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When you peel an onion, you find fabulous flavor and nutrients that help your body ward off inflammation, fight chronic disease and regulate blood sugar.

Food Basics

There are hundreds of varieties of onions whose flavor and strength depend on the type of soil and time of year in which they grow. In general, the thicker the layers of onion, the stronger the flavor. Onions are separated into two main categories: fresh onions and storage (or “dry”) onions.

Fresh onions arrive in spring and summer, and you should store them in the refrigerator and eat them soon after harvesting. Examples include green onions (or scallions), and “sweet onions,” like Maui, Vidalia and Walla Walla. When selecting green onions, look for those that appear crisp yet tender and have green, fresh-looking tops. Sweet onions should be firm and heavy with water.

Storage onions are harvested in fall and winter, have a stronger flavor, store longer, and should be kept in a cool, dry place (but not refrigerated). Common examples are yellow, white and red onions. Shallots are a clustering variety of storage onion that are mild and sweet. When purchasing, choose storage onions that are clean, well shaped and tightly closed, with crisp, dry outer skins. Avoid onions that are sprouting or have signs of mold or soft spots.

Nutritional Know-How

Studies have suggested that onions, which are rich in phytochemicals and the antioxidant flavonoid quercetin, may help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and many types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Onions also have powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties. One cup of raw onion contains more than 20 percent of the daily requirement of the trace mineral chromium, important for helping the body to metabolize sugar and lipids. When cooked, onions have a slightly lower vitamin content, but the resulting chemical reactions increase the variety of beneficial sulfur compounds.

Eat Up!

Cooked or raw, onions add depth and excitement to dishes.

  • Spring and red onions bring color and flavor to salads, salsa and guacamole.
  • Sweet onions are best when eaten raw or only slightly cooked, making them perfect additions to hamburgers, sandwiches and fresh salads.
  • To sauté onions, heat skillet over medium-high heat and add oil to coat bottom of pan. Add thinly sliced or chopped onions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper.
  • To caramelize onions, first heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat with 2 teaspoons of butter. Add 2 pounds of thinly sliced onions and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until onions are soft and brown, about 40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. If pan becomes dry, add a few tablespoons of vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper.

Kitchen Tricks

  • To prevent watery eyes when cutting an onion, chill it for an hour before chopping. This helps slow down the movement of allyl sulfate, the enzyme responsible for producing tears.
  • When cutting a dry onion, chop off the top and slice in half through the root. (Leaving the root intact makes chopping easier.) Remove skin and place halves flat-side down on a cutting board. Slice to make uniform half-moon slices.
  • To take the onion smell out of a wooden cutting board, wash it with a paste made from baking soda and a few drops of distilled vinegar. Rinse with warm water. Season the dried board with mineral oil.

Thai Onion Soup

Makes 8 cups

  • 1/4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry wine
  • 1/4 cup port wine
  • 1/4 cup Madeira
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice

Wrap these spices in cheesecloth sachet

  • 1 tbs. chopped lemon grass
  • 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. gram marsala
  • 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/4 tsp. whole cardamom
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt


  1. Heat a sauté pan over high heat and spray with olive oil.
  2. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until the onions have caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes. The onions need to be dark brown; you may need to add a few tablespoons of water or vegetable stock occasionally to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the spice sachet.
  4. Add the sherry and ignite and allow the alcohol to burn off.
  5. Stir in the port wine.
  6. Reduce wine until pan is almost dry.
  7. Add Madeira and reduce by half. A
  8. dd stock and apple juice and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Season with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.

Per serving:
Calories 80; protein 1 g; total fat 0 g; saturated fat 0 g; carbohydrates 14 g; dietary fiber 2 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 80 mg

Carmelized Onion Flatbread With Sundried Tomato Goat Cheese

Makes four flatbreads  

For the onions

  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 4 cups julienned yellow onion
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

For the goat cheese

  • 5 sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. fresh minced thyme
  • 8 oz. goat cheese

For the flatbread

  • 4 each Multi Grain Flatout® Flatbread*
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1/4 cup basil, cut chiffonade

Directions for the Caramelized Onions

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
  2. Add onions and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until onions are nicely caramelized.
  3. Use vegetable stock as needed to keep onions from sticking and remove brown bits from bottom of the pan, about 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. Season with black pepper.

