Following on from Selected WFPB Recipes #1 1 , we’ll look here at a few really useful sauces and spices that you can make in the certain knowledge that all the elements are what Dr Greger calls “green light” ingredients – that is, they are completely healthy and you can basically eat as much of them as you want, with the only side-effect being good health!
Talking of Dr Greger, the following are taken from his book “The How Not To Die Cookbook” 2 , and since he is one of those guys you can really trust 100% to provide only the healthiest of recipes, I have not altered them at all.
Dr Greger’s Umami Sauce 3
There’s something unique about this sort of flavour. Umami (/uˈmɑːmi/, from Japanese: うま味 – umai means ‘delicious’, and mi means ‘taste’) can be interpreted loosely as meaning “savoury taste“, and is one of the five basic tastes (with sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness). It’s the sort of flavour broths and cooked meats provide. Dr Greger’s umami sauce mimics this taste, but without the attendant toxic elements that cooked meats, etc bring along with them.
It can be used in sautés, stir-fries etc to boost flavour without needing to inflict your bloodstream with all that sodium soy sauce contains.
Makes around 1 ¼ cups / 280 g.
- 1 cup/ 250 ml vegetable stock/broth (made from the water left over from boiling your favourite vegetables – just store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for future use) – see below for a delicious vegetable stock recipe
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 1½ teaspoons date syrup (See below for Dr Greger’s recipe) or date sugar
- ½ teaspoon tomato purée
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1½ teaspoons white miso paste (available at Holland & Barrett 4 , Sainsbury’s 5 , Waitrose 6 , etc) blended with 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons blended peeled lemon (see below for Dr Greger’s suggestion)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (you can use other types of vinegar as you wish, although rice vinegar is ideal)
- heat the broth in a small saucepan over medium heat
- add garlic and ginger and simmer for 3 minutes
- stir in molasses, date syrup, tomato purée and black pepper and bring just to a boil
- reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 minute
- remove from heat, and stir in the miso mixture, blended lemon and rice vinegar.
- taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed
- allow to cool before transferring (for future use) to a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid or pour the sauce into an ice cube tray
Dr Greger’s Vegetable Stock
This is a really useful item to keep in the fridge and freezer to form the basis of so many meals. Of course, you could use ready-made vegetable broths, bouillon, stock cubes/pots , but they usually have lots of added salt. For instance, Knorr vegetable stock cubes 7 contain 42.% salt; Marigold Vegetable Bouillon 8 contains 44.6% salt; and even Bisto Vegetable Gravy Granules 9 contain 14.21% salt. Kallø Very Low Salt Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes 10 are one of the better options if you have to buy commercially-prepared vegetable stock, as they only contain 0.1% salt. If you come across a zero-added salt commercially available vegetable stock, please let me know.
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch/ 2.5 cm pieces
- 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 dried mushrooms
- ⅓ cup/ 10 g coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons white miso paste
- savoury spice blend (see below)
- in a large pan, heat 1 cup/ 250 ml of water over medium heat
- add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook for 5 minutes
- stir in mushrooms, parsley and black pepper
- add 7 cups/ 1.6 litres of water and bring to a boil
- reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 ½ hours
- let cool slightly and then transfer to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth
- return blended broth back to the pan
- ladle about ⅓ cup/ 80 ml of the stock into a small bowl or cup
- add the miso paste and stir well before incorporating back into the rest of the stock
- add the savoury spice blend to taste
- let broth cool to room temperature
- divide among containers with tight-sealing lids and store in the refrigerator or freezer
- properly stored, it will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer
Dr Greger’s date syrup 11
In one of Dr Greger’s videos 12 , he makes it clear that date sugar is the healthiest sweetener you can add to food. Date sugar is actually just dried, pulverised dates which can be used as a whole-food, granulated sugar. And by the way, he also points out that blackstrap molasses is a good choice for a healthy liquid sweetener, but warns that it does have a strong and sometimes overpowering flavour. The following date syrup recipe is his DIY date syrup that I think hits that sweet spot.
Makes about 1.5 cups / 370 ml
- 1 cup/ 175 g pitted dates
- 1 cup/ 250 ml boiling water
- 1 teaspoon blended peeled lemon (see recipe below)
- combine dates and hot water in a heatproof bowl
- set aside for 1 hour to soften the dates
- transfer dates and water to a high-speed blender
- add lemon and blend until smooth
- transfer to a glass jar or other airtight container with a tight-fitting lid
- store syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 weeks
Dr Greger’s blended peeled lemon 13
Some of the nutritional benefit of whole lemons (or limes, for that matter) is lost if you just use the juice and not the whole lemon (excluding the peel, of course). This simple method of adding that citrus zing is the most wholesome you’ll find.
Make as much as you want by adding more lemons and/or limes.
- whole lemon/s (or lime/s)
- peel off the skin and pith so that only the juicy fruit inside remains (if you wish, retain some of the chopped peel to flavour dishes)
- blend the whole fruit/s
- use immediately, or
- store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze in 1-teaspoon portions – a small silicone ice cube tray is ideal for this, then you can grab a cube from the freezer whenever you need it
Dr Greger’s savoury spice blend 14
I use this one a lot in all sorts of meals – soups, stews, burgers, stir-fries, etc. It’s a great alternative to using salt to flavour dishes and, as with each of these recipes, all the ingredients are good for you.
Makes about ½ CUP/ 125 g
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (careful if you have Crohn’s disease 15 )
- 1 tablespoon onion powder (not onion salt)
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika (I personally use the smoked paprika)
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon celery seeds (not celery salt)
- combine all ingredients in a spice grinder or blender
- mix well
- pulverise dried herbs and spices
- transfer the blend to a shaker bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid
- store in a cool, dry place.
If you are someone who is concerned about eating the healthiest of foods, then you probably spend time trawling the internet looking for recipes. Many of the vegan and vegetarian recipes tend to include ingredients that are not optimally healthy (added salt, sugar and oils, for instance); however, Dr Greger’s cookbook ((The How Not To Die Cookbook, Dr Michael Greger.)) can be relied on to provide what you’re looking for. His cookbook also provides lots of additional nutrition information and is an essential addition to any serious WFPB cook’s bookshelf. I have a physical copy and a Kindle copy so that I can get to the recipes wherever I am without having to carry the book around with me.
- Selected WFPB Recipes #1
- The How Not To Die Cookbook, Dr Michael Greger.
- Not To Die Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease (Kindle Locations 478-496). Pan Macmillan. Kindle Edition.
- H&B Yutaka Organic Miso Paste 300g
- Sainsbury’s Yutaka Miso Paste, Organic 300g
- Waitrose’s Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients white miso glaze 200g
- Knorr Vegetable Stock Cubes 8 X 10G
- Marigold Vegetable Bouillon
- Bisto Vegetable Gravy Granules
- Kallø Very Low Salt Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes
- Greger, Michael. The How Not To Die Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease (Kindle Locations 442-444). Pan Macmillan. Kindle Edition.
- The Healthiest Sweetener. Michael Greger M.D. FACLM August 28th, 2009 Volume 3
- Greger, Michael. The How Not To Die Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease (Kindle Locations 451-454). Pan Macmillan. Kindle Edition.
- Greger, Michael. The How Not To Die Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease (Kindle Locations 456-467). Pan Macmillan. Kindle Edition.
- Nutritional/Brewer’s Yeast & CD