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How to Eat Dragon Fruit? There Are More Ways Than You Might Imagine

how to eat dragon fruit

Pitaya, better known as dragon fruit, is probably the most unique-looking edible fruit on the planet. The fruit itself has a bright pink outer skin with a kiwi-like inside. The taste is vaguely similar to kiwi, though it is more like a crossover between a kiwi and a pear. Pitaya is actually a cactus fruit, and the cactus stem gives it plenty of moisture and a very specific succulent taste.

Apart from the exotic look and taste, dragon fruit is also packed with immune-boosting nutrients like manganese, minerals, and vitamins. However, you might be wondering—how do you eat it?

Well, you shouldn’t be intimidated by the unusual look of this plant because it is surprisingly simple to eat. But before you actually eat one, you should know how to pick up the best dragon fruit.

Selecting the Best Dragon Fruit

Chances are that a well-stocked supermarket in your neighborhood will offer dragon fruit all year round. To get the best pitayas, you should aim for the period when the fruit is in season. Peak dragon fruit season begins in the summer and lasts until early autumn.

Generally, you should go for a pitaya that has a uniform bright pink color. It is OK to get a fruit with some blemishes. However, if there are a bunch of blotches on the skin, it indicates that the fruit is too ripe. You should also squeeze the fruit a little to make sure that it is neither too soft nor too firm.

It is also worth mentioning that dragon fruit is native to both Asia and Central America and that there are some small differences between these two fruits. Namely, the Asian pitaya is not as sweet as the Central American. Also, the kiwi-like flesh is red in the Central American fruit.

How to Eat Dragon Fruit Raw

Similar to most other exotic fruits, pitaya is best when eaten raw, though it can also be a great addition to smoothies, fruit salads, and even fruit kebabs. First, you should know how to properly extract the succulent flesh in order to avoid the bitter dragon fruit skin.

You need to do the following:

  1. Put your dragon fruit on a clean flat surface or a cutting board and cut it into two halves. It is quite easy to cut the fruit, but you should make sure to get a sharp knife for an even cut. Hold the fruit with your other hand so it doesn’t budge.
  2. After you cut it, you need to remove the skin from the fruit. If you’ve ever skinned an avocado, removing the pitaya skin should be plain sailing. Use a tablespoon to carefully get the flesh out and go around each dragon fruit half until you completely remove the flesh.
  3. Once you get the flesh out, you should check if there is any skin left on it. Peel or cut the leftover skin because it is not suitable for eating. Now you can cut the dragon fruit flesh any way you want and enjoy the specific taste of this exotic plant.

Some Extra Tips

If you have a melon baller, you can scoop out the pitaya flesh to create bite-sized balls. There is no reason not to eat the dragon fruit straight from the skin in a similar way you would eat an avocado. Just avoid digging in too deep because the skin might add some unpleasant bitterness.

There is also a way to filet the flesh out of the dragon fruit. Cut it into halves and then quarters and run your knife from to bottom between the skin and flesh.

Other Ways to Eat Dragon Fruit

At this point, you should have a perfect understanding of how to eat dragon fruit raw. However, there are some other ways to consume this healthy exotic treat.

Blending the dragon fruit into a mouth-watering smoothie might be the most common, but did you know that you can also grill it?

Here is how to eat dragon fruit on a kebab or as part of a smoothie.

Chili Powder Dragon Fruit Kebab

This recipe provides you with a taste few other kebabs can match. The sweet dragon fruit complements the pineapple, and both fruits are well-rounded with a chili powder seasoning on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 dragon fruit
  • 1 pineapple
  • Some extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • A light pinch of salt

Preparation:

  1. Remove the skin from the pineapple and dragon fruit, then cut them into bite-sized cubes. Once you’ve finished cutting, put the cubes into a bowl and add the chili powder and salt. Toss the bowl a few times so you get an even seasoning all around.
  2. After you’ve seasoned the cubes, thread them onto a skewer. Each skewer should have an equal amount of pineapple and dragon fruit. Make sure to leave enough space at the bottom of the skewer so you can turn them on the grill.
  3. Put the fruit kebabs on a grill and turn until each side becomes light brown. You should brush the kebabs with the olive oil every so often so they do not stick to the grill. In about 10 minutes, your dragon fruit kebabs will be ready for serving.