Directions for the Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and puree until very smooth. Add the goat cheese to the food processor with the pureed tomatoes and mix well.
  3. Place flatbread on baking sheets. Lightly spray with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon basil, 2 tablespoons mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup caramelized onion and top with five tomato slices.
  5. Dot each with 3 tablespoons of goat cheese and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until dough is crispy and cheese is melted.
  6. Cut each flatbread into eight pieces and serve on a 10-inch plate garnished with 1 tablespoon fresh basil.

*Gluten-free options for flatbread: Food for Life whole-grain brown rice tortillas, organic sprouted whole kernel flourless corn tortillas, or La Tortilla Factory’s ivory teff wraps.

Per serving (one flatbread):
Calories 430; protein 24 g; total fat 21 g; saturated fat 10 g; carbohydrates 44 g; dietary fiber 9 g; cholesterol 35 mg; sodium 1,250 mg

Recipes presented by Conscious Cuisine.

This article has been updated. It originally appeared online on October 1, 2009.


Known for their divine flavor and sumptuous shape, pears have been called “the queen of fruits.” Available fresh for several months of the year — and with a long storage life — pears are a convenient way to give your body more fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Food Basics

Pears are members of the rose family. Like apples, their cores contain seeds, but pears are denser and less tart than apples. More than 5,000 varieties of pears grow around the world. They have white, juicy, buttery flesh; a sweet flavor; a fine, slightly grainy texture; and thin skin. While most pears have a round bottom that tapers up to a thin top, some — such as the Asian pear — are spherical.

Pears are usually picked just before they ripen (most varieties are green at this point). As pears ripen, their color changes to various shades of yellow, green, red or brown. You can find fresh pears much of the year. In the United States, summer harvest includes Bartlett pears, which can be stored unripe in the refrigerator for one to three months. Early autumn brings Bosc and Comice, which will keep unripe in the fridge for two to four months. In late autumn, you can find Anjou and store them unripe in the fridge for six to seven months.

It’s best to ripen pears slowly at room temperature. When ripe, a pear yields to slight pressure. A perfectly ripe pear will be juicy but still have a firm texture. Mushy and mealy flesh means it’s past its peak. When purchasing, select firm (but not overly hard) pears that are free of blemishes.

Nutritional Know-How

A medium-size pear has 6 grams of dietary fiber, about 24 percent of the daily recommendation. This fiber, found in the skin and flesh, makes pears great for regulating digestion. Diets high in fiber are associated with reduced risk of some types of cancer. Pears are a good source of vitamin C, which helps with tissue growth and repair, and vitamin K, which is important for healthy blood coagulation and maintaining bone mass. The fruits are high in antioxidants, and research has indicated that antioxidant levels increase as pears fully ripen.

Eat Up!

  • Sliced or diced pears add a crispy, buttery sweetness to any salad. Try replacing the apples in Waldorf salad with pears for a delicious treat.
  • Pears are a natural companion to cheese. Match Roquefort with Bosc, Stilton with red Anjou, and Brie with yellow Bartlett.
  • Add grated or chopped pears to your morning bowl of oatmeal or cottage cheese and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • To make chutneys or compotes, simmer pears with hot chilies, ginger, vinegar, and raisins or other fruits.
  • Cut pears into quarters, toss with balsamic vinaigrette and roast for about 10 minutes in a 400-degree oven to soften and caramelize.
  • Peel and chop overripe pears, freeze, and use in your favorite smoothie.

