10 New Foods to Start Cooking With

Kale. Starfruit. Ginger. These are the power foods, flavors, and ingredients found on the plates of those with adventurous palates and a taste for healthiness. Chef Katie Simmons from Whole Foods is no stranger to these foods—she uses them in bold recipes, full of health benefits and flavor.

Today, we’re sharing some of her creations with you. From a creamy lemon dressing to a modestly sweet pistachio dessert, Katie’s recipes are exceptionally inventive. Oh, and they’re healthy, too!

Starfruit and Date Chutney

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Enjoy the exotic flavors in this spicy, chunky dip.  Spread on Curry Burgers or scoop with whole wheat pita bread.  The complex flavors will amplify even the simplest dishes.

2 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Large pinch of ground cloves
1 cup water
16 dates, pitted, halved lengthwise, then halved crosswise
2 starfruits, sliced and seeded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

To make chutney:  Combine shallots, ginger, vinegar, orange peel, red pepper, cloves, and water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 3 minutes. Add dates and starfruit; simmer 1 minute longer (chutney thickens when chilled).  Add extra water if the mixture becomes too thick.  Stir in cilantro.

Serve warm or refrigerate and enjoy for up to five days.

Lacinato Kale Waldorf Salad

Serves 4 to 6

This healthy update to the classic Waldorf salad substitutes nutrient rich kale for lettuce. Apple and walnuts give the dressing a creamy consistency without the need for a mayonnaise base. The sweetness of the apple provides a nice contrast with the slight bitterness of the raw kale.

1 bunch Lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale), stemmed and chopped
2 large apples (Fuji or Honeycrisp), cored, diced and divided
1 cup thinly sliced celery (about 3-4 stalks)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons raisins, divided
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup water, more if needed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

To prepare the salad:  In a large bowl, combine the kale, half of the chopped apple, all of the celery, ¼-cup walnuts, and ¼-cup raisins, set aside.

To make the dressing and assemble the salad: Place the reserved apple, walnuts, and raisins, mustard, water, and vinegar in a blender. Cover and purée until well combined and slightly thick, adding water if needed to thin to the desired consistency. Pour dressing over the kale salad and toss to combine.

Cucumber Pluot Salsa

Makes 6 cups

½ large red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and dice
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 limes, juiced
1 seedless cucumber, diced
3 pluots, diced

To make salsa:  Combine beans, corn, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, thyme, and lime juice.  Toss well.  Add the watermelon just before serving.  If making a day ahead, keep the watermelon separate until ready to serve.

Meyer Lemon Miso Dressing

Makes  1 cup

This light, creamy dressing is great tossed with simple greens are garbanzo beans.  Also, use it as a sauce over steamed broccoli or asparagus.

1 tablespoon light white miso
2 ½ tablespoons roasted tahini, no-salt-added
2 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 Meyer lemons, zest and juice
½ cup warm water

To make dressing: Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Microwave for one minute to soften.  Whisk together until smooth and creamy.

Pistachio Cardamom Cream with Mango and Orange

Serves 4

The sweet, bright flavor of cardamom makes a perfect summer dessert with fresh mangos and oranges.  Ground pistachios add richness and color to this irresistible dish.

For Pistachio Cardamom Cream:
(makes 1 cup)
1 cup raw pistachios
4 dates, pitted
½ cup warm water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and sliced
2 navel oranges, rinds removed and sliced

To Make the Pistachio Cardamom Cream:  Soak the pistachios and dates in the warm water at least 15 minutes, to soften the nuts.  You can also soak these overnight.  Place the soaked pistachios, dates, soaking water, vanilla, and cardamom in a high-speed blender or food processor.  Pulse the mixture several times, and then blend until the ingredients are thick, smooth, and creamy.  If needed, add 1-tablespoon at a time of water to the blender until the desired consistency is achieved.  Cream can be use immediately or may be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.  Also freezes well.

