North Central New Jersey Edition
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Foods with Ap“peel”

Grab a kiwi and put down that vegetable peeler! This delicious fruit of New Zealand origin has sweet-tart green flesh with edible seeds hiding under an intimidating, fuzzy brown coat. People armed with vegetable peelers strip most kiwis, as many believe the skin is inedible. In fact, the skin is completely edible and quite nutritious. Leave the skin on and enjoy the benefits of triple the fiber and higher amounts of vitamin C than a naked kiwi.

The kiwi is not alone in its mission to be consumed with its peel intact. There are plenty of choices - just be sure you select organic produce whenever possible. Here are our choices for fruits and vegetables with edible peels:

Eggplant

The purple skin of eggplant contains abundant amounts of phytonutrients called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals looking to do damage in the body. Due to its toughness, it is best to cut the eggplant into small pieces or thinly slices before cooking. Try Farm Share Ratatouille, a recipe from Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RDN, one of our meal plan contributors. See recipe at HalsaNutrition.com/2016/09/farm-share-ratatouille.

Carrots

Reach for your vegetable brush instead of your peeler. Aesthetically, a peeled carrot might be more appealing, but there is no reason to remove the skin of most well-washed root vegetables. We don’t buy claims that “all the nutrition is in the peel” – this is simply not true. The fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins permeate the flesh. If the slight bitterness of the peel is off-putting to you, reserve unpeeled carrots for cooked dishes like soups and stews or roast the carrots. Cooking tempers the bitterness and brings out the sweetness of this vitamin A superhero. Try Roasted Carrots with Tahini Dressing as a delicious side dish. See recipe at LivingPlate.com.

Cucumbers

If purchasing your cucumbers from a grocery store instead of a farm market, give them a thorough washing with fruit and vegetable soap. A wax coating is often applied to preserve freshness in grocery stores. The deep green skin contains beta-carotene, vitamin K, and fiber, as well as silica, a compound that helps build collagen that is important for hair, skin, and bone health. English cucumbers have thinner skins and will be less bitter. We love using skin-on English cucumbers in our Favorite Gazpacho. See recipe at LivingPlate.com.

Citrus fruits

The zest of citrus fruits is very aromatic and imparts a citrus flavor without the sourness of the flesh. Add lemon zest to soups or orange zest to dressings as we do here with this meal plan favorite—Roasted Asparagus Quinoa Salad. See recipe at LivingPlate.com.

Watermelon Rind

Citrulline is an amino acid found in large amounts in the white part of the rind that may help promote blood flow and improve circulation. So eat through the sweet, juicy flesh right down to the tough outer skin or try this recipe for pickled watermelon rind with ginger—a perfect combination. See recipe at BonAppetit.com/recipe/pickled-watermelon-rind.

 

Recipes

ROASTED CARROTS WITH TAHINI DRESSING

2 lbs. carrots, peeled if desired and sliced in half lengthwise

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin

1  tsp. ground coriander

½  tsp. turmeric

Parchment paper

¼ c. tahini [sesame seed paste]

1 garlic clove [small], crushed

2 lemons

1 Tbs. nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese [see notes]

1 Tbs. olive oil

¼ c. warm water [plus more if needed]

¼  tsp. sea salt

¼  tsp. black pepper

¼ c. cilantro, chopped

2 Tbs. pumpkin seeds, raw

Prep:

1. Peel [if desired] and slice carrots.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F.

3. Juice lemon.

4. Chop cilantro.

Make:

1. Toss carrots with olive oil, salt and spices. Place carrots on parchment-lined baking sheets, making sure they are spaced apart.

2. Roast for about 30 minutes until soft and slightly browned.

3. Whisk together tahini, garlic, 4 Tbs. lemon juice, and nutritional yeast or cheese. Add olive oil and water, adding more water if needed to thin.

4. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

5. When carrots are done, remove from oven and place on plate.

     6. Drizzle with dressing and garnish with cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

 

FAVORITE GAZPACHO

2 hothouse cucumbers, seeded and chopped but not peeled

3 red peppers, cored, seeded and chopped

8 tomatoes, mixed heirloom, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through garlic press

6 cup quality tomato juice

½ cup sherry vinegar

½ cup quality extra virgin olive oil

sea salt to taste

PREP:

    Roughly chop cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, onion, and garlic.

MAKE:

1. Run each vegetable through food processor until finely chopped but not pureed. After each vegetable is processed, place in a large bowl and mix in balance of ingredients.

2. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Puree ½ of the soup and add back to bowl. Ladle into bowls and finish with some fresh herbs before serving.

Note: Fresh tomatoes can be used in place of tomato juice. Place about 6 tomatoes in blender and process until smooth. Pass through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove seeds and skins.

 

ROASTED ASPARAGUS AND QUINOA SALAD

1½ lbs. asparagus [about two bunches]

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 c. quinoa

2 c. vegetable broth or water

½ c. chopped almonds

1 Tbs. orange zest

3 ounces crumbled goat cheese [optional]

1/8 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 small oranges, juiced

3 Tbs. red wine vinegar

½ tsp. Dijon mustard

1/8 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Prep:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Chop almonds.

3. Zest orange - for 1 Tbs. zest.

4. Juice 2 oranges.

5. Trim touch ends from asparagus.

Make:

1. Toss asparagus and olive oil together in a bowl and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender and browned on the edges. Set aside.

2. Rinse quinoa well in a fine strainer under cold water. Transfer to a saucepan and add broth. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook 15 minutes or until broth has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, add the asparagus, quinoa, almonds, orange zest, salt and pepper. 4. In a jar, add all of the dressing ingredients - oil, orange juice, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Cover and shake until emulsified. Pour over salad ingredients and toss to coat. Serve!

 

Recipes courtisey of Living Plate. Visit at LivingPlate.com.

 

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