How My Chef Bestie Cooks Heart Healthy (+ Recipe + Fiber Facts)
As a nutritionist, there's nothing better than having a chef as your best friend. Can you even think of a better, professional duo? I think not.
So to finish off the heart healthy series, I partnered up with Chef Steph Kahn of Savory Kitchen to show me how she cooks heart healthy in her kitchen.
Steph is a '20-something' trained Chef who has a culinary vision in bringing bold flavors and eye-catching presentations to her dishes. She graduated with a Culinary Arts Degree from Lincoln Culinary Institute in 2014. She's since spent the last 4 years working in a variety of kitchens. Most recently in her own kitchen for her own catering company, Savory Kitchen. #girlboss
For our first of many collaborations, I wanted to highlight fiber foods, so she created the “In-Sp(i)ring Bowl” made with a base of bulgur wheat.
Health Benefits of Fiber
Fiber is an underrated (and under-eaten) nutrient in the average American diet.
Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of fiber, including treating and preventing constipation, reducing cholesterol levels, improving insulin sensitivity, and controlling appetite to manage weight.
In other words, fiber helps keep you “going” regularly, cleans out funky arteries, reduces your blood sugar levels, and makes you fuller faster and longer so you don’t overeat and ultimately gain excess weight.
To add to all of that, fiber also acts as a prebiotic, a food that feeds our gut microbiota to keep them thriving. A happy microbiota also means a strong immune system!
The vast majority of Americans know fiber is healthy, which probably came as a result of overwhelming research highlighting the benefits of fiber. However, most Americans still fall short of the recommendation, consuming only about 15 grams per day.
Whole grains are a great source of fiber. Bulgur wheat has amongst the highest content of fiber within the whole grains family. Other high fiber foods include bran cereals, all types of beans/legumes, berries, leafy greens, and potatoes. Check out this full list of Top Fiber Foods.
The Power of the Bowl
Grain bowls are meals you can have every day, yet it never has to be the same. It gives you room to be creative, using a variety of ingredients with different flavor profiles. It's also a perfect use for small leftovers. #EliminateFoodWaste
Some people say they don’t know how to mix the right spices and seasoning, but like Steph advised, the only way to develop flavor profiles is by testing out different flavors, tasting them and writing down the flavor your senses register. It’s a delicious skill to acquire.
Steph suggests pairing savory with sweet. The mushrooms add a nutty, savory feel while the sweet potato adds that sweet flavor. The beets add a bold flavor of sweet that pairs well with the creamy salty taste of feta cheese.
The texture is also important to consider. Adding nuts, like walnuts, give a great crunch next to the soft mushroom pieces. The beets along with the pomegranate seeds bring a vibrant pop color, while the avocado and kale provide that earthy green vibe.
As if the bowl wasn’t pretty enough, she adds pansy and marigolds, edible flowers that are certain to brighten up any dish. Her boyfriend, Andrew even chimed in saying, “the flowers smell so good, it makes you want to eat more of it.”
“In-Sp(i)ring Bowl” Recipe:
Ingredients for Bowl (1-2 Serving):
- Bulgur Wheat 1 cup
- Quinoa 1/4 cup
- Baby Portobello Mushrooms (small dice)
- Walnuts 1/2 cup (chopped)
- Baby Kale 1 cup (finely chopped)
- 1 Jalapeño (thinly sliced)
- Pomegranate Seeds 1/3 cup
- 1 Sweet Potato (medium dice)
- 1 Red Beet (medium dice)
- Crumbled Feta Cheese 1/3 cup
- 1 Avocado (pitted and sliced)
- Fresh Basil (6 leaves chiffonade)
- Fresh Mint (4 leaves chiffonade)
- Fresh Rosemary 1 sprig (chopped finely)
- Garlic Clove 1 tablespoon (minced)
- Olive Oil 1 tablespoon
Ingredients for Miso Glaze:
- Mellow White Miso 1/3 cup (Cold Mountain Brand)
- Agave 2 tablespoons
- Tamari Soy Sauce 4 teaspoons
- Lemon Juice 2 teaspoons
- Chili Pepper Paste 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Toasted Sesame Seeds 1 teaspoon, plus extra for garnish
- Ground Ginger Powder 1/2 teaspoon
- Water 3 tablespoons
Procedure for Bowl:
Roasting Sweet Potatoes & Beets:
1. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 415 degrees, spread the sweet potatoes out evenly. Clean and dry off the red beet and rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the beet with a pinch of salt and pepper, then with a sheet of aluminum paper wrap the beet in aluminum tightly covered and place on a separate sheet pan in the oven at 415 degrees for 40 minutes until fork tender.
2. Bake potatoes for 15 minutes, give them a toss so they cook evenly and roast for 15 more minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Once the red beet is finished roasting, remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, remove the aluminum and with your hands or a paring knife to remove the skin off the beet, rinse and dry and dice into medium size pieces.
Bulgur Wheat + Quinoa:
3. While the potatoes are roasting, grab a large pan and put 2 1/2 cups of water into the pan and place on the stove top. Bring the water on high heat to a boil, then add your bulgur wheat and quinoa into the water and stir. Let it come to a boil then lower the temperature to a low simmer. Allow to cook for 15 minutes until the water has evaporated, take off from heat and fluff with a fork and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, make the miso glaze. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until completely smooth and set aside.
5. Once sweet potatoes are done, let them cool for 5 minutes and then add to a large pan with the miso glaze over low heat. Cook and toss for a few minutes until the glaze thickens set aside.
Sautéed Mushrooms + Walnut:
6. In another large pan, place on the stovetop and turn on medium heat and add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and toast for about 8-10 minutes until you can smell the nutty aromatics. Then place 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of garlic and the mushrooms and sauté everything together on medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and throw in your chopped rosemary, toss all together and set aside.
7. Finally, grab your favorite serving bowl, add your bulgur wheat and quinoa, top it off with the sweet potatoes, red beets, shredded kale, mushroom and walnuts, feta cheese, sliced avocado, sprinkle the herb mixture on top and garnish with pomegranate seeds. Remember to make it look pretty!
We'd love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment.
Share the love. Leave a comment.