With the holidays behind us, it's safe to say that many of us are trying to eat a bit healthier, resolutions or not. As much as I love that idea, I have a hard time getting psyched up over lots of typical healthy dishes this time of year. When it's cold and there's not a whole lot of daylight, salads just aren't at the top of my list.
That's why I love dishes like this. This stew is just as healthy as any salad I've ever eaten, but it's hot, hearty and packed with flavor. Sweet potatoes and almond butter give it the kind of staying power I seriously need on cold winter days, while some fresh ginger and cilantro give it the kind of taste that makes me want to go back for a second bowl (even though this stuff is super filling). The dish is served over a bed of cauliflower rice. I thought I wouldn't be into that and would want to cook up some regular old rice or quinoa, but cauliflower rice actually added the perfect amount of texture to offset the creaminess of the stew.
The recipe for this sustenance stew comes from The Perfect Blend, the new cookbook from Tess Masters of The Blender Girl. The book is filled with vegan, gluten-free blender recipes that have just that type of appeal to get you really excited about eating healthier. Each chapter is a collection of recipes that share a common health promoting aspect, like immunity, detox, and anti-inflammatory. It's perfect for anyone looking to eat healthier in the new year, whatever your goals.
Right now I'm focusing on warming wintry dishes from the book, like the Mind-Blowing Moroccan Pizza, No-Fry Falafels, and Greedy Green Curry, there's plenty of healthy dishes that work for every season.
- 2 medium heads cauliflower cut into florets
- ¼ cup 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon natural salt plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic about 2 cloves
- Natural salt
- 3 cups 720ml vegetable broth
- 2 14.5-ounce/411g cans whole tomatoes with their juice
- 1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups 570g peeled and roughly diced orange-flesh sweet potatoes
- 3 cups 210g chopped broccoli florets
- 4 cups 120g Swiss chard, stalks removed, leaves cut into ribbons (about 1 large bunch)
- ⅓ cup 43g roasted almond butter
- ½ cup 14g loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
- 1 medium avocado pitted, peeled, and sliced
- ½ cup 80g sliced raw almonds
- ¼ cup 35g shelled hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds black or white
- ¼ cup 10g pea greens
- To make the cauliflower rice, preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C). Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
- Put the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse about 5 times, until the cauliflower has the texture of couscous. You may have to process in two batches. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and stir in the oil and 1 teaspoon of salt until well combined.
- Transfer the “rice” to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon and continue to roast for another 15 minutes, until the “rice” begins to brown. Set aside until ready to serve.
- To make the stew, in a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil and sauté the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Meanwhile, add the broth, tomatoes, ginger, and red pepper flakes to your blender and pulse a few times on low until rustically chopped and combined but not blended.
- Stir the sweet potatoes and broth mixture into the sautéed onion. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add ½ teaspoon of salt, and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is just tender.
- Add the broccoli and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chard and almond butter and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the chard is just wilted. The broth should be absorbed and you should have a creamy vegetable dish. Stir in the cilantro and tweak the salt to taste.
- To serve, spoon equal amounts of the cauliflower rice into bowls and spoon the stew next to or over the “rice.” Top with the avocado and sliced almonds and sprinkle with the hemp seed and chia seed boosters. Finish by topping with the pea greens booster.