Vegetable side dishes should be an important part of your Peace Diet. Steamed vegetables are easy to prepare and are a versatile way to add taste, healthfulness and color to your meal. There are several techniques for steaming, including a bamboo basket over boiling water a metal steamer over boiling water, or a modern electric steamer that is compact, low cost, has a timer, and makes your steaming foolproof. Vegetables can also be baked or sautéed depending on the type of vegetable. Whatever form your vegetables take, they are surprisingly rich in nutrients.
Here’s some information about a few vegetables; it’s fairly representative of the nutrient value of vegetables in general:
•Cauliflower – This cruciferous vegetable, popular for the way it blends and enhances the food it is cooked with, is very high in vitamin C but extremely low in calories and has no fat.
•Broccoli – Another cruciferous vegetable, broccoli is so versatile it can be used in salads, side dishes, soups, stir-frys, or dips. It enhances the other ingredients it is served with, while providing vitamin A, C, calcium, fiber, phytonutrients, and very low calories.
•Carrots – This vegetable may be taken for granted, but it is packed with vitamin A (betacarotene), which is so good for the eyes. Its soluble fiber is good for cholesterol as well.
Some steamed vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, julienned carrots, zucchini squash, and so on, are especially good with dipping sauces. These same vegetables may be sliced and used raw, too. Use the sauces above to dip them in, experiment with a variety of them.
You'll find that turning your vegetable dishes into wholesome easy snacks - whether raw or steamed - is one of the easiest ways for you to get your several servings of vegetables per day. Try sauces to give your vegetables variety. You'll find several sauces in the Kebab section (p. 173) of these recipes. You can also try the salad dressings for dips as well.
Recipe #1: Spicy Szechuan Eggplant
1½ lbs. Eggplant, peeled and cut into 3" strips 1C Chinese wood ear fungus (or shiitake straw, or other mushrooms), soaked and sliced into strips Canola oil cooking spray
Garlic Sauce: ¼C Soy sauce 1 Tbsp. Honey 1 Tbsp. Distilled white vinegar 1 Tbsp. Corn starch 2 red Chili Peppers, minced 2 slices Ginger, minced 2 cloves Garlic, minced
Mix all sauce ingredients and set aside. Spray pan with oil. Sauté eggplant over medium flame until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Combine sauce for 1 minute with eggplant and fungus. Makes 4 portions. (1 portion = 148 calories, 1.0 grams fat, 15% protein, 79% carbohydrates, 5% fat)
Recipe #2: Melt-In-Your-Mouth Kabocha Squash
1 Kabocha or acorn squash Cut the kabocha squash into 4" squares or cleaned acorn squash in quarters. Place on a baking pan with a tiny bit of water and bake at 350o F. until tender (about an hour). Makes 2 portions. (1 portion = 115.0 calories, 0.290 grams fat, 7% protein, 91% carbohydrates, 2% fat)
For a little zing, try adding a tablespoon of miso and a teaspoon of sweetener such as barley malt.
∇ Remember, you can eat the skin and all, so wash it well before you prepare it.