Cranberry Persimmon Smoothie

Persimmon Cranberry Smoothie 1

Sometimes the most exotic ingredients are best delivered in nondescript packages. At least, that’s the case with this Cranberry Persimmon Smoothie, which conveniently tastes like good old strawberry banana. If you’re new to persimmons, or are uneasy about tofu (yep, I snuck that in), rest assured that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy the comforting, sweet flavors of this seasonal fruity beverage.

Rather than sticking to tried-and-true favorites, I encourage you to begin 2016 with an open-minded palate. Persimmons (tomato-looking fruits that are in stores this time of year) are a great alternative to winter citrus. Eaten raw, the mildly tropical aromas will transport you to a warmer clime. They also add a delightful twist to baked desserts (like crisps and cobblers). Beginners should note that the oblong, hachiya persimmons must soften before they can be eaten, while the squat looking fuyu persimmons don’t need to ripen as much, and can be eaten firm.

Similarly, while most of us lean towards yogurt as a smoothie thickener, silken tofu is a nutritious (and inconspicuous) plant-based alternative. Although a favorite among the yoga and granola set, this simple soy food also makes for decadently creamy pasta sauces, dips, and salad dressings.

Once you “master” an ingredient, by utilizing it in a crave-worthy recipe, it is much easier to approach menus and cookbooks with an open mind, adding dimension and variety to what can oftentimes become a cycle of repetitive eating.

What new foods will you try this year?

Cranberry Persimmon Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 small banana, frozen in chunks
  • 1 ripe persimmon
  • 1/3 cup frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.

Nutrition per serving: 250 calories, 2g fat (0g saturated fat), 60g carbohydrates (10g fiber, 36g sugar*), 5g protein, 0g cholesterol, 7mg sodium, 56% Vitamin A, 43% Vitamin C, 4% Calcium, 6% Iron

*All sugars are naturally occurring; none are added sugars

– Kelly

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Sofritas Monday – Give Tofu a Try Today!

For those of you that are hesitant to embrace Meatless Mondays, maybe Chipotle can help convince you. After all, they’ve got free burritos.

Sofritas Monday

Don’t let the word tofu scare you off. These are not the squishy, lifeless soy cubes from your aunt’s yoga café. The sofritas are made from shredded, organic tofu mixed with chipotle chilis, poblano peppers, and lots of fragrant spices. In fact, the final result is actually comparable to the taste and texture of ground beef.

Chipotle Sofritas

Sofritas Bowl (see the end of this post for my go-to Chipotle order)

The first time I tried the sofritas was actually prompted by a Chipotle coupon as well, because to be honest, tofu and I didn’t get off to a great start. My first attempt at cooking those jiggly soy bricks ended in a miserable failure. I was in college at the time, and a friend recommended that I cook the tofu like meat. So after letting it bathe in a delicious teriyaki marinade overnight, I pulled out the George Foreman Grill. To my dismay, the slippery tofu slid right off of the grill and splattered onto the floor. So much for that approach!

Fast forward a few years later… Slowly but surely, I am warming up to soy proteins. (I have also ditched the Foreman grill). For example, soy chorizo (okay, definitely not a health food) is absolutely delicious in this recipe. And soy crumbles are actually quite pleasant when used in vegetarian Sloppy Joes or Bolognese sauce.

Do you think you’re ready to give soy foods a try? Ease your way in with the carnivore-friendly sofritas! Also, if you’re curious about the safety of soyfoods, be sure to check out this handout from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics!

– Kelly

P.S. Are you curious about what this RD gets in her Chipotle order? I go for the Sofritas Bowl (or sometimes a Vegetarian Bowl or Pork Carnitas bowl), Brown Rice, Black Beans, Bell Peppers & Onions, Pico de Gallo, Corn Salsa, Lettuce, and sometimes Guacamole. No cheese, no sour cream, no tortilla – no problem!