Simple Dragon Fruit Smoothie

Dragon fruit mixes really well with most fruits and other vegan ingredients. This recipe gives you an idea of how to prepare a healthy and tasty smoothie quickly and easily.

Ingredients:

  • 1 dragon fruit
  • 1 banana
  • A cup of blueberries
  • A cup of soy milk
  • Sweeteners to taste

Preparation

  1. Cut the dragon fruit and the banana into chunks, put them in a blender together with the blueberries, and add a spoonful of your favorite sweetener.
  2. Pour a cup of soy milk and blend the fruits until you get the desired smoothness. You can add some extra soy milk to thin the smoothie.
  3. Once you are happy with the thickness, pour the dragon fruit into glasses and enjoy.

Endnote

These tips on how to eat dragon fruit are simple and very easy to follow. This special fruit works really well with a bunch of other fruits, nuts, and veggie ingredients, so you shouldn’t hesitate to experiment. And if you want the ultimate exotic vegan taste, you should give the chili powder dragon fruit kebabs a try.

Beyond Brown Rice: Whole Grains for Everyday Meals

Quinoa Pilaf with Cauliflower and nuts

When you need a grain to cushion stews and stir-fries, to stuff into vegetables, or to power pilafs, chances are you reach for rice. And while there’s nothing wrong with rice—especially if you’ve made the switch to brown rice —exploring a variety of whole grains can expand your culinary horizons and add even greater nourishment to your family meals.

Aside from adding character to meals, whole grains are superb sources of fiber and protein. Because the bran and germ are left intact, they also are fine sources of B vitamins, vitamin E, and an array of minerals.  It’s certainly possible to be health-conscious and never eat bulgur or quinoa. But why miss out on one of the richest sources of nourishment available?

Here are a few common whole grains everyone should be using more of. Give them a try to boost your everyday meals! Shown at top: Quinoa with Cauliflower, Cranberries, and Nuts. Continue Reading…

Tasty and Easy Chickpea Flour Recipes and Tips

Vegan "Egg" foo yong

Chickpea flour is a great alternative to grain flours, though it doesn’t “behave” like grain in the usual sense. It doesn’t rise and become fluffy like wheat flour, for example, but it’s wonderful for making pancakes, crepes, and vegan frittatas. Here’s a quick guide, followed by tasty and easy chickpea flour recipes for you to enjoy.

Going beyond its traditional use in Indian cuisines, chickpea flour is now readily available in natural foods stores and well-stocked supermarkets. It’s sold either in bulk or packaged. One widely available brand is  Bob’s Red Mill. Either way you buy it, keep it in a tightly lidded jar or container in a cool, dry place. Truth be told, I like to refrigerate it, as it stays fresh longer and doesn’t run as much risk to go rancid. Continue Reading…

How to Cook and Use Edamame, with 6 Tasty Recipes

edamame

Commonly used and well-loved as a vegetable in Asian cuisines, edamame, or fresh green soybeans come in fuzzy green pods containing two of these bright green beauties. Read on to get to know more about them, learn how to cook them, and explore some easy and tasty edamame recipes.

If you haven’t prepared them at home, you might have encountered edamame in Japanese restaurants, where they’re listed among the appetizers. Popped out of their pods and lightly salted, they’re quite addictive! Their flavor is kind of a cross between fresh green peas and fresh baby lima beans — but better. Continue Reading…

How to Cook Farro, the Hearty & Healthy Ancient Grain

Farro asparagus salad

If you keep up with food trends, you’ve likely heard about farro, one of several ancient grains that have made a comeback in recent years. Farro takes its place among grains like quinoa, einkorn, kañiwa, teff, and others that have been around for millennia, and which have become more widely available in the general marketplace. Following are tips on how to cook farro and enjoy it in recipes.

While farro is new to most of us, it’s believed to be one of the most ancient of wheat varieties, along with einkorn. And like einkorn, it’s lower in gluten than modern varieties of wheat, though please note, not gluten-free. Shown at top, Spring Farro Asparagus Salad. Continue Reading…

What is Tempeh? How to Cook and Use It

Tempeh fries

Tempeh (pronounced tem-pay), a traditional Indonesian food, is made of cooked and fermented soybeans. Sold in cellophane-wrapped packages, it’s even higher in protein than tofu. Tempeh is also quite versatile, but has a more distinct flavor and a dense, chewy texture. Though somewhat of an acquired taste, once you do, you’ll be a fan for life. Pictured above, Tempeh Fries with Horseradish-Dill Mayonnaise.

