World Cuisine – Healthy Way

When it comes to cooking, I’m definitely not a fan of complicated recipes. I love cooking but I don’t have that much patience, and desire to assemble a complex meal; plus my meals always have to fit my specific fitness goals, which is hard to achieve with traditional recipes. In this post, I would love to share a few of my new favorite meals that were inspired by cuisines from different countries. I think it’s always fun to try something new and different. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

  1. Okonomiyaki

A fancy word f1or a Japanese dish that translates to “cook how you like it,” meaning you can use as many different ingredients as you wish. I recently tried this as my post workout dish and oh my…it was amazing!

            Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of shredded cabbage
  • chopped onion to your taste
  • 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes
  • garlic, salt and pepper to your taste
  • pinch of paprika
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Mix all of the above ingredients and fry as a pancake, or an omelet, whatever you wish to call it. Warning in advance, the “pancake” will be soft in the middle by the time you need to flip it on the other side, so you may consider making several small pancakes instead of one. You can also save some frustration and just scramble everything (that’s what I did!), either way, it tasted delicious! Remember you can modify this recipe and use any veggies you like. Be creative!

  1. Ratatouille with Ground Turkey

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I love French cuisine; there is just something magical about France in general to me. Ratatouille is a traditional French Provencal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. The full name of the dish is ratatouille niçoise

Ratatouille is made by simmering eggplant with other vegetables and herbs. It’s often served as a side or appetizer with bread, but adding some lean meat to it makes it a great healthy meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb lean ground turkey (or other meat of your choice)
  • red pepper flakes, paprika, salt and pepper to your taste
  • pinch of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (can substitute for canned tomatoes or tomato paste)
  • parsley and fresh dill to your taste, chopped
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (you can substitute for other oil you like)
  • 1 medium bell pepper

First, let’s start with meat. Throw the meat into frying pan; add red pepper flakes, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, and vinegar. Cook on medium heat until ready (no longer pink).

Over a medium-high heat, warm 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the eggplant and zucchini and sauté them until they are lightly browned but not soft. Transfer veggies to a plate.

In the same skillet over medium heat, warm the remaining oil. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for 3 min. Stir in meat, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini. Partially cover the goodness and simmer the ratatouille for 5 min. Check the salt and pepper; add more spices to your taste, if need. Add parsley and dill to your dish, simmer for 5 more minutes; and it’s ready to be served!

  1. Smoky Saucy Chickpeas with Spinach

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Not sure which world cuisine this dish fits (maybe Greek?), but it’s definitely worth a place on your table. Easy to make and you can make it in a bulk for the whole week.

                                     Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (feel free to use other oil to your taste)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (can substitute for ½ tsp of powdered garlic)
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce, or chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups of spinach (feel free to add more)
  • salt and pepper to your taste
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (feel free to use apple cider or some other kind)

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat and sauté onion with garlic until golden. As they start to golden, add smoked paprika, salt and pepper; sauté for a couple of minutes. Next, stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, vinegar and chickpeas. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Add spinach, stirring, until the spinach is wilted and incorporated, for about 2-3 minutes. Taste for salt and vinegar; the dish should have a tangy taste. Enjoy this delicious meal!

If you are cooking in bulk just double (triple) the ingredients and you are good to go. I also love this dish topped with fat-free feta cheese.

  1. Israeli Couscous Salad with Summer Veggies

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Served warm or chilled, this recipe makes a hearty side dish. Israeli couscous is slightly different from its cousin, Moroccan couscous. Israeli couscous is larger, resembling uncooked pearl tapioca.

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 small yellow squash (crookneck), diced
  • 2 cups couscous (dry measure)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (or lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium bell peppers
  • chopped cilantro and Italian parsley to your taste
  • salt and pepper to your taste

Bring 3 cups of water (1 ½ cups of water to 1 cup of couscous) to boil in a large pot. Cook couscous for 10 min or until soft. When couscous is cooked, drain and rinse several times.

In a different pot, steam your zucchini and yellow squash. Cook them just until tender but still crisp. In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice, curry powder, cumin, turmeric and red pepper flakes. Gradually whisk in the oil. Mix in vegetables, couscous, cilantro and parsley. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Cover and refrigerate this salad for at least one hour before serving. It is best to prepare it a day ahead.

These are just a few of my favorites that are easy to make during the week even if you have a very busy schedule. Remember that cooking is not a science; it’s a form of art. I never, ever follow the recipes to the dot, it’s just boring, and cooking should be fun! Express yourself, improvise and enjoy!

Gym_Kat 🙂

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