Mixed Beans with Avocado, Pomegranate & Wilted Spinach

img_2566We had a pomegranate and some spinach in our organic veg box that needed using, as well as some homegrown mung bean sprouts,* and this is what I came up with.

This is such a colourful, nutritious and satisfying salad, full of antioxidants, protein, fibre, B viamins, minerals and healthy fats.

Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic where possible.

Ingredients

Romaine lettuce leaves

Thinly Sliced Cucumber

Grated Carrot

Sliced ripe Avocado

Spinach

Tinned Mixed Beans, drained and rinsed

Mung bean sprouts (or any other sprouted beans or seeds, but not the commercially packed long beansprouts)

(See * Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment!  For how to make homegrown sprouts and their benefits)

Pomegranate seeds*

Tamari and Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Black Pepper

Method

Arrange the torn Romaine leaves around the plate, leaving a space in the centre

Place the thin cucumber slices, then the grated carrot and avocado slices on top around the circle

Lightly warm the beans, stirring gently to prevent them sticking or over-heating, and gently wilt the spinach – this releases the iron in the spinach and makes it more bio-available.

Arrange them in the centre

A few twists of black pepper over the salad

Pour over some Tamari & Olive Oil Dressing

Scatter the Pomegranate Seeds around the beans**

Top with beansprouts

**To remove the seeds, gently roll the whole fruit between your hands, cut in half, invert over a bowl and whack the end with a wooden spoon. If it’s ripe, the seeds should fall out. Otherwise, scoop them out with a metal spoon. See The Healing Powers of Pomegranate + Recipes for the health benefits of this bejewelled fruit.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

The Healing Powers of Pomegranate + Recipes

img_2392There has been some debate of late as to whether pomegranates should be added to the list of so-called superfoods, those foods which are believed to help prevent, heal and recover from disease due to their powerful nutritional content. Studies both in labs, in test tubes and on small groups of humans show promising results. Many people now believe adding pomegranate to your diet can be nothing but beneficial in the prevention and treatment of chronic lifestyle diseases like Type II diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, weight gain, clogged arteries, certain cancers and so on.

Pomegranates are berries which grow on a small shrub and it is the bright seeds which are eaten or juiced, the flesh and peel being tough and inedible.

These jewelled fruits are high in antioxidants, coming in at a massive 3 x those found in red wine and green tea, they are good sources of Vitamin A, C, and K, potassium, B5 and other B Complex compounds as well as being high in soluble and insoluble fibre. This makes pomegranates an effective anti-inflammatory weapon to help protect against asthma, arthritis, breast and colon cancers and diseases of the digestive tract.

Some studies indicate that daily pomegranate juice (unsweetened) may lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and increase blood circulation and even reduce accumulated fat in arteries. It is also suggested this regimen can benefit heart patients by improving heart function and boosting immunity.

Due to its fat-clearing and anti-inflammatory properties, pomegranates can also help with weight loss as the fibre content helps reduce extra fat deposits and keep bowel movements regular.

All in all, this berry appears to lift above its weight in terms of nutritional and health benefits, so how do we use it?

img_2394I only recently started using pomegranates so I am still a novice, I have so far sprinkled the seeds on porridge on salad and in a smoothie.

This porridge bowl makes an excellent  start to the day or if you prefer a lighter breakfast of juice or smoothie, you could have this later as I do and it will keep you going for hours.

This breakfast contains protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, healthy fats, probiotics for a healthy gut and lots of vitamins and minerals.

All ingredients are organic, vegan and glutenfree.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Porridge Oats

21/2 Cups Non-dairy Milk (I had homemade almond milk, see How To Make Almond Milk)

A Small Handful of Cashew pieces (presoaked if you have time, to make them easier to digest. Swap for seeds or tiger nuts if you are nut-free)

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Tbsp Lucuma Powder* (it has a mildly malted flavour and is full of nutrients)

Seeds from Half a Pomegranate

Small Handful of Goji Berries*

1 Heaped Tbsp CoYo Coconut (ie non-dairy) Live Yogurt

Cook the oats in the milk on a medium heat, stirring to prevent lumps and sticking, when it’s nearly done add the cashews and mix in well

Remove from heat, add the chia seeds and lucuma powder, stirring well

Pour into a bowl and top with pomegranate seeds, goji berries and yogurt.

Of course, you could be really adventurous and try my Cauliflower Oats (Don’t Laugh, It’s a Thing!) with peanut butter, banana and pomegranate seeds!

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*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Cauliflower Oats (Don’t Laugh, It’s a Thing!)

imageNo really.

I know, you thought courgette (zucchini) oats and beetroot oats were pushing it, but Rachel at Healthy and Psyched raised the bar considerably: she challenged me to try cauliflower oats and I am pleased to say I not only rose to that challenge, I reached the bar and leapt over it!

I know it’s weird, but if you change your perspective a little and see oats in the same way as, say, rice which you have either savoury (risotto) or sweet (rice pudding), or even a mixture of both – we put raisins or dried apricots in some rice meals – then it’s not quite so odd.

Not convinced?

Look at the photo, it’s sweet and fruity and has peanut butter too – I love cauliflower with peanut butter (we put it in a casserole with cauliflower and cashews) – and peanut butter goes well with banana too.

You can use whatever berries you want, Rachel used blueberries, I thought raspberries would go well but there was half a pomegranate to use up, so in it went. You could add cacao, if liked.

Cauliflower is a good source of B Vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C; peanut butter and oats also have B Vitamins and protein and more magnesium in the oats – necessary for healthy muscles, preventing cramps, keeping you calm – and the nut milks are equally nutritious as well as sweet and creamy. Pomegranate is a nutritional superfood, with plenty of phytochemicals that help reduce blood pressure. The whole bowl is filled with dietary fibre.

Here goes for the  first attempt: All ingredients are organic (except pomegranate), vegan and gluten-free.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Oats

3/4 Cup Boiling Water

1/4 Small Cauliflower, grated

1/2 large Banana

1 Medjool Date, chopped

1/2 Cup Tiger Nut Milk or Almond Milk (click links to make your own)

1/4 Pomegranate or Berries

1 Tbsp Peanut Butter

A few Slices of Banana to Serve

Method

Soak the oats in the boiling water in a saucepan for a few minutes while you prepare the cauli and get everything else ready.

Add the grated cauli, the banana, the chopped date and the milk

This bit is important:

Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, to ensure the cauli is cooked.

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(If you’d like it extra smooth, you could blend it with a stick blender)

Pour into a bowl either on top of frozen berries of your choice, or just add fresh berries, peanut butter and slices of banana for the topping in whatever fashion your creative juices dictate.

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It really works! Go on, who’s going to be first to give it a go? If it makes it easier, adding the cauliflower gives you 1 of your 5 a day veg and it is soooo filling – this bowl filled me up until mid-afternoon. It’s far more than I would normally eat that early in the day.

I said to my husband that there was enough for two, but he didn’t take me up on it, he suddenly remembered he had a bike to fix!

Copyright: Chris McGowan