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Superfoods for the season

By: Gina Cronin
December 7, 2017 Updated: December 7, 2017 at 2:13 pm
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The time has come for gingerbread cookies, apple pies, dad’s mashed potatoes, mom’s meatloaf and grandma’s lasagna. These traditions bring tremendous comfort and precious memories, but they can also bring a feeling of sluggishness that may be hard to shake off.

In between the holiday dinners, why not fill your body with energizing, detoxifying superfoods? Better yet, why not incorporate them right into your holiday meals to keep the good feelings going? Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods that are beneficial to health and wellbeing.

Below are a few superfood-packed (and absolutely delicious) meals that you can incorporate into your holiday season to keep immunity, metabolism, digestion and mood boosted.

Kale, cranberry and almond salad

Kale is loaded with fiber, calcium, iron and vitamin K; cranberries are packed with antioxidants; and almonds contain healthy fats, fiber, protein and magnesium.

To make, it’s a great idea to start by massaging your kale. Kale can be tough and bitter to eat, but a two-three minute massage can make the leaves tender and sweet. All you need to do is – with clean hands – take bunches of kale and rub them together. You will notice the change as you do this – a great trick for kale salads. Toss in dried cranberries and almond halves. Finally, top with your favorite vinaigrette and enjoy.

This salad, while delicious and easy to prepare, can help improve digestion, cardiovascular health and immunity.

Pumpkin, carrot and ginger soup

This soup presents the perfect excuse to purchase one of those vibrant, locally-grown pumpkins and fill your kitchen with the comforting aromas of the season. A food processor is necessary for this recipe so if you don’t have one, you should consider giving yourself an early gift. Food processors come in handy for so many recipes, so you will thank yourself again and again.

Pumpkins and carrots contain beta-carotene, which is known to boost immunity and eye health; while ginger aids in digestion, reduces excess gas and can even decrease menstrual pain.

To make your super soup, peel and cube 4 carrots and 800 grams of pumpkin and simmer with water in a large saucepan over medium heat; dice 1 onion, mince 4 garlic cloves and crush 1 teaspoon fresh ginger and sauté with olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until golden; add ½ teaspoon curry powder and cumin and continue to sauté a couple minutes longer; add 2 cups of vegetable stock to garlic, ginger and onion mixture and simmer for five to ten minutes so that the flavors can marry; drain tender pumpkin and carrots, and add to the vegetable stock; continue simmering; place all ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth and creamy; pour into your favorite bowl, garnish with paprika and roasted pumpkin seeds, and enjoy!

Roasted garlic cauliflower mash

Cauliflower is quite the superfood, containing 77 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Garlic is a celebrated antibacterial and antimicrobial with the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Put these two plants together and you’re in for a nurturing and delicious meal.

You may have heard of people using cauliflower in place of potatoes for their holiday mash, and if you haven’t tried it – this year is a good time to do so. You’ll be amazed by how creamy and flavorful this side is, at a fraction of the carbs and calories!

To make – get started by roasting your garlic. Using roasted – versus raw – garlic in this recipe brings a depth of flavor to every fork-full. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, slice a quarter inch from the entire garlic head and drizzle olive oil over cloves, wrap garlic in aluminum foil and roast in preheated oven until soft (about 40-50 minutes). While garlic is roasting, chop cauliflower into florets and steam until very tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer cauliflower, roasted garlic cloves (peeled) and thyme to a food processor. Process until completely smooth like mashed potatoes. Stir in some butter, and season with salt and pepper.

Salmon with pomegranate glaze

Switch up the main course this holiday season with one of the healthiest proteins out there: salmon! Salmon is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and is a great source of protein. With an anti-oxidant rich pomegranate glaze, this delicious and nutritious dish will make a splash on any holiday dinner table.  

Start by making the glaze. All you need is 4 cups of pomegranate juice, ½ cup sugar, and 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Stir ingredients in a small saucepan and heat on medium. Simmer lightly for 60-80 minutes until liquid reduces by 75 percent. It will yield approximately 1 cup of molasses.

To prepare fillets, first preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse and dry four boneless salmon fillets. Mix brown sugar, salt and corn starch in a small bowl. Rub the sugar mixture onto the flesh of the fillet and dust it with black pepper.  Sear the fleshy side of the fillets for 1-2 minutes in cooking oil on a medium-high heated skillet, until dark golden crust forms. Don’t crowd pan. Carefully turn fillets and cook until golden on the skin side, approximately 1 minute.

Next, brush each fillet generously with the pomegranate molasses. You may transfer fillets to oven right in the skillet (if it is oven-safe), or transfer them carefully to a lightly greased baking sheet. Cook for approximately 8-12 minutes more. Remove from oven, plate and garnish with pomegranate seeds.

 

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