A Spicy and Healthy Spinach Salad

mexican-spinach-salad croppedJuly’s hot weather salad days are here. If you’re looking for a more exciting salad that bites you back, try our Health-e-Recipe for Mexican Spinach Salad.

Poblano chiles spice up these greens, which by themselves contain important cancer-fighting substances. They’re used in cuisines from hot climates where spices can help to cool you off by making you perspire. Chiles also contain plant compounds called capsaicin, which lab studies suggest may help keep unhealthy inflammation at bay.

Feta cheese, pumpkin seeds and crunchy corn chips for garnish also make this salad interesting. Top it with our easy honey-lime dressing, which you can use on other salads as well. To make it a more complete meal, add a half-cup of chopped roast chicken breast to each serving (for another 150 calories and lean protein).

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A Fresh Topping for Pasta

rigatoni-and-red-peppers cropped copyWho knew that a delicious pasta dish could fit into a cancer-preventive diet? Our Health-e-Recipe for Rigatoni with Red Peppers fortifies with phytochemical-rich vegetables and fiber, which reduces risk of colorectal cancer.

Whole-wheat pasta has fiber plus protective compounds inherent in whole grains. If you can’t find whole-wheat rigatoni for this dish, try a similar type of bite-size whole-grain pasta, such as penne, rotini or macaroni.

Lightly sautéed red onion, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and spinach to toss with the pasta. You’ll be getting powerful onion phytochemicals, vitamin C in the peppers and tomatoes and lutein from the spinach, all reinforcing each other with health-protection benefits. They’re a fresh change from bottled pasta sauce. Topped with fresh basil and Parmesan, this dish is a tasty and low-calorie way to welcome the spring.

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2013: It’s A (Healthy) Wrap

turkey-fajita croppedWrap up some healthy turkey and colorful veggies as you usher out the 2013 holiday season. Our Health-e-Recipe for Turkey Fajitas with Baby Spinach and Red Peppers tastes like it came from a restaurant — only it’s low in calories and fat.

The secret is in the seasoning. Our marinade combines chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, black pepper and finely ground coffee. Like the unsweetened chocolate in Mexican mole sauce, the coffee gives an earthy, roasted taste to the turkey filling.

Like other leafy greens, baby spinach contains lutein, a plant compound that may protect cells and ward off eye disease. It’s a healthier alternative to iceberg lettuce. The red bell  pepper contrasts in taste and color, adding vitamin C and natural sweetness. Red onion gives this dish a spicy flair along with more protective phytochemicals.

Whole-wheat tortillas warmed up first add cancer-fighting fiber to this dish. Whole grains are more filling than enriched white flour and are digested more slowly so that your blood sugar is maintained at a healthy level until your next meal.

Find more delicious, cancer-preventive recipes at the AICR Test Kitchen. Subscribe to our weekly Health-e-Recipes.