October 9, 2015
Don't throw your beet greens away anymore!

Don’t throw your beet greens away anymore!

Trends come and go, whether we’re talking about hairstyles, the cut of jeans or health foods. As Austin culinary arts students know, there are plenty of ways to incorporate healthy ingredients into savory meals, and it’s always exciting to find a new way to prepare an old favorite. An emerging health food scene is working it’s way through Austin, with more health-conscious and organic restaurants like Counter Culture and Casa de Luz opening all the time. Even food trucks are taking a healthier turn, with trucks like Arlo’s and Conscious Cravings making it easier to eat healthy on the go. Here are some current trendy foods to keep an eye out for when you want to try your hand at cooking healthy:

Over quinoa? Try these grains:

  • Teff: This grain is rich in calcium, iron, fiber and protein. It actually leads all of the grains in calcium content. It has a mild, sweet taste and is naturally gluten-free.
  • Freekeh: Freekeh is made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process in production. According to Freekeh Foods, it was actually created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a crop of green wheat caught on fire. Freekeh has four times as much fiber as most other grains and a very low glycemic index.

Over kale? Try these greens:

  • Beet greens: There is no reason to throw away the tops of your beets! The greens are rich in Vitamin A and easy to sauté, just like you would with spinach, kale or collard greens. It’s always a plus when you can use an entire vegetable.
  • Seaweed: Of course, it’s delicious in sushi, and you can use seaweed for more than those dishes. It’s high in calcium and antioxidants, and according to Food Matters, it has plenty of medicinal uses in addition to being a great add-in to your salads.

Over tofu? Try these proteins:

  • Heirloom beans: Naturally gluten-free, these beans are rich and fiber and protein. They’re heartier and have a stronger flavor than black and pinto beans, so they’d make a good addition to a burrito bowl.
  • Tempeh: Tempeh is usually lumped in with tofu because it’s made with soybeans, but it isn’t the same. According to Vegan Coach, it has a higher protein, fiber and vitamin content than tofu and is less processed.

Over kimchi? Try these vegetables:

  • Rutabagas: Like a potato, a rutabaga is a root vegetable. It’s slightly bitter but adopts a sweeter taste when it’s cooked. You can add rutabagas to mashed potatoes for a new twist on a classic recipe.
  • Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi has a similar taste and texture to cabbage and broccoli stems. You can cook the greens and stems up similarly to beet greens, but the vegetable itself can be steamed, roasted or eaten raw. It’s especially rich in vitamin C.