Spring is a time of new beginnings. As the winter snow begins to melt and temperatures warm, new growth is nourished and greenery abounds. Spring is also a time to restore health and with the change in season, we may consider detoxifying, or removing harmful substances from our lives, including our diets.
The liver is a major organ of detoxification in the body, and there are numerous foods that can be included in our diet which support the liver. Such liver supportive foods include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, dandelion greens, beets, lemon juice, carrots, onions and garlic to name a few. By including more of these foods in your diet and by limiting or avoiding other foods that are less supportive of your health (for example, processed foods and foods high in sugar such as candy, chips, baked goods, etc.) you will be on your way to a healthier you.
Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup
This soup provides the beneficial compounds found in cauliflower and broccoli. It can be warming on those still cool days as we transition into spring, yet feels refreshing from the fresh dill and lemons.
• 1 medium-sized head broccoli, chopped (about 2 cups)
• 1 medium-sized head cauliflower, chopped (about 4 cups)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 6 cups vegetable stock
• 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans or chickpeas
• 5 large kale or collard leaves, or a combination, tough ends removed and leaves roughly chopped
• Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons fresh dill, divided
• 2 organic lemons, zested, then cut into wedges, optional
• Olive oil for drizzling, optional
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper.
• Lay broccoli and cauliflower flat on sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
• Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for five minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the roasted broccoli and cauliflower, vegetable broth, and garbanzo beans/chickpeas. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Stir in greens, and simmer for 3 minutes.
• Add one tablespoon of fresh dill and blend the soup by using an immersion blender or transferring it to a regular blender. (If using a regular blender, be very careful as the steam can sometimes cause the lid to blow off. Blend in small batches while holding the lid down with a pot holder or towel in hand.)
• Before serving, add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Garnish bowls with remaining fresh dill, lemon zest, a drizzle of olive oil, and serve with lemon wedges.
• Consider using the stems from the kale or collard greens, which can be finely chopped and cooked along with the onions.
Baked Cauliflower & Broccoli Falafel
Adapted from: http://labat56.com/baked-cauliflower-broccoli-falafel/
Makes about 18 falafel balls.
Not your average falafel! These falafel are baked, not fried, easing the burden on the body by avoiding unhealthful fats. They contain broccoli and cauliflower, which are important in supporting the liver’s detoxification role. They are also seasoned with turmeric, a spice with anti-inflammatory properties and additionally assists in liver function.
For cauliflower-broccoli “rice”
(You will need 2 cups of cauliflower & broccoli rice for this recipe).
• 1 small head of cauliflower
• 1 small head of broccoli
Instructions for cauliflower-broccoli “rice”
• Chop cauliflower and broccoli each into small florets, transfer pieces to a food processor and pulse until pieces are finely chopped and resemble rice.
• Measure 2 cups of cauliflower-broccoli rice in a large bowl and set aside.
• 2 cups cauliflower-broccoli rice
• 1 ½ cups chick peas (one 15.5oz can, rinsed and drained)
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 small onion, roughly chopped
• 1/4 cup gluten free oat flour
• 1/3 cup chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour)
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions for Falafel
• Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking pan/sheet tray with parchment paper and set aside.
• Add chickpeas and lemon juice to food processor. Process on high until a crumbly-textured paste forms (It is ok if there are some pieces of chickpeas present).
• Transfer chickpea paste to the bowl of broccoli-cauliflower “rice”. Add spices (from coriander to turmeric) and mix broccoli-cauliflower “rice”, chickpea paste and spices by hand until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste.
• Place the onion in food processor and process on low until more finely diced. Add diced onions to the bowl with the now spiced chickpea paste and broccoli-cauliflower “rice” mix.
• Add flours, baking powder, and mix well again.
• With a spoon (or ice cream scoop), take a scoop of the mix and shape it into a ball. It should be about 1 1/2″ ball. Place it on the prepared pan. Repeat this step until the mixture is gone.
• Bake falafels in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until golden, flipping after 15 minutes. Cool slightly at room temperature before serving.
Alternatively, you can shape the falafel into patties and eat as a veggie burger. You may have to increase the cooking time depending on the size and thickness. Bake accordingly.