Continue Reading…

What is Kañiwa? Introducing a Relative of Quinoa

Kañiwa confetti salad

What is kañiwa? Simply put, this relative of quinoa, is similarly a South American superfood grain making a splash in the North American market. Like quinoa, Kañiwa grows in Peru and Bolivia. It’s an excellent source of protein and amino acids, is exceptionally high in iron, and is gluten-free. Dark reddish-brown in color and about half the size of a tiny quinoa seed, it cooks up quickly to resemble a smaller version of red quinoa. Find out lots more information in Kañiwa: A “New” Ancient Superfood.

One major difference between the two is that kañiwa doesn’t have saponins, the coating that gives quinoa a soapy, slightly bitter flavor if not rinsed properly. A good thing, as I can’t imagine a sieve fine enough for its tiny size.

Quinoa brought to market has already been rinsed of much of its saponins, as otherwise it would be quite unpalatable (this procedure is done with a strong alkaline solution). But it’s always recommended that quinoa be rinsed well again at home to remove any remaining bitterness. Kañiwa is actually easier to process due to the absence of saponins.

It’s recommended to toast the grain on a dry skillet or saucepan first, then cover with water in twice its volume. Like quinoa, the water absorbs in 15 to 20 minutes. Truth be told, both times I used it so far I forgot to toast it, and it was just fine (it has a mild, nutty flavor similar to quinoa’s).

A few simple ways to use kañiwa

  • Add 1/2 to 1 cup cooked kañiwa to pancake or waffle batter (depending on the size of the batch)
  • Serve it as a sweet breakfast bowl with a maple syrup to taste, chopped nuts, and dried or fresh fruit. Finish with a dusting of cinnamon.
  • A savory breakfast bowl is good too, with a little vegan butter and a sprinkling of nondairy cheese shreds. Sweet or savory, a it keeps you full for hours.
  • Like many a nutritious grain, kañiwa works well in warm pilafs and room-temperature salads.
  • Come fall holiday meals, like its slightly larger cousin, a pilaf makes a nourishing and attractive stuffing for squashes and peppers.

Nutritionally, kañiwa’s profile is remarkably similar to quinoa’s. It’s a good source of complete protein, and is a good source of a wide range of vitamins and minerals. One advantage it has over quinoa is that it’s an even better source of iron.

How to cook kañiwa

Kañiwa and quinoa can be used interchangeably, and are cooked in the same proportion to liquid (2 parts liquid to 1 part kañiwa; it cooks in 15 minutes, like quinoa, or just a bit quicker). To that end, please explore our article, How to Cook Quinoa — and Some Great Ways to Use It. You might also enjoy We Love Quinoa, a volume in our Best of VegKitchen affordable e-book series featuring the 30 most popular quinoa recipes on this site, along with many color photographs.

Quinoa pdf e-book cover - VegKitchen

Kañiwa is available from online retailers, you can ask your natural foods retailer if they can order some for you.

For a recipes, see Kañiwa Confetti Salad (shown at top).

*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through this review, VegKitchen receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

5 Simple Ways to Use Baked Tofu

Orange-Glazed Tofu and Broccoli

I’ve long considered marinated baked tofu a great product and have wondered why it has taken so long to make its way onto supermarket shelves. Finally, it’s getting there! As always, it’s easy to find at any natural foods store, usually shelved alongside the tofu tub varieties.

If you’re unfamiliar with marinated baked tofu, it’s a firmer, chewier, flavored variety. It comes in cellophane-wrapped packages (usually 8 ounces), and is ready to eat as is or to combine with other ingredients in hot or cold dishes. Here are 5 simple ways to use this fantastic product. Continue Reading…

Discover Ancient Grains

Raw Quinoa in a bowl

When you open your pantry, do images of the rugged mountains of South America, the colorful tablelands of Africa and the fertile river valleys of the Middle East dance before your eyes? If not, you have yet to discover amaranth, quinoa, spelt, kamut and teff, the quintet of nutritional powerhouses known as the ancient grains. The legends behind their origins many millennia past, their loss over time and their ultimate modern revival literally tell the story of civilization. Another great ancient grain to discover (or rediscover) is einkorn. Continue Reading…

