The Mysterious Jerusalem Artichoke

I was inspired by my salad at Brighton Schoolhouse last week, so off I went to find some jerusalem artichokes for myself and ended up learning a bit about them along the way. I was pleasantly surprised to find out they are a really good source of iron, with 150g providing 5.1mg, which is 28% of the RDI for women aged between 19 and 30 (we need higher amounts of iron to account for losses during menstruation).

There’s only a small window when the jerusalem artichoke is in season, late winter July/August in Melbourne, and they proved to be a bit tricky to find, so you might have to go on a bit of a hunt – worth it though! The best way I can describe them is like a roast potato, but a bit sweeter.

Just a simple salad for lunch. Eat it warm or cold, lasts in the fridge for a few days so it’s a good one to take along to work. Recipe based on My New Roots.

 

Jerusalem Artichoke, Kale & Lentil Salad

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1 x bunch kale, shredded

1/2 x red onion, finely chopped

1 TBS x minced garlic

1 TBS x olive oil

500g x jerusalem artichokes, diced (6-7 artichokes)

1 x tin lentils (or 1/2 cup dry puy/brown lentils, cooked)

1/3 cup x toasted almonds

Coat the artichokes with 1/2 the olive oil and roast in a hot oven for ~30 minutes or until tender

Saute the onion and garlic in the rest of the olive oil for a few minutes

Add kale and cook until leaves turn bright green, take off the heat

Dry roast the almonds in a hot pan until evenly browned (you should be able to smell them when they’re done but don’t let them burn)

Stir through lentils and almonds

Dress with equal parts olive oil & lemon juice (i used a TBS of each) and some chilli if you like

Season with S &P

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My Kale Romance

Ever since I can remember I used to have a problem with green leafy vegetables. Throw anything at me and I would eat it, but the green leafy stuff I just couldn’t do. It was a textural thing I think. The thought of putting a big bunch of salad leaves in my mouth still turns me off a bit..especially that ‘gourmet salad mix’ with the red lettuce leaves..that one’s the worst 😦

It was a shame really, because the first thing that comes to mind when we think of ‘health food’ is green veggies. And rightly so. They are definitely full of the good stuff. So my not eating them probably didn’t do me any favours…..Our green leafy friends do all sorts of things..they provide us with fiber, folate, fat soluble vitamins A, E and K and can also be a good source of Calcium and iron. Fiber provides the roughage in our diet that keeps our digestive system happy and also fills us up. Folate is needed for cell growth and development and is especially important during pregnancy as it reduces the risk of neural tube defects. And for those of us who are not eating red meat, green leafy veggies are a really important source of iron! Combine with a source of vitamin C and even better, so throw some red capsicum into the mix too 🙂

I could continue raving about them but I’m sure you get the point?!

Then one day I discovered rocket/roquette/arugula/whatever and my world was turned upside down (this also coincided with the Green Smoothie Discovery – but that’s another for another day). I loved the stuff! I like the peppery taste and it must be because the leaves are a bit finer so it doesn’t give me that horrible soggy texture thing going on in my mouth.. Anyway I used to eat bags of the stuff..take a look at my mega sized salad bowl that I would eat out of at work (I was the running joke come lunch time.)

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Fast forward to 2014 and I have ventured out into bigger and bigger things (sorry rocket). Kale! I really dislike following trends..especially nutrition trends..and I know kale is one of those super foods at the moment, but I honestly think it is fantastic. Again, it’s the textural thing. You can cook it and it doesn’t break down or go soggy. I usually just stir fry it for a few minutes until it turns bright green and then throw it into a salad, or you can bake the leaves and make kale chips, or you can shred it finely and put it into a soup, the possibilities are endless! Can you tell I’m in love?

Here is a really simple, tasty recipe that I’ve found on Taste.

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Roast Pumpkin & Kale Salad

500g pumpkin, diced

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS minced ginger

1/2 tsp sea salt

1tsp cumin

1 bunch kale, shredded, stalks removed

1 cup cooked quinoa

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Toss the pumpkin in the oil, salt, ginger and cumin, place in a roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes on 180C or until golden and tender.

Use cooking oil spray to oil a deep frying pan to lightly cook the kale until leaves turn bright green.

Don’t skip toasting the pumpkin seeds, it makes the flavour a million times better! Place them in a dry frying pan and toast until lightly golden, watch they don’t burn.

Toss the roasted pumpkin, kale, quinoa and pumpkin seeds in a big salad bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil and add S & P to taste.

Makes around 3 large or 4 small serves