To Serve:  Serve up a few spoonfuls of the sliced mangoes and oranges with a small dollop of the Pistachio Cardamom Cream.

Best enjoyed chilled.

Sweet and Smoky Spiced “Fries”

Serves 6

Smoky cumin and sweet cinnamon play with the sweet flavors of the Japanese yams.  Use the same spicy flavoring on regular sweet potatoes, garnet yams, parsnips, or butternut squash for different flavors and colors.

3 large Japanese yams, unpeeled, scrubbed, and cut into fries
3 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Preheat a baking sheet in a 425°F oven.

To prepare the yams:  Place the yam fries in a large bowl. Sprinkle with cumin and cinnamon and toss well to coat.  Using oven mitts, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on a trivet or cooling rack.  Immediately pour the potatoes onto the hot baking sheet.  Return the hot sheet to the oven and bake until the fries are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Toss with fresh cilantro when done.

Chocolate Hazelnut New-Tella

Makes 3 cups

1/3 cup whole raw almonds
1 1/3 cup raw hazelnuts
1 1/3 cup non-dairy milk, plain, unsweetened
1 cup dates
1 cup dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Spread nuts on a baking sheet and toast until hazelnuts are brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

While the nuts are roasting, warm the non-dairy milk and dates in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer until the dates completely break down, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Whisk the dates to combine with the non-dairy milk.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and vanilla extract for a rich chocolate sauce.

Once the nuts are toasted and brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a food processor.  Grind until they are as fine as possible, scraping down the sides every few minutes.  This may take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the strength of your food processor.  This is your homemade nut butter.

Add the chocolate sauce to the nut butter and continue to process the mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

This sauce is great when fresh and the warmth from the roasted nuts accentuates the rich chocolaty flavor.  It also freezes well and can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Black Forbidden Rice Salad with Mango and Peanuts

Serves 8

Legend has it that forbidden rice was only allowed to be eaten by Chinese emperors, esteemed for its nutritional value and its rare color.  In this salad, its dark hue contrasts with bright mango for a beautiful, interesting grain salad.

2 cups black forbidden rice
2 navel oranges
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ red onion, minced
1 jalapeños, seeded, minced
2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

To cook rice:  Bring rice and 3 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.

To make salad: Remove peel from oranges. Slice orange into segments, catching any juices for the salad dressing.  Add the lime juice and rice vinegar.  Stir to combine.  Add the red onion, jalapeno, mango, cilantro, and scallions to the juice and vinegar.  Toss well to coat.  Let this salad sit while the rice is cooking, so that the flavors come together.

When rice is done, toss with salad and peanuts.  Garnish with sliced scallions and serve.

Purple Blueberry Rice

Serves 6

Purple rice makes an exciting variation for your typical grain-filled breakfast table.  Other delicious grains to try in this recipe include quinoa, black rice, or steel cut oats.

2 cups purple sticky rice (raw)
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped out
4 cups water
2 cups diced mango (fresh or frozen, thawed)

To make rice:  Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over high heat.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer.  Cook until rice is tender, about 35 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently.

Broiled Pineapple with Thai Basil

Serves 8

Broiling is a great cooking technique to bring out the natural sugars in your fruit.  Pineapple is just one of the many tropical fruits to use when broiling.  Top it with Thai basil, ginger, and limes for a truly Asian touch.

1 pineapple
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons Thai basil, chiffonade
2 limes, cut into wedges

Place your oven on “Broiler” setting (500 degrees).

To broil your pineapple:  Trim and remove the skin from your pineapple.  Cut into either long spears.  Place your pineapple pieces on a baking pan.  Place under the broiler and cook until the fruit starts to caramelize, about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Meanwhile, prepare your other ingredients.  Cut your fresh ginger into large knobs (you can leave the skin on), cut the lime into wedges, and thinly slice mint.

To serve: While pineapple is still warm, place it on a large platter.  Sprinkle on minced ginger and Thai basil.  Let guests squeeze on fresh lime before enjoying.

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