Tag Archives: vegetable

All About Asparagus

1 Jun


Asparagus officinalis, or simply asparagus, is a flowering perennial and cousin to garlic and onion. Native to Africa, Asia and Europe, asparagus is not only enjoyed as food but is also used in medicine due, in part, to its diuretic properties (source).

Grown in saline soils, asparagus crowns are planted in winter, and shoots begin to peek out of the soil in spring. White asparagus, which is the same botanical variety as green asparagus, obtains its color via a blanching process, which involves covering the growing shoots with soil in order to prevent photosynthesis from occurring. The result is a pale, less bitter, tender shoot sometimes referred to as “the royal vegetable.” Purple asparagus differs from the green and white varieties in that not only is it a different color, it was developed by means of a different process. Asparagus is typically cultivated when young, otherwise the shoots can become woody in texture.

Providing a plethora of nutrients, asparagus is a very good source of beta-carotene, chromium, copper, dietary fiber, iron, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, protein, riboflavin, rutin, selenium, thiamine and vitamins C, E and K. Also a good source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and zinc, asparagus is low in calories and sodium, and is made up of approximately 93% water (source).

Asparagus is very easy to prepare. Simply spray it with a light coating of oil, sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, then bake in the oven until crisp tender.

Interesting fact: In Turkish, asparagus is called “kuşkonmaz,” which literally translates to “bird can’t land.” This is in reference to the shape of the vegetable.


Wonton Vegetable Soup

14 Feb

A wonton is a type of dumpling commonly found in Chinese cuisine. Typically fried or boiled in soup, wontons are prepared by placing filling inside of thin, flat pieces of dough, which are folded over and sealed. The shape of wontons vary by region, but are often found as triangles.

Bok choy (also known as pak-choi), a type of Chinese cabbage, is a low-calorie food providing a healthy dose of nutrients. 1 cup boiled bok choy provides 18% DV Potassium, 144% Vitamin A, 15% Calcium, 73% Vitamin C and 15% Vitamin B6, all in just 20 calories (source).

The high amount of Vitamin A contained in bok choy plays an essential role in healthy vision, bone growth, and immune and reproduction system function. This vitamin, often referred to as retinoids, is found naturally in both animal and plant sources, however, animal-derived Vitamin A is fat-soluble and can build up in the body, becoming toxic. Plant-derived Vitamin A, however, is water-soluble and does not build up in the body, therefore toxicity is rare (source).

The wontons below encompass a savory tofu filling and are cooked in a light vegetable broth, which is full of bok choy, carrots, baby corn, mushrooms and green onion.

Vegetable Wonton Soup

Wonton Vegetable Soup

8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry and crumbled
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon soy sauce
fresh cracked black pepper
1/3 (12-ounce) package round dumpling wrappers*

12 cups water
3 tablespoons vegan vegetable bouillon paste (I use Better Than Bouillon)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 medium-size carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 heads bok choy, washed and sliced
1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms of choice, cleaned
8 ounces baby corn, drained
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Begin with wontons by placing tofu, garlic, soy sauce and pepper in a bowl. Mix with a fork until thoroughly combined.

Place a dumpling wrapper on a clean, flat surface and spoon approximately 1 tablespoon tofu mixture into the center. Moisten edges of wrapper with water and fold to form a half-moon. Seal wonton by carefully pressing around filling and edges to remove as much air as possible. Continue process until filling is used up. Set aside.

For the soup, bring water to a boil and stir in vegetable bouillon paste until dissolved. Add ginger, carrots, bok choy and mushrooms, reduce heat to low and cover, allowing to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add prepared wontons to pot and replace lid, continuing to simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Finally, add baby corn and green onions, replace lid and simmer for 1-2 additional minutes, or until wontons and vegetables are tender. Serve hot or warm.

* Dumpling and wonton wrappers often contain egg, so it is important to read the ingredients, ensuring that the wrappers are vegan.

Easy Vegetable Broth: Did You Know?

2 Dec

Ever wondered what to do with the vegetable pieces that you don’t use?

Vegetable Broth

Make vegetable broth!

Not only is vegetable broth easy to make, it is also inexpensive and can be healthier than the store-bought varieties. Instead of throwing away the typically discarded ends, leaves, and other pieces of vegetables, add them to a large pot along with plenty of water and the seasonings of your choice. Boil for an hour, drain and discard the solid pieces. Voila! You’ve got homemade vegetable broth!

The cool thing about this is that you can use nearly any vegetables* of your choosing. Furthermore, you can add nutritional value to your broth by adding 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, and for more flavor, a little salt. Garlic and onion can also be used.

*Use vegetable pieces that are fresh with no signs of decay or rot, and avoid those with strong, overpowering flavors such as cabbage.

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