How to Cook and Use Einkorn Wheat

Einkorn wheat

Einkorn wheat, one of the latest of ancient grains to be revived for contemporary consumers, is actually the most primitive form of cultivated wheat. Like amaranth, quinoa, and spelt, and farro, einkorn is taking its place as a nutrition-packed superfood. It’s earth-friendly, too. The grain’s hull makes it resistant to pests, so it’s easy to grow organically. And for a specialty grain, it’s surprisingly economical, comparable to organic brown rice and often less costly than quinoa. For lots more on einkorn’s history, nutritional profile, and more, explore einkorn.com. Continue Reading…

How to Cook and Embellish Grits

Grits and Greens

Grits, or hominy grits, are hulled, dried, and cracked corn kernels. To add variety to your grain repertoire, do try them! Please seek out stone-ground grits, which are much more flavorful than the stripped-down quick-cooking grits sold in supermarkets. They make a soft bed of (naturally gluten-free) grain for bean and vegetable dishes. or even as a pleasant side dish. Grits can also play a starring role in simple preparations, rather than just being used as a bed of grain.  Continue Reading…

A Guide to Tofu Varieties

Sesame-ginger tofu and broccoli

Tofu has been such a plant-based staple for decades (not to mention the millennia in which it played a starring role in Asian cuisines) that it’s easy to forget that there are still plenty of newbies discovering it all the time. That alone merits this primer, though even for tofu aficionados, fresh inspiration is always welcome.  Continue Reading…

The Best Non-Dairy Vegan Milk Alternatives

Almond milk

Are you looking for some healthy vegan milk alternatives that can please your taste buds at the same time? Well, the market is flooded with dozens of non-dairy milk beverages and quite a few of them are worth trying. Sounds interesting? Read on below to learn more:

Why Vegan Milk is a Good Choice for You?

No matter whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, picking non-dairy milk alternatives over the regular ones is always beneficial for you. Let us dig a bit deeper and find out why one should go for vegan milk choices:

  1. Being free of lactose, it is non-allergenic. So, if you are allergic to cow milk, going vegan will help you a lot.
  2. If you have lactose intolerance, the chances are big that you experience acid reflux, abdominal gas, bloating, etc. frequently. Dairy-free milk substitutes can eliminate these symptoms fast and easily.
  3. Acne and regular milk always go hand in hand. The risk becomes even greater in case of skimmed milk. But when you replace your dairy consumption with the vegan alternatives, you get rid of it.
  4. When the milk is produced from a cow non-organically, it gets contaminated by the antibiotics and hormones injected into the animal’s body. The unnatural production process of milk also causes mastitis to cows, which results into the presence of pus in milk. All these lead to hormonal imbalances and various other ailments in human beings. However, when you opt for non-dairy milk, you can always stay away from these worries.
  5. Most of the vegan milk alternatives can be made easily, quickly and economically at home and you can even add lots of flavor to it.

8 Best Vegan Milk Alternatives You Should Try

  1. Soy Milk

It is prepared by pounding and processing dried soybeans with water. You can find a variety of flavors including light, sweet, full-cream, vanilla, chocolate, etc. in the market. The density and creaminess of the milk may also vary greatly and it tastes even better than regular milk.

Qualities:

  • The protein content is almost similar to cow milk (around 8 grams a cup).
  • High in dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin D, plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, antioxidants, phytoestrogen, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, choline, folate, etc.
  • Very low in saturated fats and sugar
  • Lactose and cholesterol-free
  • Prevents prostate cancer, osteoporosis, cholesterol transportation, etc.
  • Strengthens blood vessels
  • Eases menopausal symptoms
  1. Oat Milk

This nutritious milk is made by pre-soaking the grains of oatmeal in water and straining the concotion carefully. It is sweet in taste and thick in consistency. A variety of flavor is available in the market and you are free to pick your favorite one.

Qualities:

  • Fulfills almost 35% of our daily requirements of calcium
  • Works as a ‘protein powerhouse’
  • Fat and sugar content is very low.
  • Contains no cholesterol or saturated fats
  • Rich in soluble fibers, iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, folate, phytochemicals, etc.
  • Prevents a number of cancers
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Promotes digestion and prevents constipation
  • Increases ‘good cholesterol’ level and reduces ‘bad cholesterol’ level
  • Makes the immune system stronger
  • Keeps skin clean and acne-free
  1. Rice Milk

This thin and naturally sweetened milk substitute is prepared from brown rice grains and is considered as extremely healthy. You can also avail its vanilla-flavored version from your local supermarket.

Qualities:

  • Has perfect proportions of protein and carbohydrate
  • Great source of antioxidants, B-vitamins, vitamin D, calcium, etc.
  • Gluten-free milk
  • No saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Very inexpensive
  1. Almond Milk

This wonderfully tasty vegan milk is made by pulverizing soaked almonds thoroughly. The sweet and nutty flavor and high nutrition make it highly popular among the lovers of dairy-free milk substitutes.

Qualities:

  • Fulfills 30% of our daily requirements of calcium
  • Contains 25% of our daily requirements of vitamin D
  • Very low in calories (one servings offers only 30 calories)
  • Enriched with proteins, omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, dietary fibers, vitamin E, iron, zinc, magnesium, etc.
  • No saturated fats, cholesterol and lactose
  • Gives immunity a boost
  • Makes teeth and bones stronger
  • Helps in healthy digestion
  • Perks up the skin texture by offering anti-aging benefits
  • Encourages weight loss
  1. Coconut Milk

It is another creamy, flavorful and nourishing alternative to regular milk, which is basically prepared by grating the ‘meaty’ flesh of ripe coconuts as well as extracting the concoction. You can get both ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ coconut milk for using as cooking ingredients and both of them are super tasty.

Qualities:

  • High in dietary fibers, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, iron, calcium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, selenium, etc.
  • Contains very less amount of sugar
  • No fructose
  • Helps in controlling blood sugar
  • Strengthens both bones and blood vessels
  • Prevents arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Gives a feeling of fullness, thereby helping in weight loss
  1. Cashew Milk

Cashew milk has a natural vanilla flavor and it is made of a smooth, rich blend of water and cashew nuts. It is an amazingly tasty, absolutely creamy and highly satisfying milk beverage.

Qualities:

  • Amazing source of proteins, B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, copper, etc.
  • Very low fat content
  • Free of cholesterol
  • Increases the production of RBCs (Red Blood Corpuscles)
  • Promotes healthy metabolism
  • Helps in tissue and bone formations
  • Keeps cholesterol levels under control
  • Enhances cardiovascular health
  1. Hazelnut Milk

Being derived from tasty and savory hazelnut, this milk tastes heavenly. It also has a nutty flavor, which is very much liked by people. Like all other vegan mil substitutes, it also has high nutrition value.

Qualities:

  • High in healthy carbohydrates, vitamin B-12, vitamin D and calcium
  • No saturated fats, lactose and cholesterol
  • Takes care of bones and teeth
  • Keeps you filled up for a long time
  1. Hemp Milk

It is prepared from the seeds of hemp tree and is regarded as one of the healthiest choices for dairy-free milk. It is widely known for its ‘earthy’ taste and nutty flavor.

Qualities:

  • Contains as much as 10 essential amino acids
  • Has a perfect omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids ratio
  • Loaded with soluble fibers, proteins, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, calcium, potassium,
  • Aids in muscle building
  • Provides immense energy

3 Simple and Easy Homemade Vegan Milk Recipes

What if you need a good vegan milk alternative for cooking or drinking but do not wish to purchase commercial one? Just DIY! We are giving you 3 easy, simple and fast vegan milk recipes to try at home:

(1) DIY: Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

 

  • Best-quality raw almonds – 1 cup (organic is even better)
  • Sea salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Distilled water – 2 to 4 cups (as per your preference)

Method:

  1. Take the almonds in a glass bowl and pour distilled water into it to soak them completely. Add sea salt to the water and cover the bowl with a lid. Keep it aside for nearly 12 hours.
  2. Rinse the swelled up almonds well under running water to get rid of all sorts of enzyme inhibitors.
  3. Now, put the almonds in a blender and pour rest of the distilled water into it. Blend thoroughly to mash all the nuts.
  4. Strain it or not, your creamy almond milk is absolutely ready!homemade almond milk

(2) DIY: Homemade Oat Milk Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Oats – 1 cup
  • Agave nectar or maple syrup – 1 to 2 tablespoons (as required for sweetness)
  • Sea salt – (1/4) teaspoon
  • Distilled water – 3 cups

Method:

  1. Rinse the oats well and drain them perfectly before placing them in a bowl.
  2. Add water to it and cover with a lid. Let the oats soak for 8 to 10 hours so that they get softer as well as easier to process.
  3. Once again, rinse the oats well and remove the oat slime completely.
  4. Shift them to a blender and pour distilled water into it. Blend for some time and sieve it.
  5. Press the semi-pulverized oats with the backside of a spoon in order to take the maximum milk out of it.
  6. Add agave or syrup and sea salt to the concoction and your homemade oat ilk is here!

