Weekend Tapas including Rosemary Polenta Fries with Plant-Based Aioli
Lately, I have found myself fixing the most beautiful tapas for Saturday lunches. Well, honestly, I kind of threw together whatever I had leftover from the week and sometimes added a couple of quick dishes. Anyway, it always turned out to be an amazing, sophisticated lunch.
Here are some ideas that I have been using lately and that are very easy to make- if you don’t already have them in your fridge:
- our all time favorite: KALE CHIPS
- SPREADS– roasted red pepper spread is always good for dipping raw veggies in or a lemon basil cashew spread which is always hit with my kids or even a fancy beetroot pomegranate walnut dip
- marinated BEETS mixed with CHICKPEAS
Marinate beets in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- POLENTA CHIPS with AIOLI
See recipe here http://plantbasedhappy.com/?page_id=4956
- raw VEGETABLES including peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, avocados
- DUKKAH and extra vergin olive oil
- SEEDS to sprinkle on spreads and breads: sesame seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds
- oven toasted BREAD or rolls
- LETTUCE leaves or SALADS
On the side fresh juice or -even better- a fruit smoothie. The big advantage of a smoothie is that you use the whole fruit including the pulp which means FIBER! here are some ideas:
- watermelon orange strawberry with a few spinach leaves
- watermelon papaya orange/ mandarin smoothie
The biggest rule in our house regarding juices or smoothies is: DRINK ONLY AS MUCH AS YOU COULD EAT. Meaning that if you can eat one orange and a piece of watermelon, this is the amount if smoothie that is healthy for you to drink. Sure, it´s easy to down a large smoothie or juice BUT it will provide you with way too much FRUCTOSE! It´ s a myth that fructose is a “healthy” sugar while glucose is bad stuff.
The problem with FRUCTOSE is that when you consume large amounts of it in its concentrated form (agave, crystalline fructose, high-fructose corn syrup), it goes straight to your LIVER, avoiding the gastrointestinal tract altogether. This places a heavy toxic load on your liver, which must work very hard to process it, sometimes resulting in scarring. Additionally, FRUCTOSE is converted by the liver into glycerol, which can raise levels of triglycerides. High triglycerides are linked to increased risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Also, the fructose you´ll take up with a large smoothies or juice, will significantly change the immediate blood sugar spike and subsequent blood sugar fall you´ll experience (in a NEGATIVE way!).
Consuming SMOOTHIES AND JUCES in liquid form will leave you less satisfied and less full, leading to subsequently eating more calories during the day than you otherwise would have if you ate those ingredients as solid foods. Use your mouth and your teeth the way nature intended and cut down on smoothies or have them just as treats.
One last note- AGAVE SYRUP, often praised as a healthy natural sweetener is VERY high in fructose (contains up to 97% fructose) and should because of the above mentioned reasons be AVOIDED!
This does´t mean you have to avoid sweet foods. Use natural sweeteners with less fructose such as ripe bananas, dates, honey, maple syrup, stevia or brown rice syrup.
Here is a short overview on the FRUCTOSE CONTENT of several alternative sweeteners:
HONEY is made up of around 75 per cent sugars, of which roughly 40% is fructose AND 60% is glucose. In DATES, roughly one third of the sugar is fructose. MAPLE SYRUP contains around 40% fructose. Only RICE MALT SYRUP, made from fermented cooked rice, is 100% fructose free. It’s a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose. STEVIA is a plant-based sweetener. It’s completely fructose free and 300 times sweeter than sugar. It’s great in recipes where you want to add a little sweetness, but avoid using it in large quantities as it can have a bitter aftertaste.
Just realized that I kind of got carried away by the sugar 🙂
Enjoy your Tapas and polenta fries- naturally sugar free!