BLENDITARIAN CHALLENGE SERIES
Blenditarian.Com has initiated a monthly challenge that incorporates their Blenditarian approach into interesting and fun dishes. To clarify for my readers, a Blenditarian is “one who believes the mighty, meaty mushroom makes meals more delicious, nutritious and sustainable.” This approach stretches ground meat by adding finely chopped mushrooms to create a flavourful and more nutritious dish. The theme for the April Blenditarian Challenge is “Go Green for Earth Month.” The challenge is to create an earth-‘friendlier’ dish by incorporating The Blend (mushrooms + ground meat) into “power greens.” For this reason, I have developed a recipe called Turkey, Mushroom and Power Greens Pasta. It is a recipe that can be adapted for many dietary needs, such as dairy-free, gluten-free, heart-healthy, and is also Weight Watchers friendly.
When you use chicken or turkey in a ‘Blend’, it is called a ‘blond blend’. Lean ground turkey is an excellent choice, not only because it is a low-fat protein option, but also because it readily assimilates the flavours of the ingredients. In this recipe, spices such as cumin and chilli powder lend a subtle earthy spiciness, and using paprika helps to create an appealing golden colour to the meat mixture. The use of fresh herbs (parsley and basil) adds brightness to the dish.
Let’s talk about power greens. Power greens can be described as a nutrient-dense superfood of leafy greens contributing an energy boost with high amounts of Vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, dietary fibre and potassium. The greens can be used individually or can be found in a mix often comprised of baby spinach, Swiss chard (both red and green), and kale. For this recipe, I utilized Dinosaur Kale (also known as Tuscan kale, or black kale). I love the look of the curled dark glossy leaves. It is a sturdy green with a tough stalk. I removed the stalk by slicing along each side. Once all of the stalks have been removed, I gathered the leafy ‘strips’ and sliced them thinly (a chiffonade cut). I added the prepared kale to the pasta water during the last few minutes of cooking.