Although at Scratch we embrace numerous cultures of food and culinary traditions from across the world, we have not paraded our vegetarian culture at the forefront. With a growing body of evidence supporting the health benefits of a plant based diet, we have decided there is no better time than the present to espouse the virtue of grains, legumes, veggies and vegetable protein sources. We have found that the typical American meal paradigm of PROTEIN-STARCH-VEGGIE is wholeheartedly lacking. Simply adding a boiled green bean or some corn to your plate really doesn’t cut it. Take for example these three plant based dishes – which could be served as a side or eaten alone to provide significantly more nutrition that a baked chicken breast, pasta and a veggie. For Example:
Roasted Allium Vegetable Quinoa with Asparagus and Mushrooms – This one starts with Roasted Onions and Garlic, both linked with positive health benefits including anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory; Quinoa, called the Mother of all Grains which is considered a complete protein as well as containing plenty of soluble fiber and calcium (great for lactose intolerant vegetarians; Mushrooms and Asparagus which are a good source of nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.
Ratatouille – perhaps my all around “go to” health food. The combination of multi colored vegetables ranging from onions and peppers to eggplant and tomatoes, makes this french staple a juggernaut in terms of its antioxidant and flavonoid content. The new mantra for long term health is “eat the rainbow” – this refers to the different nutritive pigments or antioxidant/flavanoids that exist in nature’s great variety of fruits and vegetables.
Island Adzuki Bean Mashup – this one clearly represents Scratch’s dedication to flavor and health – disregarding typical food pairings as obsolete. For the sake of flavor and health, we deemed our new superfood blends to be “MASHUPS”. This particular mashup combines the flavor backbone and health benefits of onions and garlic with antioxidant rich Carrots and Edamame. The addition of a little coconut oil adds rich, island notes. We top this one with slivered almonds, creating a complete protein. Again, this dish illustrates how a little buttered corn pales in comparison to this nutrient dense side/main dish.
I look forward to more vegetarian / plant based discussions in the future – because ultimately, the future of America’s Health depends on it.
Chef Matthew Hayden