By Sangeeta Pradhan
An antioxidant splash with crunchy veggies:
Hey guys-it is that time of the year again! The pleasant nip in the air from early fall has turned into the unmistakable and inevitable, bite and bone chilling cold of winter. It is also that time of the year that leaves many no time to even catch their breath, between all the frantic shopping, holiday decorating, holiday baking and …need I say more?
I don’t know about you, but at such a time I look for every trick in the book to get dinner on the table faster than you can say, “Merry Christmas”. Well, not that fast, but fast enough..so if you are looking for short cut, but nutritious recipes (a tall order sometimes), this recipe will fit the bill. A medley of antioxidant packed veggies are tossed with olive oil, thyme and sherry or balsamic vinegar to create a super-quick, crunchy, eye-appealing and heart-warming, week night side dish that will have your family grabbing these straight out of the pan!
Be sure to read my Registered Dietitian’s tip about why we want to load up on antioxidants.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 15-17 minutes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil + 1/2 teaspoon, divided.
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (may use balsamic instead)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 small heads of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 large, sweet red pepper, diced
- 1 large, sweet yellow pepper, diced
- 1 large, red onion, diced
- 6 small garlic cloves, peeled, halved
- Preheat the oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease a rimmed, large baking sheet with the 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper, whisking to combine well. Set aside.
- In a large, gallon size zip lock plastic bag or large plastic container, add the chopped veggies and the olive oil-vinegar mixture from step 1 above.
- Make sure the bag is zipped shut and sealed before shaking well to allow the “dressing” to coat the veggies thoroughly.
- Transfer veggies from step # 5 above to the rimmed backing sheet.
- Place in the preheated oven for 15-16 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes. Veggies are done when they are crisp-tender, somewhat firm but not hard.
- For a complete meal, serve hot with Fiber spotlight: Lentil and black bean soup: gluten free, vegan
Registered Dietitian’s tip:
Free radicals and Antioxidants: Eat a rainbow of colors-we have all heard that expression before, and it’s true! This recipe uses veggies with eye-catching, vibrant colors to cash in on their antioxidant potential. Plant based foods are rich in polyphenols, which are naturally occurring substances in our diet that have been receiving a lot of attention from scientists as a result of their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants may be compounds such as vitamins or enzymes in the human body, or are substances found in foods that can help neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are lone oxygen atoms that are unstable as they are missing an electron. These unstable elements then end up attacking and stripping electrons from different compounds in your body, causing wide-spread damage.
The war within: Our bodies are constantly bombarded, as it were, with free radicals, which can lead to oxidative stress and inflammation, the basis of all chronic disease. Antioxidants are like the marines, always standing at bay, ready to fight off the little villains called free radicals. So you want to build a strong arsenal or army of antioxidants from brightly colored fruits and veggies to combat free radicals and prevent disease. Simple, but oh so powerful!!
The promise of polyphenols: Polyphenols are divided into flavonols (the largest group, and include the catechins from tea, anthocyanins from berries and red grapes, phenolic acids from cinnamon and coffee), and non-flavonoid polyphenols from whole grains and legumes. Yes, whole grains and legumes may seem like unlikely sources of antioxidants, but belong to a class of polyphenols called lignans.
What’s more, a 2007 study on pant based flavonols, along with exercise showed that they can up-regulate genes associated with learning, and down regulate genes associated with inflammation. Moral behind the story: Get all the colors of the rainbow on your plate, (not from skittles!), and dig in!!
Disclaimer: This blog is strictly for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your physician or registered dietitian for recommendations tailored to your specific needs.