Chef Georgie Soskin and nutritionist Jo Saunders, of Cooking Them Healthy, dream up some deliciously colourful creations
Eating plenty of colourful fruit and vegetables is a well-known route to healthy eating, but do you know the reason why we are encouraged to “eat the rainbow”?
The special compounds found in fruit and vegetables, as well as pulses, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, plus herbs and spices – are known as phytonutrients (pronounced “fi-toe-nutrients”).
“Phyto” quite simply means derived from plants. Its purpose is to protect the vitality of the plant, not only to provide it with vibrant colour, but for its health promoting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Researchers are learning more about the value of phytonutrients all the time which is exciting. They currently estimate that there are as many as 50,000 phytonutrients in existence, of which we have identified only 1,000. We like to include as many of them as we can in our cooking so we are passing on some of our recipes for you to enjoy.
With high hopes of an Indian summer, we have created three bright and colourful recipes for you to try out and enjoy at your leisure and pleasure.
Perfect for a last-blast al-fresco lunch, each recipe can easily be packed up and enjoyed for a delicious picnic. Or try out these health-boosting dishes for a light dinner or simple supper.
For more delicious and nutritious recipes for the whole family, visit cookingthemhealthy.com
WHERE CAN I FIND
• Flavonoids are found in blue/purple foods such
as blackberries, blueberries and red cabbage
• Beta-carotene is found in yellow and orange
foods such as carrots, butternut squash,
melon and papaya.
• Lycopene is found in red foods such as
tomatoes and watermelon.
• Chlorophyll is found in spinach, spring greens,
kale and broccoli.
• White is a colour too! White foods are not
to be overlooked – garlic, onions, leeks and
caulifl ower are examples of foods with their
own valuable nutrients such as sulphur and
the fancily named glucosinolates.
SUNNY CARROT SALAD
Our simple yet delicious carrot salad is rich in the phytonutrient beta-carotene, derived from carrots – important for skin, eye and immune health. Miso is not only packed with zinc and manganese, but also phytonutrients known as phenolic acids from the fermentation process. This acts as a potent antioxidant in the body. Serves 4 as a side.
• 4 medium sized carrots, coarsely grated
• 1cm slice of ginger, finely grated
• 20g mixed seeds (such as sunflower or pumpkin)
• 20g cashew nuts
• Small handful coriander, roughly chopped
• 1 tbsp white sweet-miso paste
• 2 tbsp sesame oil
• 1 tbsp runny honey
• A squeeze of lime (optional)
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
Place the seeds and nuts on to a roasting tray and then place into the oven for 10 minutes to roast until golden brown. Take out and leave to cool.
Mix the dressing of miso paste, sesame oil, honey and fi nely grated ginger. Stir the dressing through with the coarsely grated carrot as well as the coriander and toasted seeds.
Enjoy with a squeeze of lime.
The sweet yet humble pea is rich in a number of phytonutrients including saponins and flavanols, which support immune health as well as possessing anti-inflammatory properties. These cute quiches are naturally gluten free. Makes 4.
• 2 eggs
• 1 tbsp pesto (ideally homemade, but shop bought is fine)
• 30g peas
• Small floret of broccoli, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 180°C/50°F/gas 4.
Place your silicone muffin tin/mould onto a baking sheet to prevent it from wobbling. Mix all the ingredients together and pour into your moulds.
Place gently in the oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked through and set – you can feel the firmness with your finger. There should be no runniness.
Enjoy hot, warm, and also at room temperature. These will keep well in the fridge for a few days and are perfect for picnics.
DID YOU KNOW?
Many foods contain more than one
type of phytonutrient, so their health
value is often tripled.
Our easy yet delicious paella recipe is
the perfect summer dish, bursting with
colour, fl avour and health-boosting
phytonutrients. The tomatoes and
sweet red peppers are rich in antiinfl
ammatory lycopene, and the
phytochemicals in garlic are known for
their immune-strengthening properties.
• 3-4 chicken thighs (skin off) approx 230g, cut into generous bite sizes
• 1 onion, diced
• 80g frozen king prawns
• 150g brown rice
• 300ml chicken stock
• ½ red pepper cut into slices
• A small pinch or about 4 or 5 strands saffron
• 1 tsp ground paprika
• 80g frozen peas
• ½ carton or can of chopped tomatoes (approx 200ml)
• 1 clove of garlic, pasted or very finely chopped
• Coconut oil
Place a casserole dish or saucepan (with tight-fi tting lid) onto a medium heat and add tablespoon of coconut oil.
Add the onion and sweat on a low heat until soft. Next add chicken pieces and lightly brown for a few minutes – at this stage you are not cooking the meat all the way through, just lightly browning. Then add the red pepper and cook for a few minutes until slightly softened.
Add the garlic and paprika and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the rice, then stock and saffron strands.
Bring the liquid up to the boil and then down to a simmer, before placing the lid on and simmering on low heat for 30 minutes, or until rice cooked through.
Add the half tin of chopped tomatoes and reduce (with the lid off) on a medium to high heat for 5 minutes – until the tomatoes have absorbed and concentrated into the rice.
Mix in the prawns and peas, stir and allow to cook for a few minutes. Turn off heat and place lid back on – stand for 5 minutes to steam the prawns. You should see no greyness to the prawns just their vibrant rich pink. Serve warm.