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My Path To Superfoods: Cauliflower Risotto Recipe and Book Review

More and more we have been hearing about superfoods and that we should eat more of them. The idea of a superfood may seem over the top, but Julie Morris, in her book Superfood Cuisine, does a magnificent job of explaining the benefits and efficiency of these nutrient-dense foods in an accessible way. Julie is a natural foods chef and healthy life advocate. Some of the foods we already eat (like berries and kale, for example) are considered to be a part of this group and some things, for me at least, I had never really heard of until I dug in...like lucuma powder; its derived from a deliciously sweet South American fruit that is high in beta-carotene, niacin and iron.

We have all heard and watched as the USDA changes it's food pyramid guidelines, extreme trend diets come and go and it can be a little overwhelming, sometimes even dumbfounding. When I was in college, I decided that I really needed to take responsibility for my health and stop listening to all the hype and decide for myself what was good for me - mind, body and spirit. It was ridiculous feeling like I had no energy at the ripe age of 21. It was big work to even get a short article written after lunch for my reporting class, and I seriously loved college, but simply could not rally. At one point after arriving home from a class, I remember looking around the kitchen and actually thinking to myself, "food doesn't even taste good so why am I in here." What a daunting thought. Coming from fast food and only a small amount of culinary knowledge I was left frustrated and with only one real choice. Bye-bye lean cuisine and dorm room microwave (follow the link to see what's actually inside these appliances). My knowledge of food simply had to be expanded.

From that place in my life to where I stand today (and probably till...well, forever), it has pretty much been pedal-to-the-metal speed on all things food. I pretty much think about how nutrients work within us and how to use nutritious ingredients all the time, no joke. It is a constant process of figuring out why some foods make me feel so terrible and weeding them out, then diving into the foods that have helped me feel better. Sometimes this means a hearty meal prepared with loved ones or a veggie saute with a poached egg for just one. It's not always easy and there is a ton of information (for better or worse) out there, it is probably the best topic available for the eternal student-insert obvious bias here. The point is that I was cooking and developing a life-long learning process. It is called nourishment for good reason.

The reason why I wanted to share this with you is because I know that taking on new eating habits or incorporating new ingredients can be challenging, if not for the home-cook..sometimes by the home-cook's family. But sometimes, for the sake of our health and loved ones, we have to switch it up.

Recently, I have fallen in love with many new "superfood" ingredients. Many small seeds, berries and powders that are so amazingly satisfying and delish. Although some can be pricey, I've really been able to see and feel a difference in my energy and balance. A trick I've learned is that if you sign up for newsletters or social media notices from companies that sell these delectables, you can help the pocket book with better deals and discounts - Navitas Naturals is a good place to start.

I've also found great guidance from Julie's book - the first quarter of the book explains her story, what superfoods are, how to put together a pantry AND talks about what the eating experience actually should be in great detail. She, too, can deeply relate to spending your younger years feeling ill from not-so-good food habits. Perhaps this is another reason I am drawn to this book, the author and the yummy/nutritious foods path.

Ok, back to the beginning: what are superfoods?

Superfoods are an array of the most nutrient-dense ingredients on the earth. They hold high levels of healing properties and energizing abilities. They have been renowned world wide within ancient civilizations for these exact qualities. Think about how just a few years back, many people were not really familiar with quinoa and now it's everywhere! And way more accessible. Well, quinoa is a superfood and known as an ancient grain. There are many of these ingredients available and just waiting to be taken for a test-spin or to make more frequent visits to your pantry - goldenberries, wheatgrass, dark leafy greens, goji berries, pomegranate, sea vegetables...there are so many to pick from that I can't wait to pick my next test subject. Sometimes I just toss a small handful of hemp or chia seeds into my morning smoothie or atop my salad--so easy.

One of my favorite recipes from the book is the Cauliflower Risotto (pictured above, recipe below). The dish has no dairy and only quinoa for a grain, the cauliflower is ground up to serve as the rice base. It's clean and citrusy superb.

*****

Cauliflower Risotto

- 1 leek
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 T coconut oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 T tahini
- 1 T nutritional yeast
- 1 T miso paste
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 T lemon juice
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1/2 T dulse flakes
- 1-2 T chopped fresh parsley, flat leaf
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Cut the roots off of the leek and trim to white parts only, then slice in half lengthwise. Place the halves cut side down in a small bowl of water four a couple minutes to remove any sand. Remove the cleaned leeks and slice thinly. Next, trim the cauliflower to the florets, discard fibrous stem. Place the florets into a food processor and mill into tiny pieces (about the size of rice). Set the vegetables aside.

In a large frying pan, heat about a 1/2 T coconut oil over medium heat. Add the leaks and the garlic, and saute for 2 minutes to wilt the leeks. Stir in the cauliflower, then cook the mixture for about 5 minutes to remove some of the moisture and soften, stirring occasionally. While the cauliflower is cooking, whisk together the tahini, nutritional yeast, miso paste, and vegetable broth in a medium bowl.

When the cauliflower is cooked through, add the quinoa and pour in the whisked vegetable broth mixture. Mix well. Bring this "risotto" to a simmer and cook until all the excess liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice, hemp seeds, 1/2 T coconut oil and dulse flakes. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve warm.

For more information on the above mentioned book, please visit the author's website at juliemorris.net or check her out on twitter @greenjules. And don't forget to comment below to enter the giveaway.

 

´╗┐Rachel Huntzicker is a writer and yogi. Rachel has a big love for cooking and recipe development with an emphasis on the food-to-mood connection. Rachel is the executive assistant to the editor in chief at Experience Life magazine. She is an honors graduate of the University of Minnesota, School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Rachel currently resides in Saint Paul with her two dogs, Mango and Maple and is a proud member-owner of the Seward co-op. You can find more from Rachel on her blog Minneapple Pie.´╗┐ Her last article for SGT was: A Tropical Staycation.