Having problems sticking with your healthy diet? Why not spice up the bland with a taste of Thailand?
"Thai cooking involves a lot of herbs and spice blends and that's what's really great because a lot of those herbs and spice blends are full of antioxidants and so it helps to give your meal a lot of flavor as well as nutrients." Said Megan Oleson, a dietetic intern at the Avera Heart Hospital.
Freshness is at the core of Thai cooking and it doesn't take much to give a traditional recipe a Thai twist. Take for example Crunchy Asian Slaw.
"For the lettuce we have spinach, red cabbage, and Napa cabbage which is also big in Thai cooking." Said Oleson.
All you have to do is chop the ingredients, mix them in a bowl, then add the dressing of rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, honey, chili paste, and mayo. Then complete the slaw with some roasted peanuts.
"It has some different kinds of lettuce and cabbage so you get the flavors from that as well as the sauce which with chili paste it usually isn't used in traditional cooking or recipes so you have that new flavor." Said Oleson.
This dish is loaded with fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, iron, folate, as well as magnesium. And that's just the slaw. Next we're cooking up some Thai Roasted Veggies.
"We have zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, white onion, and red and green peppers." Said Oleson.
You can pretty much substitute in or out whatever veggies you want, the key factor is the marinade.
"So the marinade has fish sauce, coconut milk, and red curry paste. All of those are really staple ingredients and Thai cooking." Said Oleson.
Fish sauce may seem extreme but it is known as the salt of Thailand. adding salt to food unleashes the other flavors and fish sauce gives you an even deeper and rounder taste.
"And what we did was we prepared it the night before so we cut it up into chunks so you can either put them on skewers and marinate them or just leave them plain." Said Oleson.
However you choose to cook them, a good tip is to cut your vegetables the same size so they also marinate and then cook evenly.
"Just pop it in the oven so you can broil it, or sauté, or just roast it like we did and it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes." Said Oleson.
Red curry paste is simply loaded with antioxidants and the dish itself explodes with flavor.
"Yeah there is a lot of different flavors in this dish!." Said Oleson.
Eating more vegetables not only helps you lose weight but it lowers blood pressure as well.
Making these Thai twists the perfect partners for heart month.
"And it's an easy way to make it nutritious and really really tasty." Said Oleson.
On February 12, the kitchen staff will unveil an entire menu of heart healthy Thai inspired dishes for lunch. Come out from 11-2pm if you want to give them a try! To get the recipes for both dishes in the story or for more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.