Thursday, February 22, 2018
Cooking

Kale salad, coconut smoothie: healthy and delicious

WHO: Helen Barrott, 43, of Tierra Verde, a retired marketing consultant, wife and mother of two

WHAT: Kale Salad and Creamy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie for Two

ABOUT THE KALE SALAD: Healthy eating has always been a goal for Barrott, a vegetarian, especially after she read The China Study, a book on nutrition written by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II. She said she loves finding recipes that are healthy and delicious. "If you eat the way I eat for two weeks, there's no doubt you're going to feel better," she said.

This kale salad has everything I love in it: cucumbers, peppers, pomegranate seeds," she said. As a runner, she also appreciates the plant-based protein from the addition of hemp seeds.

ABOUT THE PUMPKIN SMOOTHIE: When Barrott discovered the recipe for this wholesome alternative to a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, she knew she'd found something delicious. "I can't even begin to tell you how good it is," she said. "It tastes like a pumpkin pie milk shake with whipped topping."

You don't have to wait until fall to treat yourself to this smoothie. Spiced with ginger and nutmeg, the ice-cold drink is a refreshing and guilt-free snack all year long. Although the original recipe calls for blackstrap molasses, Barrott eliminates that ingredient to save calories. If you want a less-sweet version, you can also cut down on the maple syrup.

ON THE SIDE FOR THE SALAD: She will make the salad her meal but if the family is eating with her, she'll make a vegetarian chili or a lean protein like grilled chicken or pork to go with it. She said she sometimes adds roasted, chopped-up sweet potatoes to the top of the salad to make it more substantial.

ON THE SIDE FOR THE SMOOTHIE: Homemade granola, or a chocolate chai cookie.

TIPS: The trick to a delicious salad is to massage the dressing into the leaves, then let it sit in the fridge for half an hour, she said. Although the recipe calls for avocado oil, she often skips that step and adds water or extra maple syrup instead. Sometimes she also puts half a teaspoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar in the salad to give it a little bite. To enhance the flavor, don't add the salt until right before you serve the salad, then toss one more time with your hands.

HOW TO EAT HEALTHY: The trick is to find out how to make a healthier version of the comfort food you're craving. "Let's figure out what it is, and we can make it healthier," she said. "The biggest thing is you can't think about what you want to eat five minutes before you eat it. You've got to have a plan."

FAVORITE THING TO COOK WITH: Parchment paper. Whether you're roasting chickpeas or baking cookies, everything comes out crispier if you put parchment paper on your baking sheet. For a great salad topping, you can brush olive oil on cooked chickpeas (although the olive oil is optional), put them on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, and bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Emily Young, Times correspondent

If you have a recipe that you would like featured, or would like to nominate other home cooks and their dishes, email [email protected] with a name and daytime phone number. Include SIGNATURE DISH in the subject line. Or mail to Taste, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

Comments
Explore mayo's upscale friend: aioli

Explore mayo's upscale friend: aioli

Mayonnaise does not have to be pedestrian. Mayonnaise, like life, is what you make of it. The link below is devoted to America’s love-hate relationship with the white stuff in the jar. Yours truly provides a defense for using it as a cooking a...
Published: 02/21/18
In defense of mayonnaise

In defense of mayonnaise

It weighed heavy, spread across my soul like a creamy white burial shroud. I would never admit it, not in a million years. My husband wondered, what was on the chicken? He ate it willingly, then enthusiastically. "I can never tell you." I sat quie...
Published: 02/21/18
Hide the cauliflower in this Mushroom and Cauliflower Frittata recipe

Hide the cauliflower in this Mushroom and Cauliflower Frittata recipe

Do I like cauliflower as much as the next guy? Well, no. It’s one of the cruciferous vegetables whose cooked aroma sends me running for the exit. But the oh-so-trendy riced variety, stirred into this frittata mix, works for me.Here’s why: Used raw, i...
Published: 02/20/18
Taste test: canned peeled tomatoes

Taste test: canned peeled tomatoes

On a recent cold night, my son asked for a bowl of tomato soup. I was preparing to run to the grocery store for a can or carton of soup to heat up when I realized I had 17 cans of whole tomatoes on the counter, ready for my tasting panel to sample. I...
Published: 02/20/18
Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Nothing says indulgence like noshing on some seriously giant Alaskan king crab legs. They’re not just tasty, they’re a low-fat source of protein: One leg has about 25 grams of protein and a host of vitamins and minerals (including sodium, incidentall...
Published: 02/15/18
Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

You’ve likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it. The most common variety in the United States is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly f...
Published: 02/15/18
Global flavors: Celebrate the Olympics with creative nacho recipes

Global flavors: Celebrate the Olympics with creative nacho recipes

The global experience that is the Olympics has returned, and that gives us a fun opportunity to learn about different countries and parts of the world while watching the triple axels and halfpipes.Food is one way to bring far-off places a little clos...
Published: 02/14/18
Sheet-Pan Chicken With Sweet Potatoes and Peppers recipe

Sheet-Pan Chicken With Sweet Potatoes and Peppers recipe

For most of the year, I hold to the notion that what grows together goes together, especially when it comes to mingling things on a sheet pan.Spring’s tender greens and shoots; summer’s juicy zucchini and tomatoes; fall’s pumpkins and Brussels sprout...
Published: 02/14/18
Five ideas for quick and easy Valentine’s Day desserts

Five ideas for quick and easy Valentine’s Day desserts

Busy crafting a nice dinner for yourself and your boo this evening? Don’t worry, we’ve got dessert covered. Here are five ideas for after-meal sweets, little morsels that come together quickly so you can focus on the main event. Michelle Stark, Times...
Published: 02/14/18

From the food editor: Seared Steaks With Peppers and Almonds are elegant and simple

If you buy good ingredients, half the work is already done. That may sound a little hokey, but it’s true and it’s the cooking advice I need to heed more often in my own kitchen.My husband and I are dining out on Valentine’s Day this year, something w...
Published: 02/13/18