Boloco: Make Your Own Bowl or Burrito

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If you live in New England, Boloco is probably already on your radar. Its burritos come in flavors inspired by many cuisines—you could call them wraps, really, since only a couple of the choices are typical Mexican fare. Their menu has many options for those trying to avoid heartburn.

The best option for GERD is to make your own bowl or burrito. Walk down the ingredient line to see what’s there, as it can be tough to find all of the options just by reading the menu. My most recent bowl (pictured here) featured quinoa, baby kale, broccoli, chicken, black beans, corn salsa, carrots, cilantro, and cheese. I also recommend the roasted mushrooms, butternut squash, carnitas, celery, pinto beans, beets, cucumbers, and brown rice.

I didn’t put a sauce on this particular bowl because the ingredients have so much flavor. The Thai peanut and tikka masala sauces are both delicious, but you’ll want to order them on the side and use sparingly to spare your throat.

Sometimes I order a mini burrito so I can save room for a shake. The Jimmy Carter (peanut butter, banana, and yogurt) is my favorite, but the seasonal pumpkin shake is a welcome treat as well. Boloco is a restaurant WIN in many ways!

Sesame Bok Choy Salad

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This is my new favorite salad. Baby bok choy is a delightful vegetable: crunchy and slightly bitter, with both greens and a cabbage-like stalk. I’ve been using it instead of onion in some recipes, but now that I know how good it is raw, I’ll be experimenting with other flavors of dressing.

Baby bok choy is more perishable than cabbage, so I don’t recommend dressing this salad and leaving it in the fridge overnight. It will keep for a few hours, though, so it’s a good option for a party appetizer or potluck; just make a double batch. Add the dressing right before you serve it, and it will stay crunchy for several hours. If you want to save some for the next day, don’t add any dressing until then.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 tsp honey, put in the microwave for 5 seconds
  • 1 1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • large pinch of onion powder
  • 5 heads baby bok choy, rinsed, dried, and thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 2 tbsp toasted sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, stir the honey, soy sauce, vinegar, oils, ginger, and onion powder until it forms a uniform dressing. Microwave for a few seconds if the honey isn’t combining easily. IMG_5506
  2. Pour the vinaigrette over the bok choy and carrot. Add the cilantro and toss well to coat the salad in dressing. Top with the toasted almonds and serve.

Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main course. Active and total time 15 minutes. Adapted from http://thecozyapron.com/cozy-cameo-pass-the-bok-choy-greens-and-my-skinny-jeans-please/

Salad with Ginger Dressing & Kale Chips

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With its prohibition of citrus and strict limits on vinegar and oil, the low-acid diet does not make it easy to eat salad. Most of the salads I make use quinoa as a base instead of lettuce. To dress a green salad lightly and still enjoy it, you need to add something that keeps the palate interested.

Two textures made this salad a success: kale chips and ginger. The baked kale adds a salty, bitter crunch, while the grated ginger makes the dressing both thick and spicy. If you don’t feel like making kale chips, I suggest using toasted almonds as an alternative (but less interesting) crunchy topper.

Kale chips are easy to make. This was my first time trying it because in the past I’ve been too lazy to go through the effort of drying the kale. These leaves weren’t totally dry, so some of the chips stayed green instead of turning brown. I was happy to discover that the green chips were just as crunchy as the browned ones.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 4 to 5 cups packed kale leaves
  • olive oil spray
  • sea salt
  • 2 cups baby spinach/arugula mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped snow peas or snap peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • handful of cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • pinch of onion powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the kale from the stems and tear it into bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry well in a salad spinner. Then dry the leaves completely on a towel.
  2. Arrange the kale in a single layer on 2 large baking sheets, and coat with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste and cook for 10 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven when some of the pieces are very brown, even if some of the other pieces are still green.
  3. While the kale is baking, add greens, peas, pepper, and cilantro to a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, oil, honey, ginger, and onion powder. Stir well. IMG_5355
  5. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well to coat. Arrange the salad on a large plate.
  6. When the kale chips are done, sprinkle a few on top of the salad and serve.
  7. Store extra kale chips at room temperature.
Serves 1. Active time 15 minutes; total time 20 minutes.

Punjab Cafe: Dal Makhni

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Punjab Cafe was highly recommended by a friend who’s been eating there since childhood. It took me a while to try it because there’s a good Indian restaurant closer to the subway station (in Quincy, a few miles south of Boston). But after trying this incredible food, I doubt I’ll go back to the other place.

I ordered Dal Makhni on my first visit, and it was so great that I got it the next time too. This dish has black lentils cooked with mild spices and topped with fresh cilantro. The lentils have the perfect bite, and the sauce is herbaceous without being spicy. This combination can be difficult to find on a curry-filled menu. Also, the long-grain rice is fragrant and so delicious. During my first meal here, I found a whole cardamom pod in the rice bowl, so I knew it was legit.

I didn’t order an appetizer, but every table gets a trio of dips with crispy cumin-seed crackers. The crackers are flavorful, but I don’t recommend the dips for GERD—they are all acidic and spicy.

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This meal was a restaurant win, but only because I was careful. I didn’t order appetizers or any buttery, filling naan. And although I ate my entire dish of dal, I didn’t have a ton of rice. (Overfilling the stomach is a common cause of acid reflux.) If you can resist the curries and keep yourself from digging into the dips, you can have a reflux-free Indian meal.

Vegetarian Fried Rice

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I’ve never walked away from a take-out Chinese meal feeling good, so I had given up this type of food long before heartburn became an issue. This narrows my take-out options, though, and I do miss the texture of fried rice. This at-home version really hits the spot. There’s definitely something missing, compared to the restaurant version—but I suspect that something is pork fat and MSG.

This is a fun dish to make. Scrambling the egg in the skillet makes me feel like a professional cook, and it’s cool how quickly the stir-fry comes together. To prepare for the speedy cooking time, be sure to prep all ingredients and tools before you put anything in the pan. Also, using cold rice is imperative for the texture. I used a package of precooked rice from Trader Joe’s that I had put in the fridge a few hours ahead of time.

Once you get the gist of this stir-fry method, you can substitute the ingredients for variety. Peas are traditional in fried rice, but I’ve always hated them, so I used spinach instead. Pea pods, chopped eggplant, baby corn, mushrooms, and any type of meat would also be great in here. I’ll post again if I come across a particularly compelling variation.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrot
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cups cold cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 cup frozen edamame (no pods), thawed
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg white
  • 3 drops light soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
  • 3 drops sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped baby spinach (measured after chopping)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add carrots and onion powder and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  2. Add rice, thawed edamame, and ginger, and stir-fry for 3 minutes, breaking up the rice with a spatula. Add the soy sauce and stir well.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the drops of soy sauce and sesame oil.
  4. Push the rice mixture to the sides of the pan to leave a hole in the middle. Add the eggs and scramble, stirring often and scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan, for about 1 minute. IMG_5000
  5. Mix the eggs into the rest of the dish. Then stir in the vinegar, sesame oil, and spinach.
  6. Turn off heat and stir for a minute to wilt the greens a bit; add cilantro and serve.

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