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Healthy Living Recipes

Deb Morgan: It’s strawberry season! I love strawberries, especially when they are fresh picked. In the Berkshires, we have many strawberry farms—if you are able to visit us this month, consider booking an extra day to explore our wonderful farm culture. Whether you are able to pick your own strawberries, purchase them at your local farmers’ market, or get them at the grocery store, remember to buy extra and freeze what you don’t use immediately. They make a wonderful addition to any smoothie combination. Here are two wonderful ways to enjoy strawberries.

Strawberry Rice Salad

For the salad
1 cup cooked white basmati rice
½ cup diced frozen mango, thawed
¼ cup sliced fresh dates
½ cup fresh sliced strawberries
¼ cup sliced celery

For the dressing
¼ cup Veganaise™ (egg-less mayonnaise)
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
Pinch of sea salt

Whisk dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add salad ingredients and toss. Best served at room temperature.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Makes about 15.

6 ounces dark chocolate
1 ½ tablespoons butter or Earth Balance™ (vegan spread)
⅓ cup heavy cream or soy milk
About 15 whole strawberries, stems intact

Chop chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof glass bowl. In a small saucepan, heat milk or cream with butter. As soon as milk comes to a boil, remove from heat. Pour half of milk over chocolate and stir. Pour remaining milk over chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted.

Rinse berries and pat dry, keeping their stems intact if possible. Dip each berry three-quarters of the way into the chocolate and set on wax paper. Refrigerate berries until chocolate is hard. Eat within three days.

Read Annie Kay’s Nutritional Commentary: Berry Good For You.

Strawberries are rich in phenols, including the anthocyanins that give this summer fruit its bright-red color and antioxidant potency. Antioxidants protect the body’s cell structure from oxidative stress and other damage. Ellagitannins, another phenol in strawberries, has been associated with lower rates of cancer. Dark chocolate also contains phenols (cocoa phenols). Studies suggest that in addition to being antioxidants, plant phenols promote healthy blood pressure. When it comes to nutrition, dark chocolate shines-white and milk chocolate, while tasty, don’t provide the same benefits. But like any chocolate, it’s easy to overdo—enjoy small tastes.

Both celery and strawberries are rich in vitamin C, which supports healthy immune function, and fiber, which improves digestion in a variety of ways. Vinegars are a great way to add low-sodium flavor to salads and vegetables and, as they are high in acetic acid, they may well improve the absorption of the calcium in dark green leafy vegetables and other plants. Vinegar has been explored as an antiglycemic (which helps stabilize blood sugar), and may be helpful for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes in Kripalu Recipes.