This week, the World Health Organization declared processed and red meats known and probable carcinogens. Whether we eat meat or not, I think we can all agree that reducing our processed and red meat consumption is a good idea. And I’m pretty sure that if we all dig deep, we can agree that a diet full of fresh vegetables and fruits is a good thing. Like Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Vegetables contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fibre, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are nutrients that are only found in place (that’s why they are “phyto” nutrients). Although research has only begun to uncover a handful of phytonutrients and their roles in the body, we can pretty much agree that when it comes to phytonutrients, more is merrier.
Allow me to introduce the Super Power Wrap. It’s gluten-free and full of colours and superfoods that will help to unleash your super powers:
- Beets contain nutrients called betalains, which help to reduce inflammation and increase the liver’s detox enzymes
- Carrots contain beta carotene, a carotenoid nutrient that converts to powerful antioxidant Vitamin A, which is necessary for beautiful skin and healthy eyes. Some research has also found that beta carotene reduces the risk of certain cancers
- Cucumbers contain silica, which helps to strengthen skin, hair, teeth and nails. Their high water content also makes them super hydrating
- Sprouts, because they are sprouted, contain higher levels of protein, B Vitamins and enzymes than plain lettuce. I’ve used alfalfa sprouts in the wrap below, but feel free to substitute with any other type of sprout you love. Also be sure to buy sprouts that look fresh and clean, and to wash them before eating
- Nori, and all seaweeds, are amazing sources of vegetarian protein and the full spectrum of minerals (including calcium and thyroid-loving iodine)
- Kimchi is a Korean condiment, usually made with cabbage and chilis. Fermenting unlocks the nutrients in the cabbage, making it more digestible, full of enzymes and gut loving probiotics
- Tofu or tempeh are, at some times, controversial foods to eat. I insist on buying organic soy anything, as soy one of the main GMO crops. If you can find organic sprouted tofu, even better
- 8 large rice paper rolls
- 4 sheets nori
- 2 mini cucumbers, peeled with a vegetable peeler
- 1 block organic sprouted tofu or tempeh, cut into ½” sticks, marinated in bbq sauce and quickly broiled
- 4 tsp kimchi, drained
- 1 carrot, grated on the smallest setting
- 1 medium beet, grated on the smallest setting
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Fresh mint
- 1 heaping tablespoon of almond or peanut butter
- 1 tbsp Tamari, Bragg’s or coconut aminos
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 2 tbsp water
- Optional: juice from one lime, a little grated ginger or ginger powder
- Begin by laying the filling ingredients onto the middle of one piece of nori. Start with the shaved cucumber and mint leaves, lay down one or two tofu or tempeh sticks, a small forkful of drained kimchi, a small handful of the grated beet, carrot and alfalfa sprouts. The trick is to not make this pile of ingredients too tall or wide, you’ll need to roll it, so maintain a large border on all sides of one and a half to two inches.
- Soak two sheets of rice paper in a large bowl of warm water. You’ll know the wraps are ready when they soften (this will depend on the temperature of the water, but generally, they only need a few seconds).
- Remove from the warm water and lay on a tea towel. You want to overlap the wraps kind of like a Venn diagram. Make sure that there is enough rice paper on the sides to roll once you lay your nori overtop.
- Lay the nori with the toppings overtop. Make sure that the line of toppings is more or less laying overtop of the overlapping rice paper.
- Roll it up! Begin on one side and take one side of the rice paper and fold it over the toppings, tucking in the sides as you go. Give it a squeeze and continue rolling tightly until you reach the other side of rice paper. Squeeze again and either continue making the rest of the rolls or go on to make the sauce.
- Make the sauce by whisking all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Add more water depending on desired consistency, but in my experience, you don’t want the sauce too thick.
Wishing you mostly plant-powered super powers. xo Andrea