Thursday, April 17, 2014

Superfoods Month: Tamarind-Chocolate Chili

Cacao isn’t your run-of-the-mill healthy food; it’s a superstar among superfoods. We have heard quite a lot about the phytochemical content of tea, wine, and blueberries, but cacao has more than all of them. And though these foods are great, you can consume them in only so many ways. How many dishes can you make with tea or wine? There are probably more culinary uses of cacao than there are ways to eat blueberries!

We are talking about a nutrient-dense, phytochemical-rich food that can be eaten in breakfasts, desserts, and every way in between. You don’t need to be a super-adventurous eater or fringe chef to use cacao in new ways and reap the benefits of this superbean. Check out this amazing recipe from Matt Ruscigno that helps you to get cacao into your nutrition plan in an easy and delicious way. Matt's new book, Superfoods for Life, Cacao publishes in July 2014. We thought you'd enjoy this sneak peek.

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Tamarind-Chocolate Chili
Excerpted from Superfoods for Life, Cacao by Matt Ruscigno (with Joshua Ploeg)


This is an easy and tasty way to have a hearty chocolate stew. Lentils are a nutrition powerhouse, chock-full of protein and minerals, and are low cost, quick to cook, and extremely versatile! Enjoy them here with the additional benefits of cacao and vegetables.


Ingredients
2 cups (396 g) cooked lentils or other legumes
1 cup (150 g) chopped seasoned tofu or cooked tempeh
½ cup (80 g) diced onion
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable broth (more as needed)
1 cup (240 g) crushed tomatoes
2 minced garlic cloves
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced ginger
⅓ cup (82 g) tamarind purée
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon (9 g) minced chile pepper
½ cup (75 g) diced bell pepper
¼ cup (27.5 g) minced carrot
½ cup (75 g) corn, fresh, frozen, or canned
2 tablespoons (18 ml) tamari
½ teaspoon black pepper
⅓ cup (27 g) cocoa powder or 2 to 4 ounces (55 to 115 g) chopped dark chocolate
¼ cup (4 g) chopped fresh cilantro
Sweetener of your choice, to taste (optional)

Garnish options: diced red bell pepper, cocoa powder or crushed cacao nibs, minced scallions, chopped cilantro, chopped pineapple, diced onion

Directions:
Cook everything except the chocolate and cilantro at a simmer in a large pot, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Add more broth or water if needed to keep your desired texture. Add the chocolate and cilantro and cook for 10 minutes more.

Yield: 5 servings

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Superfoods for Life, Cacao

Are you craving chocolate? Go ahead, give in! Cacao—raw chocolate—often referred to as "food of the gods", is high in antioxidants. It is also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, and copper. A good source of omega-6 fatty acids and rich in heart-healthy oleic acids, it will boost your mood, improve cognition and help lessen stress! Sounds too good to be true.

But it isn’t, as author Matt Ruscigno explains, this hot superfood has powerful benefits. Then Matt gives you what you really want—recipes for chocolate! Superfoods for Life, Cacao contains 75 recipes for sweet and savory cacao recipes—from main dishes to desserts—including Huitlacoche-Chocolate Empanadas, Cocoa Buffalo Tempura Vegetables, Dolmathes with Currant-Chocolate Rice and Cacao Tzatziki.