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JudyMayer

Hi, I'm Judy Mayer

Eating doesn’t have to be so hard, but for many confusion exists about what’s healthy and what’s not. Bombarded with so much information — much of it in the form of silver bullets and easy answers — people often don’t know where to turn...
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Judy Mayer

This Vegetarian Taco Salad is DASHing

What's For Dinner
Timely advice, tasty tips and a little tough love from Outpost's resident nutritionist, Judy Mayer. By Judy Mayer on August 16, 2012

 

I just finished writing a presentation recommending the DASH Diet (dietary approach to stop hypertension). I’ve mentioned it before in one of my blogs, as it was rated the best diet overall this last spring by the US News & World Report. I’m still excited about that.

 

There’s a long history behind the DASH – over 20 years! Two studies have shown that the DASH significantly lowers blood pressure. Eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables every day, consuming whole grains, low fat dairy and/or dairy alternatives, low-fat protein (using less beef and including more fish and seafood or vegetarian protein), consuming healthy fats and, of course, saying no to processed foods, are the foundations of the DASH diet. The real magic comes from reducing sodium. In the diets limiting sodium to 1500mg (2/3 teaspoon), the results were as dramatic and worked as well as taking medication to lower blood pressure.

 

It works – if people would just do it. Eating whole foods as close to their natural state as possible is medicine. Foods naturally low in sodium can be found in the produce aisle – no need to read labels here!

 

The following recipe fits well into the DASH eating plan.  It’s low in sodium and very high in potassium, which also helps to lower blood pressure. It’s also a good amount of calcium. And I’m crazy about 15g of fiber in one serving of anything! Another bonus is the presence of herbs – cilantro and oregano. Did you know that oregano has more antioxidants than blueberries and apples?

 

Vegetarian Taco Salad

Nobody will miss the meat in this colorful, vegetarian taco salad. The rice and bean mixture can be made ahead and the salad quickly assembled at mealtime.

6 servings (1-1/2 cups each)

 

2 corn tortillas, toasted in oven and crushed into chips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
4 large tomatoes, chopped, slightly drained
1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain brown rice (see Tip)
1 15-ounce can black, kidney or pinto beans, rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup prepared salsa
2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
Lime wedges for garnish

*Plain Greek yogurt if desired

 

 

1. Heat oven to 375°. Place corn tortillas on baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until very crispy. Remove from oven and when cool, break into chip-sized pieces. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and corn; cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped tomato to the pan along with rice, beans, chili powder and 1 teaspoon oregano. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato cooks down, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.

3. Combine remaining tomatoes with cilantro, salsa and the remaining oregano in a medium bowl. Add the cooked bean mixture.

4. Toss lettuce in a large bowl with the bean mixture, and 2/3 cup cheese. Serve sprinkled with tortilla chips and the remaining cheese, accompanied by lime wedges. Can be topped with plain Greek yogurt if desired. Enjoy!

 

Per serving (1-1/2 cups): 463 calories, 9g fat, 4g sat fat, 76g carbohydrates, 22g protein, 183mg sodium, 15g fiber, 1481mg potassium, 246mg calcium

 

Adapted from www.eatingwell.com with changes to reduce sodium. Instead of using packaged tortilla chips I substituted lower sodium corn tortillas and baked them to crisp and make into chips. I also did not add the salt the recipe called for.

 

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