tomato sauce to follow.

Pecorino romano or parmigiano-reggiano


In a baking dish (size depending on the amount of eggplant you have made for this dish)

Ladle some tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking tray

Add one layer of eggplant

Cover with more sauce and grated cheese

Continue to layer – starting with eggplant and finishing with sauce and grated cheese

Bake all in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the size of the dish and the depth of the eggplant)

Remove when sauce is hot and bubbly !!

2) No-bread eggplant sandwich:


Two slices of baked eggplant (per serving)

One medium sized tomato

Fresh mozzarella cheese or low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Extra virgin olive oil

Garlic powder

Fresh ground black pepper

Fresh basil


Slice the tomato into one quarter inch slices

Brush with extra virgin olive oil

Season with garlic powder and fresh ground black pepper

Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes

Take one baked eggplant round, top with the baked tomato , a slice of mozzarella cheese or substitute and fresh basil leaves.

Heat in oven or toaster oven to melt the cheese.

3) Eggplant with mint and feta cheese:


Baked eggplant rounds

Feta cheese crumbles

Fresh Mint

Balsamic glaze


Plate the  baked eggplant rounds

Scatter Feta cheese by spoonful on eggplant in any amount that you like

Rip up the mint leaves into small pieces and drop them over the eggplant and cheese

Drizzle balsamic glaze over all in a ribbon pattern.

You may layer the eggplant in this way if you wish,  or serve as one layer

For presentation, garnish with whole mint leaves


As always, vegans or lactose intolerant individuals may substitute cheese with rice or soy cheeses.


Though eggplant has few calories, it is important to note that the ingredients  used to prepare it do have calories though as few as possible.

If you have extre eggplant, you may freeze it for later use. I put it side by side into a freezer bag.

You can also freeze any leftover eggplant in tomato sauce.

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