Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fennel Salad ;Diabetes Friendly

I love trying new food items, new food ingredients from different cultures and traditions as long as it is healthy and good for me. I am sure by now all of you are well aware of this as my blog is testimony to this fact. This particular salad that I am bringing to you today as part of the Thanksgiving DFT is one such foodie adventure of mine ! The whole discovery of this recipe makes for interesting dinner conversation. I typically shop at this farmer's  market in my neighborhood that is Jewish. They have good produce at a very reasonable price. Once when I went shopping I saw fennel bulbs with the greens on it for sale for 50 cents each. The bulbs were huge. I looked at it and thought to myself that if there is such a demand for these bulbs, there has to be some recipe that I could use it in! I know that fennel seeds  are good for the digestive system as we Indians use it a lot , then the bulb and leaves also have to have nutritional value to it. I bought a bulb and reached out to my DFT team of bloggers for recipes. They suggested using it in soups and stews. But, for some reason I was not convinced. My quest for a good recipe continued. A couple of days later I went back to the farmer's market to pick up something else and saw fennel again. I also saw a middle-aged Jewish lady buying it. I decided to ask her what she did with it and how to use it. In her broken English, she told me that they make salad with it. I asked her if the leaves had to be separated or the bulb had to be cooked. She patiently told me that no, just chop the whole thing up and use it in the salad. I was shocked to say the least! I asked her what dressing is to be used. She said just add in salt, vinegar, olive oil and salt.

I decided to be brave and give it a try. I did exactly what she told me to: chopped the entire fennel bulb, leaves and all, added salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar and olive oil and mixed it! Believe it or not, it was one of the most refreshing salads I have eaten! I was apprehensive about the strong taste of the fennel, but I was wrong! This is also one of the easiest salads that I have put together. This salad is now a regular in my home. Add this salad to your thanksgiving dinner menu. Read on for tips from Geeta Kakade on how diabetics can effectively deal with holiday meals and holiday eating.

Servings: 2-3 ( about 1 cup per person)


Fennel bulb: 1 medium-sized one
Apple cider vinegar: 3 tbsp
Extra Virgin Olive oil: 3 tbsp
Salt: a pinch ( can adjust as per individual taste)
Freshly ground black pepper : 1/2 tsp


Wash the fennel bulb and leaves thoroughly and then pat them dry using a paper towel/ or a kitchen towel.

Chop the leaves and the bulb finely. Take it in a bowl.

In a small jar, take apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake well.

Add this dressing to the above bowl and mix thoroughly.

Keep it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serve chilled. I am bringing this to the wonderful Angie's Fiesta Friday #96.

Here are some more recipes from our fellow DFT bloggers that you can use for your Thanksgiving dinner!

Spicy JalapeƱo Hummus by Shailja 

Hot and Sour Mixed Veggie Soup by Swati

Cooking made easy:

I now like to use oil and acid in the proportion of 1:1 as opposed to the recommended 3:1 as I don't like to use too much oil. I also make a bigger portion of this vinaigrette and use as needed in the salad. Sometimes, you might want the salad to have a little more punch, then you can use more of the vinaigrette. 

If you don't have apple cider vinegar, you can use regular vinegar.

Footnotes ( tip for healthy living):

Fennel is a perennial herb belonging to the carrot family and is closely related to parsley, dill and coriander. It is extremely therapeutic for the digestive system. It aids digestion, prevents bloating and is known for it's anti-oxidant activities due to the unique phytonutrients it contains.It is also a great source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and dietary fiber. It obviously has no calories and a very low glycemic index.


Article by Geeta Kakade:

'Some ways a diabetic tries to resist food overindulgence at festivals, during the holiday season and at get togethers all year round.' 

Its a challenge...always a challenge. It doesn't matter if you are in your own home or in someone else's home: resisting the lure of food isn't easy. Here are some tips that help me when I'm at a party and I hope will help you. 1. The day you're going our, say for dinner, follow strict dietary guidelines for the other meals during the day. Balancing your sugar will give you a head start and will allow you to have a little 'extra'.
2. Don't skip your exercise on this day...exercise helps regulate hunger pangs.
3. Before you go out, eat a bowl of salad or some fruit...an apple works best for me.
4. Insist on serving yourself, then stop and look at your plate before you eat...both for appetizers and main course. If someone forces you to have something by putting it on your plate, leave it there. I get rid of the stuff on my plate very discreetly. 
5. Remember food will always be there and the healthier you are the more you can continue to enjoy it at future parties. The meal you're at is NOT your last meal.
6. Respond to comments like, "What! That's all you're eating?" with a firm but pleasant comeback. I tell people I'm there for the company and I enjoy myself best if I don't have to lose the next day to 'not feeling well' because I ate too much. 
7. Love sweets like I do? Make adjustments in the meal to accommodate your craving. I find skipping either the naan or the rice helps me at a party.
Okay so you read articles like this all the time and know what's right. What happens when you still fall off the dietary wagon once in a way? No big deal! (as long as its not all the time.) Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on...all we diabetics can do is keep trying to do our best.

Geeta Kakade, Diabetes Support Group.

Food for thought:

Never complain and never explain. Benjamin Disraeli

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