Cinco De Mayo is right around the corner! I have put together a healthier unique twist on your traditional tacos with beans and rice. I wanted to be very creative with the ingredients so on the list for food is Spiced Tempeh and Shrimp Tacos with Zucchini Taco Shells, a Citrus Red Cabbage Slaw, Yellow Cauliflower Rice, Herbed Lentils with Peas and Tomatoes and a Grapefruit Granita.
Healthy Nutrition on Turmeric, Tempeh, Lentils and Flax Seed
Turmeric is a dried powdered spice made from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. It is used for culinary and medicinal purposes, as well as aesthetic ones. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family but is a relative to ginger and is also a major ingredient in Indian curries. In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs but produces no toxicity. Research suggests turmeric may also provide a well-tolerated and effective treatment for assisting in improved liver function and lowering cholesterol levels. But, its main roles is in its ability to preserve youthfulness and beauty. Components in turmeric arrest cellular aging by capturing free radicals that cause DNA damage and is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
Tempeh is a natural inexpensive plant based protein made from bean curd. It is fermented which increases the digestibility of soy and it also increase nutrient absorption from soy and the concentration of bio-active peptides formed during the breakdown of soy proteins during fermentation. It is best to stay away from soy in a highly-processed form, rather than a whole food form. It is believed a significant amount of possible health risks in the media are from consuming highly processed soy. Tempeh is a form of soy that is closer to soy in its whole food form. Always buy non-GMO and organic.
Lentils are a wonderful source of soluble fiber, protein, calcium and iron. One cup has a whopping 18 grams of easy to digest and assimilate plant protein. They are a staple ingredient in Indian cooking and combine well with many different seasonings. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that grabs bile and pushes it out of the body, whereas, insoluble fiber helps increase stool bulk and prevents constipation.
Flax Seeds need to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. They are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. The human body needs long-chain omega-3’s (EPA and DHA), which are found in salmon and other oily, cold water fish. Flax seeds are also a great source of fiber, and of lignans, compounds with beneficial estrogen-like effects that offer protection against breast and prostate cancer. Store the ground flax seeds in the refrigerator to avoid them going rancid.
Spiced Tempeh and Shrimp Taco Meat (makes 4 servings)
1 – 8 oz container of non-GMO organic Tempeh, Lightlife
½ - 1 pound of uncooked peeled and deveined shrimp
3 tsp of organic Mexican seasoning blend, any brand
1 tsp cumin
3 Tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil
Salt and pepper
Tempeh - Chop the tempeh into fine minced pieces. Add 2 Tbsp coconut oil to a large non-stick skillet. Add 2 tsp of the Mexican seasoning blend to pan and ½ tsp of cumin. Toast spices for 2 minutes on medium low heat. Then add the tempeh and let it cook on medium low for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Salt and pepper to taste and remove from pan. Enjoy!
Shrimp – add 1 Tbsp of coconut oil to a large non-stick skillet. Add 1 tsp of the Mexican seasoning blend and ½ tsp of cumin to shrimp. Massage spices into the shrimp. Sauté shrimp on each side for 3-4 minutes on medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan. Enjoy!
Citrus Red Cabbage Slaw (makes 4 servings)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp raw unfiltered honey
2 Tbsp Honey Mustard
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
½ cup unfiltered olive oil
2-3 cups Red Cabbage, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
Salt and pepper
Blend the lemon juice, orange juice, mustard, honey, basil, and some salt and pepper until smooth. Add the olive oil with the motor running until emulsified. Combine the cabbage and carrot in a large bowl; add half of the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. The longer it sits the better the flavors with meld. Can be made the day before. Enjoy!
*The leftover dressing can also be used to dress up the Cauliflower rice and Lentil dishes
Yellow Cauliflower Rice (makes 4 servings)
1 medium head of Cauliflower, core and stems removed, finely chopped/minced
1 spring onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
2 Tbsp vegetable broth
¾ tsp turmeric
Salt and pepper
Heat coconut oil in large non-stick skillet on medium low heat. Add the spring onion and garlic; sauté for 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower, turmeric and broth. Cook until warmed through about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan. Enjoy!
Herbed Lentils with Peas and Tomatoes (makes 4 servings)
1 cup red lentils
4 cups water
2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
2 Tbsp spring onion, chopped
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
¾ cup peas
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Place the lentils in a large pot with the water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer for about 30 minutes, until lentils are tender but still retain their shape. Drain the excess water from the lentils and set them aside. Heat the coconut oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Add the spring onions and cook until softened about 2 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, basil, mint, and peas to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Take off heat. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Zucchini Taco Shells (makes 6 GF shells)
1 cup grated zucchini packed and squeezed to remove zucchini juice-about 2-3 small zucchini
1 large egg, can also use egg substitute instead
5 Tbsp arrowroot flour packed
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 Tbsp coconut flour, organic
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp garlic salt or sea salt
¼ tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Wash zucchini and leave skin on. Using a box grater, grate the zucchini. Squeeze the extra zucchini juice with your hands. Discard the juice. Press the grated zucchini into a measuring cup until you reach 1 cup. In a mixing bowl add the zucchini, egg, arrowroot, coconut flour, flax seed, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix until combined. It will form a batter. Take about 1.5 Tbsp of batter and press the batter until thin on the baking sheet, shaping it into a round tortilla. Repeat until you have 6 round tortillas about 10 cm diameter. Put in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the tortilla is brown on the sides and they hold together. Let them cool down before removing from pan. Enjoy hot or cold!
Grapefruit Granita (makes 4 cups)
Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and simmer on medium low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool completely. Pour the sugar mixture and grapefruit juice into a flat-bottomed pan or glass baking dish; a 2 QT (7x11) or 3 QT (9x13) dish will work. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Once mixture is starting to freeze, stir mixture very thoroughly with a fork and allow to freeze for another 30 minutes. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for 3 to 4 hours. Make sure to mix the granita well every time, scraping down the sides. The idea is to prevent ice crystals from forming so you get a consistency like sorbet. Three hours will give you a good granita, but four hours will guarantee the consistency is smooth. Will hold for 24 hours. Enjoy!
*Grapefruit Granita Margarita - serve ½ - ¾ cup grapefruit granita in coupe glasses and top with a shot of your favorite tequila. Enjoy! Please drink responsibly.
To your health,