(3) DIY: Homemade Brown Rice Milk Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Sea salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Distilled water – 2 cups

Method:

  1. Clean and wash brown rice properly and soak it in water for a couple of hours.
  2. Cook it as usual.
  3. Now, place the cooked brown rice inside a blender jar. Also, add sea salt and distilled water to it.
  4. Blend until a smooth, thick milk is formed. Voila!

So, are you ready to switch to vegan milk alternatives?

Brown rice in spoon

References
http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/f/MilkSubstitutes.htm
http://www.peta2.com/lifestyle/vegan-milk-101/
http://www.beautyglimpse.com/almond-milk-vs-regular-milk-which-is-healthier/

Authors Bio
Soni likes to share her knowledge with the world helping others to live a healthier life. She also loves to share her express her views and explore anything and everything that can feed her pen.

How to Cook Quinoa Just Right

White quinoa seeds on a wooden background

Wondering how to cook quinoa to perfection? Quinoa is a delightfully versatile addition to a vegan diet. Quinoa is high in protein and fiber, and you can add it to salads, chilis or you can make a basic, easy side dish with quinoa. Or you can eat it for any meal as a healthy quinoa bowl. The best part is that quinoa is easy to cook, even easier than rice. Below are several methods on how to cook quinoa just right.

Basic quinoa

If you want to know how to cook quinoa as a basic side dish, it’s as easy as boiling pasta. You get a pot of water or veggie broth boiling, and then stir in your quinoa. You want one part of uncooked quinoa to two parts liquid. Then you simply simmer the quinoa on low heat until it’s done. This usually takes roughly fifteen minutes, but check the consistency of the quinoa. Just don’t open the pot too much as that can affect cooking times.

You’ll know it’s done when all the water is absorbed or it’s the level of softness you like. You can play with the texture by adding some water to make a more porridge consistency or you can use a little less water for a drier grain that separates. When you’re finished, you can also fluff and separate the grains a bit for some added presentation.

Toasting quinoa

A cool little trick to get a more rich, toasted flavor is to brown your raw quinoa in a pan before you boil it. It gives quinoa even more of a nutty flavor. You’ll simply add oil to a pan over medium-low heat and then add your quinoa. Make sure there’s enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and enough quinoa to evenly toast it in one layer. Toss it until it’s evenly browned.

Cooking quinoa in a rice cooker

Because quinoa is a grain that’s similar in texture to rice, you can also use a basic rice cooker to cook your quinoa. This is also easy, as it requires one part raw quinoa to two parts liquid (water or broth). Add both the liquid and the quinoa to the cooker. Then you simply turn on your rice cooker and let it cook. Usually it takes about thirty minutes with this method. Fluff it with your fork at the end.

The soaking method

There’s considerable debate out there as to whether you should soak your quinoa before using it. The theory, outlined at thenourishinggormet.com, states that soaking the quinoa before cooking is supposed to make it more easily digestible and get rid of anti-nutrients.

What the heck are anti-nutrients? These are synthetic or natural compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food. An example is phytic acid, which is common in grains and can bond with vital nutrients, making them harder for the body to absorb.

Soaking quinoa also makes the grains lighter in texture and easier on the stomach.

You do this by soaking quinoa in warm water in a warm place with an acid enzyme like raw apple cider vinegar. You use one part warm water to one part quinoa for soaking, and add a couple splashes of your raw apple cider vinegar. Let soak for 12-24 hours. Then strain and rinse the quinoa well before cooking.

How to Eat Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit

Dragon fruit is probably one of the weirdest fruits you’ll come across at the store. From the outside it looks bright pink and green and irregular. When you cut into it, it looks like peppered ice cream. You may even be wondering how to eat dragon fruit.

But dragon fruit is a delicious addition to any vegan diet, as it’s high in vitamin C, good fatty acids, B vitamins, carotene and even packs in some protein. Meet your new favorite superfood. Here’s some background on the fruit and, of course, how to eat dragon fruit.

