This incredibly healing combination of onions, garlic, mushrooms, kale and paprika create a satisfying dish that is simple to put together and ready in under 15 minutes. I love creating healthy dishes with anti-inflammatory ingredients that can be made when I am pressed for time.
Today I used pre-sliced local Ontario organic crimini mushrooms to save on time with prep work, but you can easily use any variety of whole mushrooms and slice them up yourself for this recipe. Crimini mushrooms are meaty and earthy with a more intense flavour compared to white mushrooms. Whole crimini mushrooms will keep in a paper bag for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Mushrooms are a superfood, packed with good-for-you nutrients. They have been used medicinally in Japan and China for thousands of years as they contain immune-boosting compounds. Mushrooms are a great source of zinc, iron, B vitamins,* riboflavin, copper, selenium, niacin and pantothenic acid. Additionally, mushrooms are a wonderful source of essential nutrients. In fact, a 100 gram serving of sliced white mushrooms, for instance, contains zero cholesterol, only 25 calories, is low in sodium and virtually fat-free and contains 1 gram of fibre, both soluble and insoluble. Portabella and crimini mushrooms (the ones I used today) have the most antioxidants, followed by white button mushrooms.***
Kale is another power-packed vegetable which is one of the highest antioxidant foods. Today I have used Lacinato kale which has a long tradition in Italian cuisine, especially that of Tuscany and dates to the 18th century in Italy.**** I first tried Lacinato kale when I was living in Florence, Italy. At the time I was only familiar with the curly kale variety, which was not common in Florence, so I opted for Lacinato kale at a local market. I immediately fell in love with it’s striking appearance. It is a darker variety of kale and has an ornamental look. This dark leafy green variety holds its shape well in stir-fries and is sweet and mild in flavour. It is also rich in vitamin C and folic acid.**** Kale in general is a great source of glucosinolates which helps to detoxify the liver and is also loaded with beta carotene and lutein and zeaxanthin which are good for immunity, and protecting the eyes against age-related macular degeneration and sunlight damage.**
I have also used paprika in this recipe, which is a widely available spice that is made by grinding capsicum peppers into a fine powder. This is a wonderful spice to use in cooking as it has a nice smoky flavour and boasts a number of health benefits. One tablespoon of paprika contains 3,349 international units of vitamin A, that’s more than 100 percent of the daily intake requirement for men and women, set by the Institute of Medicine.*
It is fascinating just how powerful onions are as a medicinal food. They have been used for centuries for healing purposes as they contain allicin and other naturally occurring antibiotics that help treat infection. Onions also help to lower blood sugar and contain chemicals that help relax the lung muscles and soften mucus, so they are an excellent food for when you’re fighting off a cough. Additionally, onions act as a diuretic as they regulate blood pressure and help prevent blood cells from clumping. Sulphur is also naturally occurring in onions which is a powerful detoxifier that boosts the liver, cleanses the gut, helps clear out toxic metals (like lead) and promotes healthy skin. They also contain quercetin which is an antioxidant that calms inflammation in the lungs, strengthens blood vessels and helps protect against cancer.**
Garlic is right up there alongside onions as a healing food. It has been documented that garlic has been valued in Asia for thousands of years as a potent medicine with the ability to act as an aphrodisiac, a purifier, healer and strength-builder. Like onions, garlic also protects against cancer and contains powerful naturally occurring antibiotics which helps clear bacterial, fungal, worm and amoebic infections in the digestive track. These antibiotic properties combined with its immune-boosting role and decongestant effect enables garlic to fight viral and other infections like coughs and colds. Garlic is also highly regarded as being heart friendly as it prevents the hardening of arteries, reduces LDL “bad” cholesterol and blood fats while increasing HDL “good” cholesterol, deters the clumping of blood cells, lowers blood pressure and helps to prevent harmful oxidative damage to cholesterol. The benefits in garlic come from naturally occurring sulphur compounds, like allicin that are also powerful detoxifiers to the liver and lymph system and are anti-inflammatories.**
This recipe also calls for coconut oil, which in its most natural and unrefined form, is healing, boosts immunity and is one of the few oils that is safe to cook with at high temperatures. While coconut is one of the only plant-based sources of saturated fat, it does have some great benefits that are not to be ignored, including its ability to help boost energy levels, reduce LDL cholesterol, mega antibacterial qualities and reduction of inflammation (which causes disease in the body). Be sure to select organic unrefined, virgin coconut oil.
For this recipe you will need:
2 tsp organic unrefined, virgin coconut oil
2 tsp smoked paprika (or more to taste)
16 oz sliced Cremini mushrooms (or other variety)
2 cups Kale, julienned roughly
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Giddy Yo Yo Mountain Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
(Use organic ingredients)
1. Heat large frying pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil and allow to melt.
2. Once oil is heated add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent.
3. Add mushrooms, kale and paprika and sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until the mushrooms and kale are cooked through. Season with Himalayan salt & freshly ground pepper to taste before removing from heat.
Makes about 3 servings
To get your hands on the Giddy Yo Yo Mountain Salt which is sourced from the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains and rich in sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium click here.
Enjoy and happy #meatlessmonday!
* Tremblay, Louise. "The Benefits of Paprika." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 Jan. 2015.
**Savona, Natalie. Wonderfoods: The Best Nutrition and Recipes for Optimum Health. London: Quadrille Limited, 2006. Print.
*** Fresh Mushrooms Good for Life. N.p.: Mushrooms Canada, n.d. Print.
****Staub, Jack E.; Buchert, Ellen (2005). 75 Exciting Vegetables for Your Garden. Gibbs-Smith. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-58685-250-4.