Monday, September 13, 2010

Teriyaki Almonds and Maple-Balsamic Dressing

To finish off the recipe posts for the supper I had Saturday night, I present teriyaki almonds and maple-balsamic dressing. I have pictures of neither, so you'll have to use your imagination :)

For the almonds, I opted to do them raw-style - soaking, marinating and dehydrating as opposed to marinating and baking. It might seem complicated, but it's really not. Soaking is a step you can skip if you want. The advantage of soaking is for improved digestion of nuts, because they can be hard to digest for some. I soaked them overnight. When I woke up, I marinated them until the evening when I got home from work, and then I plopped them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and stuck them in the oven on a low temperature (about 115 degrees) before bed. The next evening, they were ready. So the entire process took two days, but maybe 5-10 minutes of actual work. If you're in a hurry, you could just roast the almonds on a higher temperature setting until they become dry. Easy peasy! Flavoured nuts and seeds are handy to have for garnishing pretty much anything, but especially a creamy soup or salad. And, of course, snacking!

Teriyaki Almonds
1 c almonds, soaked for 8-12 hours and drained
2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp ginger, grated (optional, but we like ginger a lot and used even more)

Blend the tamari, syrup, garlic and ginger in a small blender (like the magic bullet). If you don't have a blender, you can mix it in a bowl, just try to get the garlic chopped really fine.

Toss the pre-soaked almonds with the marinade. Let it sit in the fridge anywhere from 2-24 hours. When done marinating, drain off any excess liquid and spread out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let it sit in the oven until dry, stirring occasionally. If you're using the oven like a dehydrator at a low temperature (115 degrees), it will take 12-24 hours. If you roast them at a higher temperature (like 400 degrees) it won't take very long at all, so keep your eyes on it.

The other recipe is not something I came up with, but it's so easy and tasty for a quick salad dressing that I have to share it. The only ingredients are olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and mustard. If you're eating one large salad to yourself, you'll only need half the recipe, and if you're just having a teeny salad, make a quarter of the recipe.

Maple-Balsamic Dressing

Now I said I would share some of the nutritional info of Saturday's supper, so here it is!

Zucchini pasta in marinara sauce, mixed vegetable salad with maple-balsamic dressing, and garlic toast:
Calories: 633
Fiber: 15.9 g
Protein: 17.5 g

Vitamin A: 362%
Vitamin C: 216%
Vitamin E: 42%
Vitamin K: 415%
Folate: 78%

Calcium: 230 mg (23%)
Iron: 7.2 mg (40%)
Magnesium: 74%
Selenium: 415%

Cholesterol: 0%

So those are the numbers that are most noteworthy. A few things:

-This was a higher-fat meal, with almonds, brazil nuts and a little olive oil. The almonds and brazil nuts are very nutritious, but it's important to not overdo the fats because our bodies really run best on carbohydrates. As someone in good health, I tend to shoot for no more than 35% of my daily calories to be from fat, with 55% carbohydrate and 10% protein. Any more fat than that and you run the risk of crowding out other valuable, nutritious foods. This meal had about 45% of the calories from fat, but my lunch and breakfast evened it out (throughout the day I had about 30% of my calories from fat).

-My protein needs are about 45 g/day based on my body size. 17 grams of protein from a meal with no significant 'protein foods' on the plate is pretty impressive! It shows just how easy it is to get enough protein in a day. If my lunch was also 17 grams of protein, I would only require 11 more grams of protein, from breakfast and from snacks. Considering a serving of breakfast oats (quick oats + soy milk + banana + a little chia) alone is about 10 grams of protein, a cup of soy milk is 6 grams, one slice of bread is 5 grams, it's possible to get enough protein without the really obvious sources like legumes, tofu and tempeh, which I usually have in some form anyway. Over the course of a week, my average protein intake is actually 78 g, with some days being lower and others quite a bit higher.

-Note how this contained 230 mg of calcium without any really obvious calcium sources! Leafy greens contain calcium, as do almonds, and both were in this meal. It's not surprising that my average intake of calcium is always right around the mark (1000 mg/day). Of course, I drink fortified soy milk and consume high-calcium greens like kale regularly (especially juiced!), and generally take care to ensure adequate calcium intakes. It's also important to remember that you need adequate vitamin D to absorb calcium properly, and excessive sodium and protein (particularly meat which has sulfur-containing amino acids) negatively effects calcium absorption.

-Brazil nuts are a fantastic source of selenium - it only takes 1 nut to meet the recommended RDI's!

Well that's all for today. Later!

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