|New food on aisle 3!|
New food on aisle 3!
By Alyssa Rolnick, RD
Sometimes we can get too set in our ways or are intimidated to try new things, especially when it comes to food. Take a look around your grocery store, visit an ethnic food shop, health-food outlet or stroll through your local farmers’ market for new vegetables, fruit and other foods you’ve never tried before. You can find recipes for almost anything from artichokes to tofu by searching the web, going to libraries or buying new cookbooks.
Try some of these heart-healthy foods and add variety to your diet and improve your overall nutrition.
Popular in Mediterranean cooking, fennel is a crunchy, sweet vegetable that tastes like a cross between celery, leeks with a slight licorice taste. Besides being low in calories and fat-free, it offers a good source of antioxidants, folate, potassium and some vitamin C. One serving of fennel is 125 mL (1/2 cup) raw. All of the parts of the fennel plant are edible, so choose ones that look clean and firm. The bulb should be pale whitish-green and the stalk and leaves should be brighter green. Add thin slices of the fennel bulb raw to liven up your salad, use the stalks and leaves in soups and stews, or sauté all parts with a little bit of olive or canola oil, garlic and mushrooms and enjoy. Other new vegetables you may wish to try: kale, swiss chard and bok choy.
Most often used as a fruit, rhubarb is actually a leafy vegetable. With its cherry-red stalks and bright green leaves, rhubarb is a source of calcium, vitamin C, and potassium: 250 mL (1 cup) diced, raw has 27 calories. Choose rhubarb with firm, well-coloured stalks and clean leaves. This vegetable is very tart, and only the stalks are edible as the leaves can be toxic. Rhubarb is mostly used in jams, sauces and desserts such as a rhubarb apple crisp from Anne Lindsay’s new cookbook, Lighthearted at Home. Other new fruit you may wish to try: starfruit, papaya and kiwi.
Pronounced keen-wa, this grain contains the highest amount of protein than any other and is considered a complete protein, which is beneficial for vegetarians. It is an excellent source of fibre (250 mL/1 cup equals 10 g), and a good source of magnesium and iron. Originally grown in the South American Andes, it has a creamy, somewhat crunchy texture and a slightly nutty flavour when cooked. Quinoa is quick and easy to prepare (it only takes about 10 minutes) and can be found in most local grocery and health-food stores. One serving equals 125 mL (½ cup). For breakfast, add cooked quinoa to your favourite yogurt or use it as porridge with fresh fruit. Add quinoa to soups or create a delicious meal with Anne Lindsay’s quinoa stuffed peppers. Other new grains you may wish to try: bulgur, buckwheat and whole-wheat couscous.
Edamame is the Japanese word for baby soybeans in the pod. A green Asian vegetable, edamame is often parboiled and quick-frozen to retain its flavour and freshness. You can usually find edamame in the frozen vegetable section of your local grocery store. Edamame is high in protein, calcium, vitamin A and fibre (125 mL/1/2 cup equals 9 g). It is mostly consumed as a snack, a vegetable dish or used in soups. The pods are lightly boiled or steamed in water, and then the beans are squeezed out of the pods to be eaten on their own or added to various dishes such as salads and stir-fries. Try our grilled salmon with red pepper and edamame recipe. Other beans you may wish to try: fava, pinto and lima.
Oat milk is made from oat groats (hulled grain broken into fragments), filtered water, and sometimes other grains. It is a good source of fibre (250 mL/1 cup equals 3 g) and contains vitamin E and phytochemicals. If you can’t find oat milk at your local grocery store, you can usually find it at a health-food store. Try to buy varieties that are fortified or enriched. It has a very mild flavour with just a bit of sweetness. In addition to drinking it straight from a glass, oat milk can be used with cereal, or in smoothies, baked goods, or lighter cream soups and sauces. Other beverages you may wish to try: soy, rice and almond.
Note: Milk alternatives are good for those who cannot tolerate milk, but should not be thought of as a milk substitute because most don’t contain enough protein.
Try our recipes from around the world for more inspiration.
Last reviewed: March 2011