Tired of the same humdrum weeknight dinners? We’ve adapted a recipe from Tufts University that is sure to spice things up a bit. This healthy entrée is full of flavor and easy to prepare. Try it out tonight!
Preparation: 10 minutes • Cooking: 30 minutes • Yield: 4 servings
- 4 ribs celery
- 4 carrots
- 2 leeks
- 8 cloves garlic
- 16 oz chicken tenders or boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Tbsp red curry paste
- 2 Tbsp ground turmeric
- 2 Ground black pepper to taste
- 8 shiitake or brown mushrooms
1. Wash the celery and carrots and cut into slices. Trim the leek. (Use only the white and pale green portions.) Wash the leek thoroughly and cut into slices. Slice the garlic. Cut the chicken into ½-inch strips.
2. Put a large pot on the stove. Add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrots, leek and garlic. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
3. Mix 1 Tbsp red curry paste with a little water. Add to the vegetables. Taste and add more curry paste, if desired. Add the chicken strips and the turmeric. Season with black pepper, to taste.
4. Add enough water to barely cover all the ingredients. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
5. Meanwhile, trim the mushroom stems and cut the caps into slices; add to the pot for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
6. Serve the soup in shallow bowls.
Per serving: Cal 280, Fat 9 g (Sat 1 g, Carb 22 g, Total sugars 7 g (Added 0 g), Fiber 5 g, Protein 30 g, Sodium 340 mg, Potassium 588 mg, Calcium 80 mg, Iron 4 mg.
Red curry paste: Use curry paste, not powder. This dish should be spicy, so you can choose a “hot” variety. In general, Western curry products are milder than their Asian equivalents. Begin by adding 1 Tbsp and then have a quick taste. If the dish is not yet hot enough, add a little more and taste again. Check labels carefully because some brands of curry paste are high in sodium or contain added sugar. If possible, choose one that has no more than 350 mg sodium per Tbsp.
KEY Ingredient Benefits
Balsamic Vinegar: This vinegar is made from red grapes. It contains a bioflavonoid known as quercetin, which works as an anti-oxidant and operates with vitamin C to stimulate the immune system to fight infection, cancer and inflammation. Additionally, vinegar may help prevent heart disease and aid in digestion.
Carrots: This mighty root veggie has few rivals when it comes to beta-carotene. A mere half-cup serving offers four times the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin A in the form of protective beta-carotene. Beta-carotene may ward off certain cancers, and it helps prevent heart disease due to its antioxidant abilities. The retina of the eye needs vitamin A to function; a deficiency of vitamin A causes night blindness. Though extra vitamin A won’t help you see better, its antioxidant properties may help prevent cataracts and keep your eyes healthy.
Celery: This common vegetable contains vitamin C and several other active compounds that promote health. These include phthalides, which may help lower cholesterol, and coumarins, that may be useful in cancer prevention.
Chicken: This poultry is perhaps best known for its high protein content, but it is a food that actually provides broad nutrient support. Included in this excellent protein content are plentiful amounts of sulfur-containing amino acids that are important for support of cardiac and skeletal muscle. Additionally, all B vitamins are present in chicken.
Curry Paste: Curry can have a blend of several different spices but usually include coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and red pepper in their blends. Many of curry ingredients show potential benefits for inflammation, cardiovascular health, immunity, blood sugar regulation, and cancer prevention
Garlic: 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.
Mushrooms: This low calorie, nutrient dense fungi is packed with vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants. Mushrooms are a very good source of vitamin D, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, copper and selenium. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin C, folate, iron, zinc and manganese. Mushrooms support a healthy metabolism and may help bolster immunity as well as liver, cardiovascular, and neurological health.
Turmeric: Bright yellow turmeric is a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents.