Eat Your Medicine

Eat Your Medicine

Photos by Kyle Edwards

Filling a grocery cart with good foods can be as important to your overall health as filling a prescription. Many studies have shown that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits offers many health benefits including reducing incidences of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiac disease. But beyond that, many foods can help reduce inflammation and fight cancer. Cranberries, yogurt and turmeric star in these prescriptively delicious recipes.

Spinach Salad with Cranberry Yogurt Dressing

Dried cranberries, freshly pickled red onions and cucumbers mingle with fresh spinach leaves for a sweet and satisfying spring salad. Add a low-calorie, fat-free cranberry yogurt dressing, and this salad becomes a springtime treat.

You do not have to freshly pickle the red onions, but pickling removes the sharpness of the onions, bringing out their inherent sweetness. Once you try freshly pickled red onions, you may never go back.

This salad gives your body a boost of preventive medicine; studies have shown that the probiotics in yogurt may help prevent urinary tract infections. Adding cranberries to the yogurt may even increase the potential benefits. So go ahead, have a second helping—it’s good for your health.

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions

4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, divided

1 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp honey, divided

1/2 tsp sea salt, divided

8 ounces fresh baby spinach

1 medium cucumber, unpeeled, sliced lengthwise in half, then diced

1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries

3 Tbsp all-juice, no-sugar-added cranberry juice

1 Tbsp juice-sweetened strawberry jam, with no sugar or artificial sweeteners

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp Dijon mustard

6 Tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt

1 Place sliced red onions in a small bowl, then cover them with 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp. honey and 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Stir and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to pickle. Meanwhile, toss together spinach, cucumbers and dried cranberries in a large bowl.

2 To make dressing, in a small bowl, whisk remaining 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, remaining 1 tbsp. honey, remaining 1/4 tsp. sea salt, cranberry juice, jam, black pepper and mustard to thoroughly combine. Whisk in yogurt until creamy and smooth.

3 Drain onions from vinegar. Toss salad with onions and dressing. Divide into four portions and serve immediately.

Makes: 4 servings (1½ cups salad plus 3 Tbsp. dressing per serving)

Per serving: Calories: 113; Fat: 0.25g; Sat. Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 353mg; Carbohydrates: 25g; Sugar: 18g; Fiber: 3g; Protein: 5g.


cauliflower recipe

Curried Cauliflower and Apples

Caramelized Onions Mingle with Sweet Apples and Savory Cauliflower in a Tangy, Coconut Curry Sauce. While this enjoyable dish might brighten your dinner table, it might also provide a boost of health benefits. Some studies show that turmeric, which is often a primary ingredient in curry powders, might boast some anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and it might have some cancer-fighting properties as well. It’s a tasty addition to curries, salads and sandwich spreads.

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large or 2 medium  yellow onions, diced

1 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 Tbsp apple cider

1 large apple, peeled, cored, sliced thinly and slices cut in half

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 (13.66 oz) can light coconut milk

3 Roma tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced

4 Tbsp minced cilantro (1 small bunch)


1 Heat a large skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Add olive oil. Heat 2 more minutes. Add diced onions, stir once or twice, then immediately reduce heat to low. Cook onions, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes until caramelized; about 20 to 25 minutes.

2 Add cauliflower, and turn heat to medium high. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add apple cider and stir to scrape up bits on bottom of pan. Add apples, curry, turmeric, cumin and salt. Stir and sauté for 1 more minute, then add coconut milk. Cook until vegetables are soft and coconut milk is warm; about 5 more minutes.

3 Remove from heat and divide into four portions. Top each portion with 1 to 2 tbsp. diced tomatoes and 1 tbsp. minced cilantro. Serve with brown rice or quinoa, optional.

Note: A Gala apple was used in this recipe, but you might also want to try Red or Golden Delicious, Jonagold or even Honeycrisp apples.

Makes: 4 servings (1½ cups per serving)

Per Serving: Calories: 204; Fat: 7g; Sat. Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 376mg; Carbohydrates: 29g; Sugar: 16g; Fiber: 8g; Protein: 6g.

Originally published in the Spring 2016 print edition.