It’s a seed, it’s a berry, it’s—superfood! By now, you’ve heard this hot nutrition buzzword—but it’s not just a marketing ploy. Superfoods are real: They are foods with above-average concentrations of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats and other good-for-you things such as phytochemicals and isoflavones. Superfoods really can perform amazing feats for the betterment of humanity, like reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improve odds against cancer and heart disease, prevent diabetes, fight depression and stave off dementia (mileage on all the aforementioned may vary). The best news yet is that superfoods can be super yummy, and we’ve got the dishes to prove it. Here are seven from around the Plymouth area.
GREEN TEA ROLL
Salmon is all about omega 3 oils, which jumped into the nutritional spotlight a couple of decades ago with promises of brain, heart and mood health. The menu at Kobe Japanese restaurant is full of riffs on salmon, both cooked and raw; a fun way to eat it is in one of the chef’s creative monster sushi rolls. We dig the green tea roll, which does not in fact contain green tea but a pretty swirl of rosy red tuna, pink salmon and creamy yellowtail, with “crunch” (panko breadcrumbs) inside and wrapped in green soybean paper. It’s a bundle bursting with lean protein, as well as all those sexy fish oils. A wee dip in wasabi-laced soy sauce is all that it needs. $13.
15555 34th Ave. N.; 763.559.9999;
ITALIAN FAVORITE SPECIALTY PIZZA
Pizza a superfood? Yes, thanks to tomatoes. The love apple is full of this thing called lycopene, a phytochemical found in red-hued fruits. This stuff has been linked to lower risk of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Lycopene is fat-soluble, which means that, when cooked with cheese, it makes an easier assimilation into the bloodstream. No one does it better than our beloved old-school Italian joint Latuff’s; order the “Italian favorite” specialty pizza, with crumbled Italian sausage, salami and peppers. Plenty of garlic—an antimicrobial and antioxidant—and a shower of red chili flakes—full of joint-beneficial capsaicin—intensify both the fiery and healthy effects. $14.50.
10820 Highway 55; 763.545.2914
Jake’s City Grille
Any kind of salad is bound to be super for you, because most vegetables are. But this salad also has beans: black ones, at that. Beans are astounding little health care workers: full of protein and fiber, and very low in fat. Here they’re mixed with an assortment of greens, roasted corn, sweet peppers, onion, avocado, cheese and tomatoes. A smoky tomatillo-chipotle vinaigrette seals the deal, all cozied up in a crisp tortilla bowl. Add flank steak, $13.95 or chicken, $12.95.
3005 Harbor Lane N.; 763.559.1595
SLIM SESAME SLAW SALAD
Cabbage is the superstar in this light and peppery mélange; it belongs to the cruciferous family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy and Brussels sprouts. Cruciferous, meaning cross-bearing, refers to the shape of the plants’ flowers. This family of veggies might be linked to lowering the risk of lung, liver and breast cancers. They’re also full of fiber, vitamins and those oh-so-wonderful phytochemicals. Enjoy it at Cowboy Jack’s: mixed romaine lettuce and shredded cabbage is tossed with a pretty array of snow peas, carrots and scallions. Lightly breaded braised chicken chunks and slivered almonds gussy it up; a light toss in toasted sesame dressing is all it needs. $8.
4120 Berkshire Lane N.; 763.559.0257
HOUSE TOFU IN SZECHUAN SPICY SAUCE
Tea House Chinese
Soy is super, and tofu has come a long way since the bland, rubbery slab we tried to choke down in the 1980s. It has untold amounts of protein, is a factor in heart and bone health, and contains isoflavones that are estrogen-like in action and might alleviate menopausal symptoms. Szechuan cuisine is an awesome vehicle for tofu, which takes on whatever flavors it is cooked with; the house tofu at Tea House Chinese restaurant features chunks of the stuff swimming in a soup-like sauce liberally laced with orange chili oil and flecked with red pepper. The large, thick squares of bean curd are almost meaty in texture; wilted Napa cabbage, another superfood, adds an excellent dimension of crunch. $12.
88 Nathan Lane; 763.544.3422
Conventional wisdom has it that avocados are fattening—wrong. While they are high in fat, it’s good fat, the kind that gives you shiny skin and hair, and befriends your arteries. This creamy superfood is a weekly (if not daily!) requirement full of oleic acid, lutein, folate, monounsaturated fats and glutathione among them (consult Professor Google for details). As with many powerful foods, a simple preparation using the highest quality raw material is best. Guacamole is a festive mash of the “alligator pear” and spice, best scooped up with tortilla chips. Large, $7; small, $4.15.
3500 Vicksburg Lane N.; 763.550.1570
KABOCHA SQUASH RED CURRY
Superfoods tend to come in brilliant colors; it seems that there is a correlation between this saturation and vitamin content. Squash is a superfood champion in glorious orange, a hue signaling massive amounts of vitamin A. Fak tong, aka kabocha squash, is a bit darker than pumpkin-orange with a sweeter, denser, fiber-rich flesh. Bright chunks are braised in coconut milk with red and green bell peppers and an infusion of red Thai curry spice. You can specify your preferred heat level on a scale from one to five, and then there is “Thai hot.” The sweet kabocha squash can pull off the maximum heat level; just remember that drinking water only spreads the fire, while absorbent grains of rice help tone it down. $8.99–$11.99.
10100 Sixth Ave. N.; 763.591.6085