Kitchen Tricks

  • To ripen hard pears, store them at room temperature for up to five days. If you are not going to eat ripe pears immediately, store them in the refrigerator for up to two days.
  • To speed the ripening process, place the pears in a brown paper bag at room temperature for one or two days; the trapped ethylene gas accelerates the process.
  • After slicing, toss pears with a little lemon juice or place in a bowl of 1 tablespoon lemon juice mixed with a 1/2 cup water to prevent discoloration.

Pear Chicken Salad

Makes four servings

  • 6 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 cup cooked, chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 cored, sliced pear (Bosc)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped seedless grapes
  • 1 tbs. Roquefort cheese crumbled
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette


  1. Divide the baby lettuce among the four salad plates.
  2. In a bowl, combine the pear slices, celery, walnut pieces, grapes, cheese, salt, pepper and vinaigrette, and toss gently to moisten.
  3. Divide pear salad (about 3/4 cup) on top of greens.

Per salad:
Calories 290; protein 21 g; total fat 14 g; saturated fat 2.5 g; carbohydrates 22 g; dietary fiber 4 g; cholesterol 50 mg; sodium 440 mg

Curried Pear and Potato Salad

Makes six servings


  • 4 cups chopped, cooled and boiled Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbs. chopped green onions (about four)
  • 1 pear, cored, halved, and chopped
  • 2 tbs. chopped pistachio nuts
  • 6 leaves Bibb lettuce, for plating


  • 1 tbs. curry powder
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or pure unfiltered apple juice
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  1. For the salad, place the potatoes in a bowl with the raisins, scallions, pear and pistachios.
  2. For the dressing, mix the curry powder with the apple juice, and then stir in the yogurt.  Fold dressing into potato mixture.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving.
  4. Place one Bibb lettuce cup on each plate. Place 1 cup of potato salad in each lettuce cup.

Per serving (1 cup):
Calories 200; protein 5 g; total fat 3 g; saturated fat 1g; carbohydrates 41 g; dietary fiber 4 g; cholesterol 5 mg; sodium 220 mg

Pear and Walnut Compote

Makes 15 servings

  • 1 1/2 tsp. butter
  • 6 ripe pears, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 tbs. agave nectar
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Melt butter in a saucepan and brown slightly. Watch carefully so that it doesn’t burn.
  2. Add the chopped pears, stir and cook for several minutes. Stir in the juice, agave nectar, lemon juice, zest and ginger. Cover and cook over low heat until pears are very soft.
  3. This should appear slightly chunky. Serve warm or cold.

Per serving (4 ounces):
Calories 90; protein 1 g; total fat 3 g; saturated fat 0.5 g; carbohydrates 16 g; dietary fiber 2 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 5 mg

Pear-Parsnip Soup

Makes eight servings

  • 1/4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (about two large)
  • 9 cups chopped, peeled parsnips (about 4 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 cups chopped, peeled pears (about six medium)
  • 3 cups diced, peeled potatoes (about 3/4 pound)
  • 8 to 9 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions, parsnips, pears and potatoes. Cook until the onions have softened, about two minutes.
  3. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until parsnips and potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While the soup is simmering, stir in the nutmeg and thyme to blend the flavors into the soup.
  5. Carefully ladle the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth to remove any pulp.
  6. Return the strained soup to a pan and heat until hot.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.

Per serving (1 cup):
Calories 260; protein 5 g; total fat 1.5 g; saturated fat 0 g; carbohydrates 62 g; dietary fiber 13 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 340 mg

Recipes presented by Conscious Cuisine

This article has been updated. It originally appeared online on September 1, 2019.


Cauliflower is often relegated to the veggies-and-dip tray, but this nutritional powerhouse deserves a place of honor at every dinner table. Raw or roasted, steamed or sautéed, it can be incorporated into delicious dishes that please the palate while promoting vibrant health.

Food Basics

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable with a mild, slightly nutty flavor. White cauliflower is the most readily available in grocery stores, but there are also green, orange and purple varieties. Green cauliflower — a cross between cauliflower and broccoli — is slightly sweeter than white cauliflower when raw and tastes more like broccoli when steamed. The orange variety is also slightly sweeter than white cauliflower, and the purple variety has a milder flavor. Purple cauliflower cooks a little faster than its white cousin and turns green when heated. When purchasing, look for firm cauliflower with compact florets. The leaves should be green and crisp.

