Dining In: Ethnic Style
As a nation of immigrants, the United States has always been home to ethnic cuisine, and our exposure to new ethnic foods becomes more sophisticated every day. On your next visit to the grocery store, plan healthful meals from different corners of the globe.
Minestrone: A hearty, tomato-based soup with beans, vegetables and pasta. You can add kidney beans to your minestrone for folate, fiber and protein.
Gnocchi: Usually made from potatoes or flour, gnocchi means dumplings. You can purchase gnocchi with chopped vegetables, like spinach, mixed into the dough. Boil and serve with lycopene-rich tomato sauce.
Tzatziki sauce: This creamy dressing of yogurt, garlic and cucumber can be made at home and served on pita sandwiches or as a dip with vegetables.
Dolmas: Most commonly made with grape leaves stuffed with ground meat, vegetables such as bell peppers, eggplant and squash, rice, dried fruit and pine nuts. Consider using lean ground sirloin or lean ground turkey to cut fat and brown rice to boost fiber. These are usually baked or steamed so no fat is added during cooking.
Jicama: This crisp and slightly sweet root vegetable can be found in the produce aisle. Peel and slice it and serve on salads with lime vinaigrette or chop it for a crunchy addition to salsas. Jicama is a good source of vitamin C and potassium.
Gazpacho: A cold tomato-based raw vegetable soup, especially refreshing on a hot day. You can make a wide variety of gazpachos from basic tomato-based to a green version made with spinach or a white version made with cucumbers.
Spring rolls: Wrapped in rice paper and stuffed with shrimp or crab, fresh herbs like basil and mint, and vegetables such as shredded carrots and spinach leaves can provide you with beta carotene (carrots), vitamin K (spinach) and protein (crab and shrimp).
Pad Thai: Usually a dish of stir-fried rice noodles plus any combination of bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken or tofu. Add your own twist to this dish with a variety of vegetables to boost nutritional value.