Tag Archives: Healthy Food

A beautiful, spicy salad with COUSCOUS Pearls

It started with the spotting of whole wheat pearl couscous in the aisles of Wegmans, the familiar packaging of Bob’s Red Mill grains beckoning me. I have never cooked with pearl couscous before, but the idea of turning these beautiful grains into a healthy lunch sounded good. I looked up a few recipes that used regular couscous and decided to throw together things in my fridge and pantry to create this wonderful, deeply satisfying salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pearl couscous
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 14 cherry tomatoes
  • 8-10 nuts of your choice (I used leftover macademia nuts)
  • 2 tbps raisins or craisins (I used craisins)
  • 2 tsps ras el hanout (a north African spice mix available on Amazon)
  • 2 green chilis finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon

How to:

  1. Roast the couscous in a pan for 10 minutes till light brown and set aside.

  2. Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil, add the roasted couscous and salt and cook over a low flame till the couscous is cooked and the water has evaporated. This took me about 12 minutes.

  3. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl.

  4. Heat 2 tbsps of oil in the pan that you used to cook the couscous, add the chopped onions and sauté till the onions turn brown. Add the cherry tomatoes, nuts, raisins and ras el hanout and toss till the tomatoes are coated with the spice.

  5. Turn off the heat and toss the onion mix into the cooked couscous.

  6. Now add the chilies, cilantro, parsley and lemon juice. Give the contents another toss and serve warm or at room temperature.


    Note: If your tolerance for spices is low, cut back the ras el hanout to one tsp and use one chili instead.

Easy, Fluffy, Pillowy, homemade gnocchi

I have been in love with gnocchi for a very, very long time. In fact, I craved these little pasta clouds of potato and flour served with tomato sauce throughout a pregnancy. But till recently, my love for gnocchi was satiated by buying the best Italian brands on supermarket shelves and eating it on my forays into Italian restaurants. But just recently, I decided to make these on my own. The process is easy (albeit a little messy), but feels at every moment like you are creating a work of art. I am so in love with this home made version that I have sworn to never really buy gnocchi ever again. Okay, with that said, here’s how I created these divine works of art.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1/3 heaped cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp of kosher salt

How to:

1. Wash the potatoes, scrub them and pierce holes. Cook in a microwave at the potato setting till completely cooked. Peel the potatoes and rice them in a ricer over a wooden board. If you don’t have a river, you can grate the potatoes with a grater that has small holes. Spread the potatoes over the board using a fork. Sprinkle the kosher salt. 

2. Sprinkle or sift the flour over the potatoes and using a bench scraper just chop all over the potato/ flour mixture.  Gather the mixture into a ball. Flatten the ball with your hands, bring the ends of the dough together and press it down again. Just repeat this gently till the potato flour mixture is seamlessly blended. 

3. Dust the work area with more flour, pinch off two inch rounds of dough and gently roll it into a rope. Cut into one inch pieces using a knife and lay down each gnocchi on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Once all the gnocchi are made, press down the surface of each gnocchi with a fork to create ridges that will help the sauce cling to to the pasta well. 

4. Repeat process till all the dough is used up. 

5. Freeze tray of gnocchi for 15 minutes.  

6. Now you could bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the gnocchi and cook just for a minute or two till the gnocchi floats to the top or alternately use my preferred method and sauté the gnocchi in a bit of butter or oil till they are moderately browned. 

7. Serve with your favorite sauce. 

Naked Pizza- A Guiltless Venture for the Taste Buds

Naked Pizza Crust Menu
(http://nakedpizza.biz/)

By Siddhi: 

Since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the beginning of the year, the search for gluten-free pizza that tastes and feels like the real deal as opposed to just a bland attempt at reproducing its wheat based counterparts has been a tough quest. Throughout spring semester of college in New York, I searched for a pizza experience that would make me forget that I had a gluten allergy because the food so authentic. I ended up eating at a handful of Italian restaurants that had a Celiac-friendly menu. But it was only when I got back home to Princeton to that I discovered that a franchise that had recently exploded on the health food scene made my gluten-free pizza experience worth every penny.

Founded in New Orleans, Naked Pizza now has 450 locations and markets itself on four key health benefits: digestive health, bone health, weight management, and glycemic response. There are no preservatives or additives in any of the food and the doughs made of over ten different grains capitalize on the nutrient value of the multigrain approach. Every pizza has prebiotics and heat-immune probiotics and promise a high-protein and low-fat alternative to the other pizzas on the commercial food market. Basically, all the scientific terminology aside, it’s the healthiest your pizza can get when you’re not making it at home.

You can choose your pie in one of three sizes (10 inch, 12 inch, or 14 inch) and one of three crust types (the original Ancestral blend made of ten grains with tomato and mozzarella, the skinny version of the Ancestral blend, and the gluten-free crust). Once you’ve chosen your base, you can choose your toppings, including a delicious set of farmers market fresh tasting vegetables. There are also several menu choices pre-customized with toppings that you can decide from. The “cheesy breadsixx” side isn’t gluten-free, but the spinach salad is of course a safe option and rings with the flavor of blush wine vinaigrette and incredible bell peppers.

I am fairly health conscious, and Naked has been one of the only pizza manufacturers to date that doesn’t give me the post-meal feeling of carrying a ton of lead around in my stomach. In fact, even after scarfing down half a pie of Naked, I feel totally refreshed and can go for a long bike ride without feeling any the unpleasant after effects of oil or cheese weighing me down.

Eating pizza tends to be a universally glorious experience when you’re really, really craving it. In a society with an ever-escalating emphasis on eating right, it’s truly a gift to be able to take the guilt out of eating pizza and enjoy it as a healthy meal rather than an indulgence.

To learn more about Naked Pizza and find a franchise near you, visit their site here:

www.nakedpizza.biz