Nutritional Know-How

Cauliflower contains glucosinolates and thiocyanates — both sulfur-containing phytonutrients — that cleanse the body of damaging free radicals. These phytonutrients encourage the body to ramp up its production of enzymes that aid in detoxification and even kill some tumors and cancer cells. Studies have shown that eating three to five servings of cruciferous vegetables each week can significantly lower the risk of several types of cancer. Researchers believe that, when combined with turmeric, cauliflower may help prevent (or stop the spread of) prostate cancer. Orange cauliflower has slightly higher levels of beta-carotene, and purple cauliflower contains the flavonoid anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant. A 1-cup serving of boiled cauliflower contains a whopping 91.5 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

Eat Up!

Cauliflower can be eaten raw, and steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, fried, boiled or roasted. You can cook the cauliflower as a whole head or cut into florets.

  • Cauliflower is uncommonly delicious when roasted. Cut one head into small, even florets. Toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper and dried red pepper to taste; or toss with olive oil, 1/4-cup soy sauce and a dash of pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking tray and cook at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden around the edges.
  • Chop raw cauliflower into different sizes and add it to salads. Add small florets to your favorite bean salad for extra crunch.
  • To add texture to your next stir-fry dish, cut the whole cauliflower into 1/2-inch slices, break into florets and stir-fry according to your favorite recipe. Flat slices of cauliflower cook quickly and have more surface area for the sauce to cling to.

Kitchen Tricks

  • Fix quick, healthy snacks by preparing cauliflower as soon as you bring it home from the store. Clean and cut into florets, then store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to four days.
  • To clean, remove the leaves and gently scrape off any brown spots with a knife. Place the cauliflower upside down on a cutting board and carefully cut around and remove the core that keeps the florets intact.
  • Avoid cooking cauliflower in aluminum or iron pots. When chemical compounds in cauliflower come in contact with aluminum, the vegetable will yellow. When they come in contact with iron, cauliflower turns brown or blue-green.

Cauliflower Purée

Makes six servings

  • 2 1/4 lbs cauliflower florets
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, to cover
  • 1 tbs. minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved


  1. Place the cauliflower, milk and thyme in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.
  2. Carefully ladle the cauliflower florets into the blender in batches and purée until very smooth. Add only enough of the skim milk to allow the blades to turn and purée cauliflower until smooth.
  3. Add Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt.

Per serving (1/2 cup): Calories 70; protein 5 g; total fat 3.5 g; saturated fat 2.5 g; carbohydrates 6 g; dietary fiber 1 g; cholesterol 15 mg; sodium 230 mg

Curried Cauliflower Salad

Makes eight servings

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 tbs. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup julienned red peppers
  • 1 cup baked tofu, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 tbs. seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). In a mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower, curry powder, olive oil and 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is just starting to soften. Cool on rack for about 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower, red peppers and tofu. Mix in remaining 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

Per serving (1 cup): Calories 70; protein 6 g; total fat 3 g; saturated fat 0 g; carbohydrates 6 g; dietary fiber 2 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 90 mg

Cauliflower Soup

Makes 8 cups

  • 1/4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets and stems
  • 2 cups diced Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock


  1. Heat a large stockpot over high heat and add olive oil.
  2. Stir in the onions, celery, garlic and cauliflower. Sauté until the onions are translucent, about three to five minutes.
  3. Stir in the potatoes, spices and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.
  4. Transfer to blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Per 1-cup serving: Calories 80; protein 3 g; total fat 0.5 g; saturated fat 0 g; carbohydrates 18 g; dietary fiber 4 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 115 mg

Pickled Cauliflower

Makes about 5 cups

For pickling liquid:

  • 1 1/4 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tbs. kosher salt 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs (1½ tablespoons dried dill) 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pickling spice
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried hot red-pepper flakes

For vegetables:

  • 2 heads cauliflower (2 lbs.) trimmed and broken into 1- to 1 1/2-inch florets (6 cups)


  1. To prepare pickling liquid: Bring pickling-liquid ingredients to a boil in a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until honey is dissolved. Add the cauliflower and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove pan from heat and carefully take cauliflower out of pickling liquid.
  3. Place the cauliflower in a sterilized container and cover cauliflower with pickling liquid.
  4. Use a small plate to weigh down the cauliflower and keep it submerged.
  5. Chill, covered, at least one day before serving.

