I don’t need to state the obvious, that if you are living in the northern hemisphere right now it is freakin’ freezing! When we’re in the dead of winter like this most of us don’t exactly reach for a salad when it comes to meal time. It’s normal to crave more dense, starchy, or even fattier foods this time of year, because we think that’s what will keep us warm.
Earlier in the week I attended a talk by Melissa Ramos, of Sexy Food Therapy on digestion and how it affects our skin. I was reminded just how important it is for both our skin, and overall health to pack in the veggies. In the wintertime it’s more beneficial to eat warmer or lightly cooked foods. Melissa explained our digestive system to be a warm running machine, we need to keep it warmed up and lubricated to make sure it runs well! In the winter, we’re already chilled most of the time and need the help of warm food and beverages to keep our internal body temperature regulated. I learned so many great tips for Melissa’s talk, but in a nut shell…happy gut, healthy self.
Here’s a great winter stew recipe that’s packed full of powerhouse veggies, and it’s totally vegan friendly.
Smoked Tofu StewDifficulty: 3/5
1 tbsp canola oil, divided
1 package smoked tofu (I like soyganic firm smoked tofu that I found at Fiesta Farms)
1 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp lemon pepper (or freshly ground pepper, to taste)
1 cup carrots or sweet potato, chopped
1 bunch (350g) Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped, leaves finely chopped (or kale, spinach, , etc)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine or water
28-oz canned crushed tomatoes (I used a can of whole tomatoes and mashed them with a potato masher instead)
1 cup vegetable broth
4 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame (or frozen baby lima beans)
salt, to taste
Step 1. Heat 1.5 tsp of oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onion, bay leaves, thyme and lemon pepper and saute until softened and lightly browned, around 6-8 minutes.
Step 2. Add carrots and the stems of the Swiss chard, cover and cook for 10 more minutes until the vegetables are cooked, stirring occasionally.
Step 3. Add garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes.
Step 4. Deglaze with red wine, then add tomatoes, broth, paprika and the leaves of the Swiss chard. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the leaves are evenly cooked. Add edamame and tofu cubes and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Remove bay leaves.
Step 5. Serve warm, with a piece of bread and salad.
Recipe adapted from The Taste Space