Tuesday, August 15, 2017

3 Green Summer Veggie Superstars




To fill up without filling out, try your hand at including broccolini, arugula, and zucchini (my 3 green veggie superstars) into your weekly meal plan. Keep on reading to discover tips, recipes, and health information, plus discover how to keep food prep easy, delicious, and packed with great nutrition.

The produce mentioned is available this summer at your farmer’s market, local health food store or nearby market, as well as in-season in many home gardens. Produce that is sold by the unit (weight) is usually less expensive and fresher than processed or prepackaged foods. It’s more eco-friendly too. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I buy organic whenever it’s available, as I know it tastes better and my research shows it’s better for my family’s health.

Broccolini


This slender green stalked vegetable is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. All parts of it are edible. Eat it raw as a snack, use it to dip into olive tapenade, enjoy its crunchy texture in a salad, or steam it (retains nutrients this way). Serve in a hummus wrap, veggie stew, or portabella burger sandwich. This vegetable goes well with many foods, and adds a bright green splash of color, nourishment, and flavor to whatever you serve it with.
Broccolini may look like broccoli, but it’s a hybrid. Although you may see broccolini labelled “baby broccoli,” this is mislabeling and misleading.


Elements in broccolini help repair skin damage, thanks to an antioxidant glucoraphanin. It enables the skin to detoxify and repair itself. A small portion of broccolini (3 oz.) contains 20% of the DV (daily value) of Vitamin A, 140% of the DV for Vitamin C, and 8% of the DV for Calcium. It also has a high amount of potassium, magnesium, and calcium that help regulate blood pressure. The potassium in broccolini helps maintain a healthy nervous system, optimal brain function, and regular muscle growth.

My preferred method to cook it: Place a Dutch oven or pot made for steaming on the stove top and bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil. Arrange florets, stalks, and leaves that have been cut into bite size pieces evenly in a steamer basket, making sure the water does not seep into the bottom of the basket. Cover and steam for 3 to 4 minutes. Place cooked broccolini in a serving dish. Squeeze on fresh lemon juice. Then add salt, pepper, and sautéed minced garlic to taste (I used 2 cloves). Serve immediately. When broccolini marinates in the lemon juice, it will turn to grayish-brown. See more about how to keep the green in green vegetables.


Arugula


Arugula is a spicy tasting dark green leafy cruciferous vegetable, most frequently eaten raw as a salad green. This annual plant is commonly  known as rocket. It goes by the names of rucola, rucoli, rugula, colewort, and roquette too. Eating 2 cups of arugula provides 20 percent of the DV for vitamin A, over 50 percent of vitamin K, and 8 percent of vitamin C, folate, and 32 grams of calcium. If an all-arugula salad is too strong tasting for your palate, combine it with sweet tasting lettuce like red leaf, butter or Bibb lettuce, or fruit like oranges, mango, or watermelon. To illustrate how important it is to get enough calcium rich foods read information from the Cleveland Clinic about Why it May a Good idea to Increase Your Intake of Calcium. Also see Which Plant-based Foods Have the Most Calcium. Here's a treat: How to Create Flavorful, Filling, User Friendly Vegan Salads.


Zucchini


Zucchini or courgette is a mild tasting summer squash that’s low in calories. One medium zucchini makes about 1 ½ cups of raw slices. It has about 33 calories and is loaded with anti-inflammatory elements. The seeds are edible and contain many types of phytonutrients that help fight inflammation and oxidative stress. Much of zucchini’s antioxidant content is found within zucchini’s skin, so it’s a good idea not to peel your squash. Scrape the skin instead. 

Here’s one of my favorite recipes and pictures of what zucchini looks like when the skin has been scrapped. How to Make Zucchini Lasagna. Raw zucchini tastes delicious grated into a salad. Steam lightly as a veggie side with a drizzle of olive oil, or add it to ratatouille, a dish that combines zucchini with eggplant, tomatoes, and other summer veggies. Nowadays zucchini is the key ingredient that's spiralized into noodle recipes, but here's a much simpler recipe for Grilled-Zucchini-with-Herbed-Bread Crumbs.

This veggie grows on a vine, and multiplies in great profusion in a home garden or on a farm. This green squash (which technically is a fruit) is good for both your health and your figure. It contains no fat, low-sodium, and very low cholesterol. It’s a good source of plant protein. One medium zucchini contains 2 grams of protein. It has Vitamin A, Thiamin, Niacin, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber (2 grams), Vitamin C (56 % DV), Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6 (21 % DV), Folate, Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese.


Eat these green summer vegetables to reap big health and taste rewards. Also remember to eat other summer green produce like spinach, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, collards, chard, kale, broccoli, green lentils, dark leafy salad greens, parsley, celery, asparagus, string beans, and beet greens. It’s best to vary your selection to cover all your nutritional bases.

Please comment or share that you've been visiting. Did you see me at a blog party or when you surfed the Internet? I'd appreciate knowing, especially if you like what you see. Hopefully my post has helped you discover how many health benefits there are in eating broccolini, arugula, and zucchini. Has it given you ideas, tips, and motivation to prepare each? Do you have a favorite plant-based recipe using any of these ingredients? If you do and want me to consider using your recipe in a guest blog, please let me know.




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