Per serving (1/4 cup): Calories 45; protein 1 g; total fat 0 g; saturated fat 0 g; carbohydrates 10 g; dietary fiber 2 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 710 mg

Recipes presented by Conscious Cuisine


Kiwifruit is a relative newcomer to the American fruit salad. Previously known as the Chinese gooseberry, it was first shipped to the United States in the early 1960s from New Zealand. Soon after, crafty marketers renamed the fabulous fruit after New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi. Until then, much of the world had been unaware of the fruit, even though it had been growing in China for more than 700 years. But how do you eat this fuzzy, nutrition-packed fruit? It’s easy: Just bite in!

Food Basics

Kiwifruit, often referred to simply as kiwi, has tart and sweet flesh with flavors reminiscent of strawberry, banana, melon, pineapple and citrus. Yet this versatile fruit has a unique appearance and a distinctive flavor like no other. About the size of a large egg, its light green or gold flesh is covered in a thin, fuzzy skin. The whole fruit is edible, including the skin, tiny poppylike seeds and cream-colored core. Kiwifruit is available year-round, with the bulk of its production coming from the United States (specifically, California), New Zealand and France, though Italy, Japan and Chile are large producers, too.

Nutritional Know-How

Kiwifruit is nutritionally dense. It’s low in sodium and calories and high in potassium. When ripe, the kiwi contains the proteolytic enzyme actinidin, which aids digestion. Ounce for ounce, kiwifruit contains more vitamin C (a water-soluble antioxidant) than an orange. It’s also a good source for two of the most important fat-soluble antioxidants: vitamin E and vitamin A. This combination of both water- and fat-soluble antioxidants has been shown to improve cardiovascular health. In fact, a 2004 University of Oslo study shows that daily consumption of two to three kiwifruit has similar effects as the daily dosage of aspirin some physicians recommend to improve heart health.

Kitchen Tricks

  • When buying kiwis, choose fruit free of bruises, soft spots, wrinkles and other signs of exterior damage.
  • For best flavor, allow kiwifruit to soften (like avocados or pears) before eating. It ripens best when placed near fruits that produce ethylene gas, such as apples, pears and peaches. That’s a good thing if you want to speed ripening – and a bad thing if you want to extend storage time.
  • Fully ripened kiwi can be kept for a week or more in the refrigerator. Hard kiwifruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and then ripened at room temperature.
  • To peel a kiwi whole, simply use a vegetable peeler, slicing toward the hard end where the kiwi was attached to the vine.

Eat Up!

Kiwifruit can be prepared in many beautiful and delicious ways. As with all fruit, wash it before eating by rubbing it gently under cool water.

  • Eat a kiwi whole, like an apple, or slice it into quarters, like an orange, and enjoy – skin and all!
  • If you don’t like the skin, or if the fuzziness irritates your throat, cut the kiwifruit in half and use a small spoon to scoop out its tender flesh.
  • Slice kiwifruit over salads just before serving.
  • Kiwifruit complements most fruits and main dishes, but avoid mixing it with yogurt. The actinidin enzyme in kiwifruit dissolves milk proteins and gives the mixture an odd flavor.
  • The same actinidin enzyme, however, makes kiwifruit ideal for tenderizing and seasoning meats. Just rub meat with kiwi flesh or place kiwi slices on top of meat for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove slices and wipe off excess juice and pulp before cooking.
  • Peeled, sliced or diced, kiwifruit provides a tasty complement to cooked chicken and seafood dishes.
  • Purée kiwi and use as a dessert sauce, in cocktails or non-alcoholic slushes, or to make delicious sorbets and popsicles.

