Not to worry, my fashion-forward friends…I’m not dishing wardrobe advice today…or any day for that matter. You see, I’m the quintessential break-all-the-fashion-rules kind of girl. I wear white before Memorial Day, I’ll wear a white cotton Jockey undershirt with a business suit, and yes, I’ve even been known to wear white gym shorts to yoga class from time to time. Ghastly!
Today however, I’m doing right by going white—as in white veggies—over my beloved “greens.”
Did you hear?
Researchers have found that white fruits and vegetables may significantly lower the risk of stroke. It was reported in a recent article in Well Being Journal that Dutch scientists have determined that by eating at least 171 grams per day of white fruits or vegetables (that’s the size of a medium to large apple) we can reduce our chances of having a stroke.
So, we’re all familiar with the common white fruits and vegetables: apples, pears, cucumbers, and cauliflower. But here are a few not-so-typical white veggies that are making my crudité platter this week.
Fennel, Daikon Radish, and Jicama
- For centuries fennel has been used as a food, medicine, and an herb.
- In ancient Greece, fennel was important in the celebration of gods and goddesses. Worshippers wore crowns made of the feathery leaves.
- Fennel has a clean anise, or licorice flavor.
- The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans believed fennel was an excellent aid for digestion, bronchial troubles, poor eyesight, and nervous conditions.
- In India today, fennel seed is used for seasoning as well as chewed after a meal as a breath freshener and digestive aid.
- It is low in calories.
- Fennel contains significant amounts of vitamin A and calcium, potassium, and iron.
- Wash fennel bulb, trim off the stalk, and remove the bulb’s tough outer layer.
- Substitute fennel for celery in most any recipe.
- Cut fennel into quarters, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 350 degrees on a sheet pan for about 35 minutes or until tender.
- Cut fennel into slices and use on your crudite platter. Dip in a small bowl of extra-virgin olive oil seasoned with sea salt and a fresh herb of your choice. Try rosemary in the olive oil. It’s reminiscent of the Mediterranean. Yum!
- Daikon is a member of a group of the Asian variety of radishes.
- It resembles a large white carrot.
- In Japan, Daikon is eaten raw, cooked, or pickled.
- Daikon has a similar taste to the common small red radish.
- Daikon (as with all radishes) is 94% water and contains potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron.
- The greens of the radish are an excellent source of B vitamins, as well as vitamins A and C.
- It is beneficial as a blood cleanser and a digestive aid.
- Daikon works as a natural diuretic and also cuts through fat in foods. (It’s often grated into the dipping sauce that is served alongside tempura.)
- Enjoy daikon raw on your crudité platter.
- Grate daikon into salads and slaws as you would a carrot.
- Use it in soups and stews as you would a turnip.
- Add chopped daikon into your stir-fries.
- Toss radish greens into soups and stir-fries.
- If greens are young and tender, they can be tossed into a green salad.
- Jicama is pronounced “hee ke ma.”
- It is a native to Mexico, and Central and South America.
- It’s used as a staple in these countries.
- Jicama belongs to the legume or bean family.
- Jicama tastes like a cross between an apple, pear, and potato.
- It’s crisp, sweet, and nutty.
- It’s high in vitamin C, low in sodium, and has no fat.
- Peel away and discard the fibrous skin.
- Because jicama is slow to discolor when exposed to the open air, it works well served raw on a crudité platter.
- It’s tasty when sprinkled with a little lime juice and chili powder.
- Use jicama in stir-fries, stews, or sautéed with other vegetables.
- Cooked jicama takes on the flavors of other ingredients used.
Here is one of our favorite dinners, using jicama as part of a slaw.
The recipe comes from The Family Dinner by Laurie David. She is the producer of An Inconvenient Truth, and Larry David’s ex-wife. It’s a fabulous cookbook combining practical, real life lessons on ways to heal our families, our environment, and our souls…all beginning with eating dinner together as a family.
Tasty, Tangy Shrimp Tostada
Laurie says, “Here is a great quick dinner with no “cooking” involved. Just throw all of the ingredients together and put them in bowls on the table. Let your family “stack” their own tostadas.”
For the Citrus Shrimp
1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped red pepper
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno, seeds and white pith removed (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint and cilantro (optional)
For the Cabbage Salad
½ small white cabbage, finely shredded
1 small jicama or 1 medium-size seeded hot house cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
Chopped fresh mint and cilantro (optional)
For the Fixings
Tostada shells or tortilla chips
Limes, cut in half
A drizzle of Mexican crema or sour crème
1. Mix all of the ingredients for the citrus shrimp together in a bowl and put this into the fridge for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, mix together all the ingredients for the cabbage salad.
3. Place a tostada shell or tortilla chips on a plate.
4. Top with the cabbage salad, then a layer of the shrimp.
5. Add a dollop of guacamole, tomato salsa, and sour cream, if you’d like.
You can also make these for an hors d’oeuvre.
So, my wild, white vegetable-eating warriors, I hope you give some of these not-so-typical white vegetables a try. They’re truly not as frightening as they seem, and really good for you, too. Who knows, maybe one of them will become a regular on the crudité platter that you’re making each week.
Until Next Time,