Some background

Dragon fruit comes from Central America and is also called the pitya. It’s also grown in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam. It grows off a cactus-like plant. It’s crunchy and has a mild sweet taste like a more muted kiwi. The little black seeds in the fruit are totally edible, again, like the kiwi.

For the basics of how to eat dragon fruit, you just cut into it, right down the middle. Then you scoop out the white fruit, which comes out very easily. It’s commonly served up in its own skin as a bowl, since the bright pink makes a great presentation. You can also quarter it and peel off the pink skin, since the skin will taste bitter. From there you can cube it, slice it or ball it. Then add it to your favorite fruit salads or just eat it by itself plain. Many people eat dragon fruit chilled, as that’s said to bring out the flavor better.

If you’re in the store looking for a dragon fruit, the fruit should feel slightly soft as you press your fingers into it. (Like a mango.) Just make sure it doesn’t feel mushy. The fruit itself should look bright pink, and make sure there are no dark spots or bruises.

Creative ways to eat dragon fruit

Once you’re familiar with the basic fruit itself, you may be wondering what else you can do with it. There are several great uses for dragon fruit. For instance, a popular use for dragon fruit is to add it to a tropical fruit salad. You merely cube the dragon fruit, along with pineapple, mango and banana.

A neat idea for parties is to make a tropical fruit kabob with cubed dragon fruit and kiwi on a skewer. Then you simply stick the skewers on the grill until there is a nice little browning of the fruit where the grill grates were. You can end by sprinkling them with sugar.

It also makes a sweet addition to any fruit smoothie or smoothie bowl. You can blend it up with soy or almond milk. You can also optionally add anything else you’d like, such as berries, sugar, juice or even nut butters. Melon-balled bits of dragon fruit make a wonderful garnish on top, too.

Dragon fruit even makes a wonderful frozen treat. You can juice or blend the fruit alone or with other fruits, and then add it to a popsicle mold. A neat idea is also serving a basic vegan sorbet scooped into a halved, frozen dragon fruit that has a little bit a dip cut into the middle. Than you can eat the sorbet with the frozen fruit for a refreshing treat.

Sesame Seeds: Health Benefits and Uses

Sesame seeds are worth more than their weight in gold! Sesame seeds’ health benefits and uses in the kitchen are plentiful. Their flavor is mild and nutty, though it greatly intensifies when expressed into oil or are ground into a paste (known as tahini) or into a butter.

When buying sesame seeds, look for the whole, unhulled variety, which have not been stripped of their nutritious, deep-tan hulls. If they look shiny and white, this tips you off that they’ve ben refined. Look for black sesame seeds as well. They add visual interest to simple dishes. Whole sesame seeds will keep well for many months in a tightly lidded jar in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate them during the summer.  Continue Reading…

Chile Peppers 101— a Beginner’s Guide

Red chili peppers

Excerpted from Hot Vegan: 200 sultry & full-flavored recipes from around the world by Robin Robertson/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC © 2014. Reprinted by permission. To put the “hot” in “hot and spicy,” we generally look to chiles as the world’s most universally popular heat source. Erroneously called chile “peppers,” attributed to an error by Christopher Columbus, chiles are not peppers at all, but actually fruits. They are used in a wide variety of cuisines throughout the world in a variety of forms. You can buy them whole, fresh, dried, canned, and jarred in the form of chili oil, paste, and powder, as well as hot red pepper flakes and ground red pepper, or cayenne. Many hot condiments are made with chiles, and these include chili sauce, hot bean sauce, salsas, and various chutneys. Tabasco, a particularly popular brand of hot chili sauce, is in such wide use that it goes by its brand name. Continue Reading…

8 Amazing Vegan Cheese Recipes

Smoky vegan cheddar cheez recipe

There’s no dairy in these vegan cheese recipes, but even your dairy-eating friends will be amazed by them! A good vegan cheese seems impossible, but certain ingredients lend a cheesy flavor. One of my favorites is nutritional yeast. It tastes good, and it’s good for you. Cashews, which are delicious just plain by the handful, create a magical texture that is reminiscent of goat cheese. Make sure to scroll to the end to see each one of these 8 vegan cheeses, all of which will knock your socks off!

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Vegan Recipes by VegKitchen logo
Vegan recipes by VegKitchen