Meatless Monday – Getting to the Root of the Matter

The humble potato is not so humble. It appears in various cuisines around the world and contains numerous health benefits. From North America to South America and the Emerald Isle this tuber vegetable can be made into a side dish or used as the feature in a main meal.

Yukon Gold, Russet, cara, red skinned, yellow skinned, purple potatoes, fingerlings, Idaho, Kennebec, Chiloe, Irish Cobbler, Monalisa, Avalanche, Amandine, Cabritas, Atlantic, Altura, Selma, Carola, jersey royal, King Edward…

On the plus side potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber. They also contain some phytonutrients with antioxidant activity. And don’t forget the peel. Many of the nutrients are contained within the skin (e.g. fibre). However, the potato also has a dubious reputation. It is a member of the nightshade family, Solanaceae, (other members include the tomato, eggplant and pepper) which has proven problematic to some people. Some have claimed that eliminating these foods has helped to mitigate arthritis symptoms. Conclusive research on this is pending. Also, like other members of the nightshade family, potatoes are often heavily sprayed and are one of the foods on the organic must-buy list.

To read more about the health benefits of potatoes, click here.

Here are a few culturally inspired dishes for your Meatless Monday meal.

Poutine-Quebec:
This dish from La Belle Province is simply french fries, gravy and cheese curds. It was born on the partying streets of Montreal as a late night greasy snack to soak up the alcohol consumed. The beauty is that you can make it your own. To veganize it, use mushroom gravy and a tofu-based cheese. As a side dish, try roasted potatoes cut into the shape of french fries, mushroom gravy (perhaps throw in a little marmite for extra flavouring) and organic goat cheese curds. As a main meal, try french-fry cut roasted potatoes again (healthier version of fries that taste just as good) with mushroom gravy and an assortment of vegetables i.e. red pepper, peas, carrots, onions. A vegan or vegetarian cheese will provide the protein complement to the meal.

Aloo Gobi-India
Simply potato (aloo), cauliflower (gobi) and spices. This can be served as a flavourful side dish or a main meal. Simply through in some chickpeas and rice and you will have a well-balanced meal containing carbs, protein and fat with a generous portion of vegetables. Recipe.

Irish Potato Leek Soup-Ireland
The potato famine in 1845 caused many people to flee the Emerald Isle (including a distant relative of mine! No wonder I can’t get enough potatoes!) Here’s my suggestion for a tribute to Ireland and the potato:
All you’ll need is potato (of course), leeks and vegetable broth/water. Throw in some spices (e.g. thyme, salt, pepper) and vegetables (e.g. mushrooms, celery) for extra flavour. Puree then eat.

And as a suggestion:
Potato Pizza
-pizza dough
-2 medium/small potatoes thinly sliced
-rosemary
-some sort of cheese to crumble on top
-olive oil
-garlic

  1. Roll out pizza dough. Brush lightly with olive oil.
  2. Mince garlic and mix with crushed rosemary and more olive oil (just enough to make it spreadable). Spread on crust.
  3. Make a shingle pattern with potato slices. Crumble cheese on top (asiago, parmesan, vegan cheese)
  4. Bake in a preheated 350Farenheit oven for 35-45 minutes. (Oven times will vary.)
  5. Serve with a green salad.
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