Steamed Vegetables with Lemony Soy Dressing

09_Vegetables_lemonyDressingIMG_3721Nutritionally, I am a big fan of vegetables – in all shapes and colors. Luckily I also LOVE them. There are many reasons vegetables are good for us. They are a great source of complex carbohydrates, including micronutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals and in the form of protective antioxidants – compounds that strengthen our natural defenses against disease. Antioxidants can block the actions of so-called free radicals – highly reactive chemical compounds that can damage tissues and alter the genetic code contained in our cells, promoting cancer and premature aging. Interestingly, most antioxidants are actually pigments, natural pigments in the vegetable. So choose intensely colored vegetables for highest antioxidant content. When you eat a variety of vegetables, you can be sure to cover your entire vitamin, mineral and anti-oxidant needs.

There are many ways of preparing vegetables – steaming is one of them. In the following recipe you will find the perfect dressing to go with steamed vegetables that will knock your taste buds’ socks off.

You can vary the kind of vegetables used to your own liking. The ones listed in the recipe are just an example. Have fun with it and play with the colors! As you can see from the photo above I used beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts and lacinato kale when I made this dish last. As a source of extra protein I added cannellini beans.

I learned to make the dressing from my dear friend and colleague choreographer Muna Tseng, who was born in Hong Kong. I could not believe how amazingly tasty it was, when I tried it the first time.

Serves 6

2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 piece fresh ginger, about 1½ inches (4 cm), peeled and chopped fine
juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce (I like tamari and shoyu)
1 tablespoon snipped chives, optional

2 red beets
3 carrots                          all peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
1 turnip
1 cauliflower, separated into florets
1 leek, cut into ½-inch (1-cm) pieces
1 can (15 ounces or 420 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 leaves kale, stalks removed, torn into bite-size pieces

1 Combine the dressing ingredients in a glass jar. Close the lid and shake to mix.
2 Fill a pot with 1 inch (2½ cm) of water, insert a steamer basket and bring the water to a boil. Add the vegetables – start with the beets, then add the carrots, then the turnip, then the cauliflower – waiting three minutes after each addition. Follow with the leek, chickpeas
and kale, added at once. Steam until tender.

Serve on a bed of cooked brown rice or quinoa – spoon the rice on individual plates, then top with the vegetables. Pour on the dressing and garnish with cilantro leaves or chopped scallions.