Spinach, Kiwi and Strawberry Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

Presented by Chef Neff, Conscious Cuisine®
Makes 8 cups

This tasty salad can be paired with almost anything. Try it with a grilled chicken breast, sautéed sea bass, baked tofu or tempeh.

  • 1 head of radicchio, cored, washed and leaves separated
  • 6 cups cleaned, trimmed and dried spinach, packed
  • 1 cup sliced 1/4-inch-thick strawberries
  • 1 cup peeled, medium-diced kiwi
  • 1 tbs. toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs. honey
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup enoki mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Tear spinach into bite-size pieces and place in a salad bowl. Add strawberries, kiwi, sunflower seeds and onion.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the spinach mixture and toss lightly.
  3. Place one radicchio leaf on each plate. Arrange the spinach mixture in each radicchio cup. Garnish with enoki mushrooms.

Per Serving (1 cup):
Calories 60; Protein 2 g; Total Fat 1 g; Saturated Fat 0 g; Carbohydrates 12 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 125 mg|

Bulgur Wheat and Fruit Salad

Presented by Chef Neff, Conscious Cuisine®
Makes 4 1/2 cups

This quick, great-tasting salad pairs well with steamed asparagus and roast chicken, grilled vegetables and shrimp, or steamed halibut and spinach.

  • 2 cups steamed bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of allspice
  • 1/4 cup fruit-infused rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. hazelnut or grape-seed oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup peeled, small-diced kiwi


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the bulgur, dried fruit, onion and parsley.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, except the kiwi, and toss with the bulgur.
  3. Fold freshly diced kiwi into the bulgur.
  4. Chill the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Per Serving (1/2 cup):
Calories 160; Protein 3 g; Total Fat 1.5 g; Saturated Fat 0 g; Carbohydrates 35 g; Dietary Fiber 5 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 270 mg


Long considered the foe of healthy hearts, eggs are winning back their reputation as one of nature’s most balanced and nutritious foods. These hard-working bundles of vitamins and minerals – which can have a starring role in a meal (think omelets and quiches) or be the essential bit player (the magic ingredient that gives soufflés their fluff) – are indispensable to cooks around the world for their versatility and flavor.

Food Basics

Brown, white, organic, free-range, omega-3 – you’ve got a lot of egg choices. When it comes to getting optimal nutrition and flavor, egg size and color don’t count – but the chickens’ diet and living conditions do.

Seek out eggs from birds raised under healthy and nutrition-minded conditions (not factory farms). You may note stronger shells; brighter, sturdier yolks; and clearer whites. And despite industry insistence to the contrary, you may also enjoy a better nutrient profile and better taste. Some folks prefer organic eggs, others prefer free-range. You can learn the difference and get a sense of the current egg (and meat) controversy in The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Chickens fed on flaxseed offer higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, but you may pay a premium price for the extra nutrition.

Fresh, unbroken eggs can be kept in the carton for up to a month when properly refrigerated. Fresh eggs will sink in a bowl of cold water. If they bob near the surface, dump ’em.

Nutritional Know-How

Eggs got a bad reputation in the mid-20th century when cholesterol was first linked to heart disease. Today, though, the connection between dietary (food) cholesterol and blood (serum) cholesterol is far less certain, and current research suggests that the cholesterol in eggs is unlikely to play a significant role in contributing to heart disease in most people (ask your health professional). As a result, eggs are experiencing a popular resurgence.

Rich in protein, low in sodium, and loaded with essential vitamins and minerals (particularly B vitamins, folic acid and vitamin D), eggs are also high in healthy essential fatty acids. A single large egg contains 75 calories, 5 total grams of fat (1.6 saturated), 6 grams of protein and zero carbs.

