The folks at Lee Memorial Health System in southwest Florida just wrapped up their group Jumpstart, and Dr. Brian Taschner came up with some great ideas for adding variety to the Jumpstart frozen meals. So while you may enjoy eating your PlantPure meals just as they are, check out Dr. Taschner’s modifications, which will enhance flavor, texture, and nutrient density.
Creole Red Beans and Rice, Bourbon Vegetables
Easy: Finely chop tomato, green or red pepper, and yellow onion (you can oftentimes buy a pre-chopped bag of finely diced pepper and onion in the grocery store) and add to the frozen meal prior to heating. The vegetables will soften as the meal heats.
More advanced: Sauté thinly sliced or diced okra or zucchini with chopped tomato, garlic, green or red pepper, and onion. Add to meal once heated.
Spice it up: Add hot sauce of your choice (Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, sriracha, Tabasco); may also add a drop or two of Liquid Smoke to the Creole Red Beans and Rice.
Japanese Vegetable Curry
Easy: Buy a bag of pre-cut cauliflower heads and further chop into bite-sized pieces. Add small pieces of cauliflower and diced carrots to the meal while it heats. This will soften the vegetables.
More advanced: Buy a bag of pre-cut cauliflower heads and further chop into bite-sized pieces. Cut a sweet potato into cubes. Place on parchment-lined or silicone baking sheet. Bake both at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Add to dish once warm.
Spice it up: Consider adding 1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric, which acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. For a stronger curry flavor, you can add 1/8–1/4 teaspoon of curry powder to your meal halfway through the cooking process, stirring thoroughly.
Sesame Noodles, Asian Stewed Tofu, Thai Drunken Veggies
Easy: Add pre-cut green beans and/or shredded carrots to dish while it is heating. Can also add finely sliced greens about 20 minutes prior to your meal being fully heated (this will help to wilt them into the dish). Bok choy is a healthy green that is great in Asian dishes. While the leaves will wilt, the whitish stems will remain crunchy.
More advanced: Sauté chopped broccoli and/or green beans and/or chopped bok choy with garlic (and ginger if desired). Add to dish once it is heated. Can also add some chopped cabbage (pre-packaged as coleslaw or broccoli slaw in the supermarket) for a cool crunch, top with thinly sliced scallions (green onions), and sprinkle with sesame seeds for extra protein and fiber.
Spice it up: Consider adding chopped cilantro and/or chili garlic sauce if more adventurous.
Spaghetti and Veggie Balls
Easy: Add diced tomatoes and minced garlic to the meal while it is heating. Can also add finely chopped greens (spinach) about 20 minutes prior to the meal being fully heated.
More advanced: Roast some cherry tomatoes at 250 degrees for about an hour. They will become soft and sweet. Add these along with minced garlic to the heated meal.
Spice it up: If adventurous, you can also top with freshly cut basil and red pepper flakes. Also sprinkling some nutritional yeast flakes on top can help to create a cheesy flavor. Again, I also like to add finely chopped greens such as spinach or kale. If using a warming tray, add these about 20 minutes before your meal is done. One cup of chopped greens will wilt and add extra freshness and nutrition.
African Stew, Kale Peanut Bowl
Easy: Add finely sliced greens (kale) about 20 minutes prior to meal being fully heated.
More advanced: For Kale Peanut Bowl, sauté half a bag of pre-chopped broccoli and add to dish once heated (this can be added in addition to greens noted above).
For African Stew, dice and bake a small to medium-sized sweet potato (see above under curry recipe) and add to heated meal (in addition to greens).
Both dishes can be topped with 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts. Chopped cilantro can be used for those who are more adventurous. Once again, consider adding 1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric for flavor and health benefits.
Spice it up: For the Kale Peanut Bowl, add chili sauce or sriracha.
New England Chowder
Easy: Finely chop 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks and 1/4 cup of onion (these can also be purchased pre-packaged). Add to meal as it is heating so vegetables will soften.
Spice it up: Consider adding some finely chopped parsley.