Diversity Can Add Enjoyment to Your Menu Plan


Bowl of Fresh Tomatillos

Diversity in the foods that make up a daily diet can make a big difference in the relative enjoyment of each meal.  Over time, this increase in repertoire helps to insure that meals on the average get healthier.  There's a huge variety of produce available in American markets that never see the shelves of the average supermarket.  Latin bodegas offer a selection of vegetables and fruits that may never see the light of day in a supermarket.  They offer great fiber options, exotic flavor options, and amazing textures that might make the difference between boring and enticing.

Papaya is a fruit with amazing nutritional value, amazing texture, and amazing flavor.  A little bit of papaya in a smoothie or a fruit salad adds facets to the flavor and textural profile that is difficult to achieve any other way.  Its has a big dose of potassium, fiber, and vitamins C and A, among others.  Papaya gives a creamier, smoother texture to purees, adding something special to fruit punch, smoothies, pie fillings, and the like.

Occasionally, nopales are something that one might see on a menu in a Mexican restaurant.  It is the leaves of a prickly pear cactus plant.  Once the spines and fine hairs are removed (wear gloves), nopales can be grilled, or broiled.  They are often an ingredient in tacos.

Similarly, it is not uncommon to come across tomatillo in a Mexican restaurant.  A common ingredient in salsas and chili sauces, tomatillo is a tomato relative and used similarly.  It makes wonderful gazpacho.  It is good in salads.  It can be used in dressings, or grilled and added to eggs.  It has a more tart flavor than a tomato.  It is rich in fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin C.  

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