This soup is creamy, delicious, and also happens to be my favorite color. When we think about eating more vegetables, we usually turn towards greens – broccoli, kale, spinach, green beans, and others. Greens are wonderful for you, but a combination of different colored vegetables is optimal for your health. Unfortunately, mutli-colored vegetable soups usually end up a strange brown color, so I've chosen red as the theme for this soup.
It has three red ingredients – red bell peppers, red onions, and red lentils – for an amazing amount of antioxidants, plus protein and fiber to fill you up and improve your health! Plus, with a little spice from red chili flakes it will warm you from the inside out on a cool winter evening.
Red pepper for you
Bell peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin C and carotenoids; ripe red bell peppers have the highest levels of these nutrients. Most green bell peppers are simply unripe red peppers – if left outside refrigeration they will continue to ripen and gain nutrients. Choose organic bell peppers to avoid pesticide contamination.
Red pepper for people
Peppers grown in abundance during the warm months here in the mid-Atlantic, but what about the winter? Unless you’ve preserved your fall harvest, you’ll need to seek out Fair Trade produce to ensure farmers are benefiting from your purchase. Encourage your local grocery store to stock produce that improves the lives of farmers around the world.
Red pepper for the planet
Peppers are adapted to a wide variety of climates and can be grown around the world. They grow well in pots, so planting your own in a small garden or even on a balcony is a great way to enjoy fresh peppers throughout the growing season. Seek out locally-grown peppers for most of the year to reduce the carbon footprint required for national or international transport.
I’ve been waiting to share this one with you… it’s a new favorite. Creamy polenta topped with spicy caramelized mushrooms and onions. After prepping the vegetables, all you need is a baking sheet and a pot and it comes together in just about 30 minutes. Plus, I really enjoy turning the oven on in winter and the roasting veggies make the house smell wonderful.
Polenta is one of my favorite winter comfort foods. It's made from boiling ground cornmeal and is a great gluten-free alternative to pasta. It's warm, filling, and can be topped with just about anything for a delicious and easy meal. Polenta also stores well and the leftovers can even be used to make a delicious breakfast porridge.
The topping is simple, versatile and delicious. If you're sensitive to spicy foods, reduce the amount of red pepper flakes.
Polenta for you
Corn is a staple grain in many parts of the world. It contains good amounts of Vitamins A and C and Fiber. Polenta's carotenoids are easier to digest as the corn as been milled, making it an excellent choice for improving night vision. It also contains fiber which supports digestive health and regulates blood sugar.
Polenta for people
Farmer's are using heirloom corn to grow the tastiest grains to be used in polenta. As Genetically Engineered corn takes over the marketplace, it's important to choose non-GMO varieties, for your health, people, and the environment. Learn more about the issues at the Center for Food Safety.
Polenta for the planet
Purchasing organic and non-GMO polenta ensures that the corn has been grown and harvested in a sustainable manner. Intrigued by the perfect corn for a delicious homemade polenta? You could grow your own corn and grind it on a bicycle-powered corn mill. Now that's good for the planet.
Because it’s Friday, definitely cold enough to turn on the oven, almost Valentine’s day, and cookies are delicious. We all like to indulge and one of my personal challenges is to make healthy AND delicious sweets.
These are one of my most recent favorites, plus they are vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten free. Not to worry, they are still yummy!
Peanuts for you
Peanuts are in the legume family and are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They contain more antioxidants than apples and have been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes in women. Peanuts are a good source of protein, folate, and Vitamin E.
Peanuts for people
Peanuts are native to South America and are grown around the world. Peanut farmers have been joining together in cooperatives to work for fair prices and support their communities. Liberation and Once Again are great brands that support farmers through Fair Trade.
Peanuts for the planet
These tasty legumes grow in warm climates and start as flowers on the peanut plant that become heavy and mature underground. Like all legumes (beans, peas), peanuts supply their own nitrogen, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Peanut shell “waste” can actually be helpful - in Senegal, peanut shells are helping to protect lands affected by climate change.
There’s nothing quite like sitting down to a steaming bowl of soup on a chilly winter night, so we're on a roll here with soup recipes. This black bean soup is rich, delicious, and healthy – it’s packed with protein, fiber, and anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory support to nourish your body. A crisp and hearty kale slaw can be enjoyed alongside the soup, or added right on top (my favorite method).
Black beans for you Legumes provide the perfect combination of protein and fiber to fill you up and support healthy digestion. Black beans’ dark skin color (which is actually a very dark purple) is full of phytonutrients, which have antioxidant properties. These legumes are also rich in folate, magnesium, and contain heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. See more health benefits on WebMD.
Black beans for people For farmers, beans are an excellent crop as they bring nitrogen back into the soil. They are native to Mexico and fairly disease-resistant, making them generally easy to grow without the use of pesticides. In the US, farmers have added their black bean seeds to seed libraries to ensure strong lineages and ensure other farmers have access to these varieties.
Black beans for the planet
In addition to beans’ role in creating healthy soils, they are an incredibly low-impact form of protein (especially when compared to meat production). What about dry beans vs. canned? When you add in transportation, cooking, and packaging impacts it gets complicated. Either way, you’re promoting more sustainable land use and protecting water resources by choosing a vegetarian meal!