One of the most important elements people seek in food, especially vegetarian food is texture. From the moment we begin eating solid food, texture plays an extremely important role in our diets and our palates. Taste is equally important, but how food “feels” remains an issue for many. Consequently, tofu, beans, and other vegetables are given a bad rap while fried and processed foods are touted everywhere.
One of our goals is to show our viewers how easy it really is to change and increase the texture and palatability of soy and vegetable-based dishes. Simple adjustments like choosing whole grain breads versus soft white, adding nuts and whole grains to vegetables, and roasting foods instead of boiling can make a huge difference not only nutritionally but in our mindset. Old habits die hard and diet is no exception. In fact, diet is one of the most difficult things of all to change because our choices are so often steeped in family tradition.
If you want to add texture to your diet, nuts are a wonderful and easy way to begin. Adding toasted nuts to pasta sauces, cereals, desserts, and vegetable dishes not only adds terrific texture but necessary vitamins and protein as well. Another way to get more texture into your food is the use of whole grains. Millet, buckwheat groats, and quinoa are easy to prepare, delicious, chewy and nutritious ways of getting your grains and boosting the texture of just about anything you add them to. These wonderful grains can be eaten at just about any meal, added to baked goods, soups, muffins, meatless burgers, combined with rice, or simply eaten on their own as side dishes. Lately, I’ve been using kasha frequently in my recipes. It cooks quickly, in fifteen minutes or so, has a wonderful nutty taste, supplies more than 20% of your daily fiber, is loaded with B vitamins, protein, and amino acids. I usually make a double batch and use leftovers during the week. Having it ready to go increases the likelihood that you’ll use it. Stored in the refrigerator, cooked grains should last up to seven days. So when you make your resolutions to eat healthier be sure to put nuts and whole grains on top of your list. It’s so easy you’ll wonder why you waited all year.