Whole eggs provide an excellent balance of amino acids, and they pack the extra punch of lutein and zeaxanthin, two plant-based antioxidants. Keep in mind that the yolks are home to almost all of eggs’ vitamin A and iron, as well as their healthy fats and much of their flavor. Egg white is about 90 percent water and 10 percent protein with some trace minerals and vitamins.

Kitchen Tricks

  • Scrambled. In a medium-size bowl, beat eggs (plus a little salt and ground pepper) with a large fork or whisk until well mixed and fluffy. Heat a heavy-bottom pan over medium heat before adding a little olive oil or butter. When the oil begins to bubble, add eggs. Reduce heat to low and begin to stir occasionally as the eggs start to solidify. Eggs cooked slowly will stay moist and fluffy. They continue cooking when removed from heat, so to avoid rubberiness, remove when they are still slightly wet.
  • Boiled. Place whole eggs in a pot filled with cold water. Cook eggs over medium-high heat until boiling. As soon as the water comes to a boil, set the timer: For a soft-boiled egg, four to five minutes; medium-boiled, six to seven minutes; hard-boiled, 10 to 12 minutes. When time is up, remove eggs from the hot water and plunge them briefly under cold, running water. Immediately after cooking the eggs, and while they are still slightly warm, gently peel them under cold, running water. (Tip: Dip them briefly in ice water to prevent green yolks.) Place a colander in the sink to catch shell pieces. Hard-boiled eggs can be kept in the shell, refrigerated, for one week.
  • Poached. Fill a medium-size pot three-quarters full of cold water. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and swirl the vinegar and water with a spoon. Crack open and gently add eggs to the swirling water (one at a time). Cook for three to five minutes for soft- to medium-poached eggs.

Eat Up!

Chefs all over the world prize eggs for their versatility and flavor. They can be baked, boiled and even fermented. And their uses as a key ingredient in other dishes are innumerable. Here are some ideas for making superior eggs as a main dish:

  • Get creative when adding veggies and herbs to a scramble. Consider asparagus, sweet peppers, leeks, garlic, spinach, arugula, fresh or dried tomatoes, and wild mushrooms. Fresh basil adds a heady aroma and fresh flavor; crushed tarragon or thyme adds sophistication; curly parsley and ground paprika deliver visual appeal.
  • Eggs come alive with the right sauce – think garlic-chili, curry, marinara, even mustard. Want to add some spice but can’t tolerate Tabasco? Try a natural, local or homemade mild salsa, perhaps with a little plain yogurt on the side.
  • Serve your salsa and eggs with a tortilla, beans and green chilies for a simple brunch of Huevos Rancheros. Or whip up a vegetable and smoked-trout frittata for a delightful dinner. Try this Arugula and Mushroom Frittata With Chèvre or a Pizza Margherita Frittata.

Miraval Omelet

Makes one omelet

  • 1/4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tbs. finely chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh tomato
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh spinach
  • 1 tbs. low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 whole egg, plus two egg whites, lightly whipped
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Heat a sauté pan with a flameproof handle over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the vegetables and sauté until they begin to soften, about five minutes.
  3. Pour the egg whites over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until the bottom is done and the sides are firm, about four minutes.
  5. Spread the cream cheese on top of the omelet.
  6. Place the pan under the broiler for about two minutes to finish cooking the top of the omelet. Remove from heat. Fold over half of the omelet and serve.

Vegetable Quiche With Rice Crust

Serves 8


  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely diced mushroom
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup chopped, packed fresh spinach
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • For the crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the rice, egg whites, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Coat an 8-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Press the rice mixture over the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan to form a crust. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is set and lightly browned.
  • For the filling: Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the bell pepper, mushroom, onion and spinach; sauté until the onion softens, about five minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • To assemble: Place the pie pan with prepared crust on a baking sheet. Spread the vegetables over the bottom of the crust and pour the egg mixture over them.
  • Bake for 55 minutes or until the eggs have set. Cut into eight wedges to serve.

Recipes excerpted from Conscious Cuisine by Chef Cary Neff (Sourcebooks, 2002).