Wednesday, May 28, 2014

World's Best Raw Burritos

Do you ever walk around the produce section of your local grocery store or farmer's market and think to yourself that all the green leafy stuff just kind of looks the same, even though they have different names? I had a little chat with a woman the other day who saw me picking and bagging up a few different leafy greens. She asked me what I did with it all and wouldn't a pre-made salad mix be just as good? Umm. No. 

While the green leafy veggies may look similar and be grouped together when talking about healthy eating ("Eat lots of green, leafy vegetables!"), the truth is that each of them provides its own unique phytonutrients that help our bodies to function at optimal levels. So, while spinach and kale, for example, are two nutritional powerhouses of the greens family, they can't cover all the bases just on their own. That's why it's a great idea to mix up your use of greens and eat a wide variety of them.

Let's talk about swiss chard. 

As of this writing, research has revealed that chard leaves have at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants. One of these, syringic acid, is able to regulate blood sugar by limiting the amount of carbohydrates that get broken down into simple sugars. Betalains are also among the phytonutrients in chard, providing antioxidant, ant-inflammatory and detoxification support. 

So, do you need swiss chard as a regular part of your diet?

Yes, without question.

Here's a recipe that has been very popular with my family and friends, and I love it because it's easy to make, versatile, surprisingly filling and absolutely delicious. For the filling, I use whatever veggies I have in the house or in my garden. Today, I filled the raw burrito with carrots, purple cabbage, sunflower seed sprouts, cucumbers and raw pine nuts. Use your imagination - you can even set up a "raw burrito bar" with different chopped fillings that your family or guests can use to make their own burritos to their liking.

World's Best Raw Burrito

For burritos:

Swiss chard leaves (1 per burrito)
Any combination of vegetables, chopped finely
Raw nuts or seeds (optional)

For sauce:

2/3 part rice vinegar
1/3 part organic extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Prep the leaves:

Wash and dry the swiss chard and cut off the stem right at the base of the leaf. Save the stem, chop it up finely and use it as part of the burrito filling. The "spine" of the leaf can be a little rigid, depending on the size of the leaf. What you will need to do is to carefully cut the hard, rounded part of the spine that sticks up from the leaf, so that the leaf can bend more easily.

Lay the chard down on a cutting board, put a little bit of filling near the bottom portion (don't overfill, as the leaf will be difficult to roll) and sprinkle a bit of the sauce on top of the filling. Then, carefully fold in the two sides of the leaf and, holding the sides closed, roll up the leaf like a burrito. 

To serve, lay the burritos seam-side down, with an extra side of sauce for dipping.

Can be used as appetizers, side dish, main dish or snack. These keep very well in the refrigerator for a day or two. Just be sure to store covered, so the veggies do not dry out.


~ Tamera

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