Posts Tagged ‘ Cilantro ’

Fried Plantains with Cilantro Pesto

Did you know that cilantro has some really great health benefits?  I didn’t know just how healthy it is until this morning.  It is rich in phytonutrients and flavonoids.  It’s also very high in vitamin A and lutein.  Cilantro has some excellent health benefits which include:

  • Powerful anti-inflammatory capacities that may help symptoms of arthritis
  • Protective agents against bacterial infection from Salmonella in food products
  • Acts to increase HDL cholesterol (good), and reduces LDL cholesterol (bad)
  • Relief for stomach gas, prevention of flatulence and an overall digestive aid
  • Wards off urinary tract infections
  • Helps reduce feelings of nausea
  • Eases hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation & reduces cramping
  • Adds fiber to the digestive tract
  • Helps promote healthy liver function
  • Disinfects and helps detoxify the body
  • Helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar

The other day I watched Food Networks $10 Dinners where host Melissa D’Arabian.  She made a Quinoa Lentil salad and Cilantro Pesto Shrimp.  As soon as I see a protein like shrimp I think it will be easy to substitute with some grilled or baked tofu and turn it into a veg meal.  Since I had tofu with black bean sauce at a local restaurant Sunday night I decided to switch it up and try this with some fried plantains instead.

I’ve been meaning to cook with plantains and this gave me a great opportunity to do so.  Both plantains and cilantro and well known ingredients in Latin cooking so I was sure they’d compliment each other very well.  For my husband I grilled a few shrimp so he had a version closer to the original recipe.

Melissa D.’s Lentil Quinoa salad looks very similar to my Summer Quinoa Salad so I made an adaptation of that and added some lentils to the original recipe.  This complimented the plantains very well and was a super healthy protein rich dinner.  It is also vegan and gluten free! This can easily double as an appetizer and will  be a delicious meal to pack up and take to work for lunch today.

Ingredients for Fried Plantains

2 ripe plantains cut into 1″ rounds

Oil for frying

Salt, Pepper

Bowl of cold water with several ice cubes

Directions

Heat oil in a skillet and fry plantain rounds for 2-3 minutes per side, remove from the pan and flatten each round with a glass or wooden spatula, place then in the icy water for 1 minute, towel dry to remove excess water and then return to the pan and fry for 1 more minute on each side, remove from heat and season

Cilantro Pesto Ingredients

1 large bunch of cilantro rinsed, dried, with stems removed

1/3- 1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 white onion

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves

juice from 1/2- 1 whole lime

1/4- 1/2 cup oil, I used a mix of olive and canola

salt, pepper

Directions

Place nuts in food processor and chop, add in all other ingredients including 1/2 the oil and pulse, scrape down the bowl  as needed, and add the rest of the oil until desired consistency

Inspirations for this post:

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/cilantro.html

http://www.foodnetwork.com/ten-dollar-dinners-with-melissa-darabian/shrimpy-spending/index.html

Have a peaceful day, Lin

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Pumpkin Black bean soup is one of my favorite comfort foods.  I go this recipe out of a 15 minute meal cookbook.  After making a few changes to the recipe it can still be put together and served within 30 minutes.  The extra 15 minutes means more chopped and saute’d veggies which equals more flavor.  I realize it’s not quite the season for canned pumpkin but  I’m hoping people are as crazy as me and stock up on it during the fall for the rest of the year.  My daughter made this using fresh pureed butternut squash in place of the canned pumpkin and had very good results.

  • 2 15 ounce cans of black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 red or green pepper chopped
  • A few celery stalks chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (be sure it’s pure pumpkin not pie mix!)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • ¼ chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (optional)

Saute onion, pepper, and celery in olive oil until translucent.  Add garlic and seasoning and sauté for another minute.  Add broth and black beans and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Lower heat to medium and add in pumpkin puree.  Stir until well blended and simmer a few minutes.  Stir in lime juice.

When serving sprinkle fresh cilantro on top of the bowl.