Winter Fruit Salad with Pomegranate and Coconut

Over New Year’s I was invited to brunch. With the weather being super cold (for Austin), I thought about making a soup, a pot of beans, or something warm! But the hostess asked if I could bring fruit… my hopes were dashed! My mind went to baked apples or apple crisp, but I wasn’t feeling inspired. Then I noticed the shiny red pomegranate in the fruit bowl that I had meant to use over the holidays. The idea was born for making a winter fruit salad with pomegranate, using fruits that are in season all winter.

I ended up with a combination of apples (3 varieties), pears, citrus, and pomegranate. The first time I made it I used Satsuma tangerines (a little bigger and easier to peel than clementines), but in the photos here (I made it again a week later) I used some delicious heirloom navel oranges.

For some added texture and sweetness, I added a handful of unsweetened, shredded coconut. Not exactly “seasonal or local” but easy to find in the stores around the holidays. I used the Trader Joe’s brand which I had bought for holiday baking (which never happened) and was surprised at how fresh and delicious is was. I’m actually thinking about making some coconut milk with the rest of it because it seems super fresh and sweet (although no added sugar).

 

Winter Fruit Salad with Pomegranate and Coconut
 
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This fruit salad is fun to make around the winter holidays when pomegranates are big, beautiful, and juicy. Use different kinds of apples and pears if you can find them to enjoy the different colors and flavors they impart.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert or Salad
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 apples (different colors and varieties)
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons spring or filtered water
  • 2 pears, medium ripe
  • 2 Satsuma tangerines, clementines, or navel oranges
  • seeds of one pomegranate
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut, plus more for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Slice apples and pears into bite-sized pieces. They can be thin slices or chunks, depending on your preference. Place sliced fruit into a large glass bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and water. Toss together to coat apples and pears, then drain before fruits release their own juices. This will ensure that apples and pears do not brown.
  2. Peel tangerines and peel into sections. Add to fruit bowl.
  3. Remove seeds from pomegranate by cutting pomegranate in half and tapping the back of the pomegranate with a large wooden spoon until seeds fall into a large bowl. Remove remaining seeds gently with your hands and take out any pith that went into the bowl. Add seeds to the fruit bowl.
  4. Toss with maple syrup and/or cinnamon, if desired. The salad is great on its own, but has a sweeter taste with the maple syrup and/or cinnamon.
  5. Add shredded coconut and toss together gently.
  6. When serving the salad, top with some additional coconut.

Read moreWinter Fruit Salad with Pomegranate and Coconut

Quinoa Kitchadi with Vegetables, Turmeric, and Ginger

quinoa kitchadi

Kitchadi, a one-pot meal from the Ayurvedic tradition, is considered very healing and nourishing (or sattvic), and is typically made with split mung beans (moong dal), basmati rice, digestive spices, ghee or oil, and non-starchy vegetables. Here I am using quinoa, moong dal, and coconut oil, but you may experiment with different grains and beans for variety.

Kitchadi is soothing to the digestion, as it contains turmeric and ginger, it is cooked until soft in texture, and it is served warm.  It contains complex carbohydrates, good quality fats, and vegetables, which help to regulate blood sugar.

Kitchadi is a go-to breakfast meal at my home, when I am wanting something heartier than miso soup, but still want something soothing to the digestion. It seems to work as a “reset button” if I am having stomach troubles or just lacking appetite. I make enough so that I can have leftovers for lunch or breakfast the next day, adding some fresh greens and herbs when reheating.

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Quinoa Kitchadi with Vegetables, Turmeric, and Ginger
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Ayurvedic
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • ½ cup moong dal (split mung beans), rinsed and soaked overnight then drained
  • ½ cup quinoa (tan or mixture of red and tan), rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ teaspoon organic turmeric powder
  • 2 cups sliced vegetables (such as zucchini, carrot, celery, butternut squash)
  • 3-4 cups filtered or spring water, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • lemon, cut in wedges, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot on medium heat and add coconut oil. Add soaked moong dal and stir to coat well with the oil. Add quinoa and mix into dal. Toast on medium heat for a minute or two, then add ginger and turmeric and saute for a minute more.
  2. Add 2 cups water, stirring to make sure quinoa and dal are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, then turn to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add vegetables, sea salt, and additional water (1-2 cups) to achieve desired consistency (it can either be soft or a bit soupy). Simmer another 10 minutes, or until quinoa and dal are very soft.
  4. Add a few grinds of black pepper. Taste for seasonings. If it seems too dry, add more coconut oil.
  5. Serve in a bowl garnished with fresh cilantro and lemon.

 

Creamy Polenta with Sweet Corn

This is the first recipe in a series of Healthy Comfort Foods for the Holidays! Corn polenta is full of complex carbohydrates, which will help stave off sugar cravings during the holiday season.

This is a soft-cooked polenta recipe that calls for more liquid than the typical polenta recipe. The result is a very soft, sweet, and creamy dish (with no milk or cream added!) that is easy to digest and popular with children and adults. I use 5 cups water to 1 cup polenta. Many recipes only use 2-3 cups water, leaving the polenta undercooked and gritty.

I recommend using a flame tamer or heat diffuser to prevent burning. If you don’t have one, just be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pot (like an enamel-coated cast iron pot) on a very low flame.

serving-polenta

At home we often eat polenta for breakfast with a sprinkle of iron-rich shiso powder and a side of greens or miso soup. But we also have it for lunch and dinner, perhaps topped with pesto, or eaten with a side of beans and avocado. It is an easy, nutritious item for child’s lunchbox that you can keep warm in a thermos, and leftovers are great heated up the next day.

polenta
Polenta with sweet corn and broccoli sprinkled with shiso powder

To warm up leftover polenta, heat up enough water to cover a small saucepan until simmering. Add the amount you’d like to heat up, turn to low, cover, and steam for 2 or 3 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit until ready to eat. Stir to mix any remaining water in the bottom of the pan. For a greener variation, add some chopped broccoli or kale greens to the simmering water before adding the polenta.

polenta-broccoli
Isabel making polenta with chopped broccoli

corn polenta

I recently made this dish for a friend who is undergoing cancer treatment and needs foods that are nourishing and easy to digest. She loved it!

Creamy Polenta with Sweet Corn
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Grain
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry corn polenta
  • 5 cups spring or filtered water, divided
  • ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt, or more to taste
  • kernels from 1 ear sweet corn or 1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or grass-fed butter (optional)
  • a few pinches shiso powder
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together polenta, 3 cups water, and sea salt.
  2. Turn heat to medium. Stir constantly while polenta comes to a boil to prevent sticking or clumping.
  3. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of water and sweet corn, stirring constantly. Turn heat down to prevent polenta from splattering.
  4. Lower heat, cover, and simmer with a flame tamer beneath pot for 20-30 minutes, or until polenta is thick, soft, and creamy.
  5. Stir in olive oil or butter, if desired. Season with additional sea salt if needed.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of shiso powder.
Variations
  1. Add finely chopped broccoli to the polenta during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  2. Serve with sautéed zucchini, mushrooms, or kale.
  3. Make in a pressure cooker by adding polenta, 5 cups water, sea salt, and corn all at once. Put pressure cooker lid on and bring up to pressure on medium heat. Turn to low and cook for 5 minutes more. Turn off heat and let come down from pressure naturally. Remove lid and stir in olive oil or butter, if desired.