By Michelle Nowicki, Nutritionist
This nutrient dense vegan dish is high in protein, high in fiber, and is gluten free. It is also very versatile and can be served warm or cold as a side dish or a main course. Raw kale is an acquired taste for some. The lemon juice in this recipe will help to tenderize the kale, but you can always steam the kale if you prefer a more wilted version. Enjoy!
- 1/2 bunch Dino kale, julienned
- Lemon juice from a whole lemon
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- Kernels from 2 cooked ears of fresh corn (~2 cups)
- 1- 15oz can black beans, drained (or make your own)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Lemon or lime slices to garnish
- Toss the kale with the lemon juice and let sit.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and sauté until lightly browned. Add the cumin and cayenne pepper and mix thoroughly.
- Mix in the quinoa, corn, and black beans. Continue to heat until warm.
- Turn off heat and toss in the kale and lemon juice.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with lemon or lime slices. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
Key Ingredient Benefits
Black Beans: Black beans are a healthy addition to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets. These nutritious and tasty legumes are available dried or canned, and both types provide the same health benefits. The benefits of beans come from a few different components, including protein, fiber, antioxidants and micronutrients.
Cayenne Pepper: Hot and spicy, cayenne pepper adds zest health to flavorful dishes around the world. The hotness produced by cayenne is caused by its high concentration of a substance called capsaicin. Capsaicin has been widely studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits, and its ability to help prevent ulcers. Capsaicin also effectively opens and drains congested nasal passages.
Corn: Known scientifically as Zeal mays, this moniker reflects its traditional name, maize, by which it was known to the Native Americans, as well as many other cultures throughout the world. Corn offers fiber and can be helpful in digestion. Additionally, it features health-supportive blood sugar and antioxidant benefits.
Cumin: It is probably not just for nutty, peppery flavor alone that cumin has made it into the stellar ranks of Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican cooking. This ordinary looking seed is anything but ordinary when it comes to health benefits. Cumin is an excellent source of iron, a mineral that plays many vital roles in the body. It also benefits the digestive system and may have anti-carcinogenic properties.
Garlic: Vampire jokes aside, garlic can protect us in many ways. It contains sulfur compounds that may protect cells from cancer, relax blood vessels and improve cardiovascular health. Research suggests garlic may help boost our cellular antioxidant production. There is some evidence supporting numerous health benefits from a diet rich in garlic.
Kale: Also known as borecole, kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. This queen of the greens is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals found in the retina, which could help reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Kale is also rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), a powerful antioxidant that may help boost the immune system and possibly protect against some chronic diseases and cancer. Kale is especially high in magnesium, which is very important for bone health. Plus, kale’s magnesium and potassium help lower blood pressure, and its high fiber content can help lower cholesterol – all beneficial factors in lowering your risk of cardiovascular illness.
Lemon/Lime: These citrus fruits contain citrus bioflavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and are active in improving the function of the immune system. They also have anti-microbial properties and are a good source of a number of nutrients including, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. The fruits’ bioflavonoids may also function as anti- inflammatories and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Olive Oil: This type of oil contains numerous antioxidant polyphenols in addition to monounsaturated oleic acid. Both help support fat metabolism and cardiovascular health. Studies suggest a healthy combo of olive oil and fish oil (omega 3s) can work together in maintaining a pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory balance.
Onions: Onions contain a number of flavonoids, one being quercetin (found in Juvenon’ s Youthful Energy). This nutrient has been demonstrated in studies to protect the liver, cool the fire of inflammation and has anti-cancer properties. Quercetin may help in weight control by reducing fat synthesis and increasing fat burning.
Quinoa: This grain alternative is high in protein and is a source of all essential amino acids, including lysine and isoleucine, which makes it a complete protein. It provides a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients, flavonoids and polysaccharides. Quinoa is rich in vitamin E and a very good source of antioxidant-promoting manganese. It is also a good source of heart-healthy magnesium folate, and fiber, as well as bone-building phosphorus and copper.
Michelle Nowicki has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.