‘Round the Table: Purple Foods: Trendy and Healthy

The Pantone Color Institute is… well, honestly, I’m not entirely sure what it is. On their website, the Institute explains that “the Pantone Institute helps people and companies make the most informed decisions about color for their brands or products. Whether it is color trend forecasting, brand color development, custom color solutions or product palette selection, The Pantone Color Institute can guide you through the development of a color strategy that fits your company’s unique needs.” (www.pantone.com)  I have no idea what this means, but I think it means they tell us what colors to like.

These colors are real, compliments of Mother Nature rather than artificial dyes.

For 2018, The Pantone Institute has chosen Ultra Violet as the color for 2018.  I can’t tell you what a load off my mind this is. For nearly 3 weeks, I’ve been floundering around with no idea what the 2018 color was. Now that I have this vital information, what to do with it? Shall I re-cover my sofa in purple upholstery? Wear purple clothes? Should I invest in purple lipstick? Perhaps the best way for me to pay homage to purple is to cook purple food, more specifically, purple vegetables.

I’ve got some good news for you. Aside from being the trendy veggie for 2018, deeply colored reddish-purple vegetables have nutritional value that goes beyond a pretty face. Generally speaking, vibrant colored vegetables indicate a nutrient dense food that packs a wallop in the antioxidant department. The pigment that makes these vegetables so trendy and beautiful is a chemical compound called anthocyanin and it is associated with a variety of beneficial health claims. Eating vibrant purple vegetables can lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels; these vegetables have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. To make a long story short, eating purple vegetables will not only make you trendy, it will make you healthier.

While red cabbage sports the name “red” it’s actually more purple than red, and as such, falls into the trendy purple veggie category.  This powerful purple vegetable can boost the immune system as well as promote a healthy gut. Red cabbage has 10 times the amount of Vitamin A as green cabbage, so making slaw with red cabbage instead of green just makes sense.  And just when you thought things couldn’t get healthier, we toss in some vibrant orange shredded carrots for a slaw recipe that is a true nutritional powerhouse.

Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

Yield: 8 servings

Purple vegetables are just like ordinary vegetables; prepare them the same way.

For the Slaw:

  • 1 small head of red cabbage, shredded
  • 4 large carrots, shredded
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, put through the garlic press (bonus points if you can find purple garlic)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon local honey
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the shredded cabbage, carrots and green onions in a large bowl with a tight-fitting lid.  In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, garlic, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey, vanilla extract and red pepper flakes.  Season with salt and pepper and whisk vigorously until combined.

Pour about ½ of the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.  Refrigerate the slaw for at least 15 minutes but not more and 30. Remove from the refrigerator and add more dressing as needed. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

While all potatoes are high in carbohydrates, the purple potato is surprisingly healthy.  While similar to their Russet cousins in calorie count, the purple potato contains as much as 4 times as many antioxidants as their white cousins.

Your favorite comfort food soup, colored purple for 2018.

While you can’t go wrong roasting these vibrant beauties, I thought I’d branch out and try a purple potato and cauliflower soup.

Perfectly Purple Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings

  • 1 head purple cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 5 cups of purple potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large purple carrots (use orange if you can’t find purple)
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sour cream and chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the cauliflower and potatoes in a large mixing bowl; toss with enough olive oil to coat; season with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables on the prepared baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until the vegetables are soft. Remove from the oven and set aside. No need to cool.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté the onion until translucent; add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the fennel and carrots and continue to sauté until the fennel and carrots are tender.

Stir in the chicken stock and roasted vegetables. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are fork tender.  Remove from the heat; taste and adjust seasoning.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Alternatively, you can process the soup, in batches, in a countertop blender.

Serve immediately garnished with sour cream and parsley.

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