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!

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.

Life Alive: The Alchemist Demi Bowl

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I am beyond in love with Life Alive, a vegetarian restaurant and juice bar in Cambridge. The ambiance is pure hippie, with a kale dispenser on the wall and free ukulele performances in the basement. And the food is phenomenal! I don’t know what they put in the sauces, but they make a bowl of vegetables and grains more craveable than I thought it could be.

You can order any dish on the menu over a quinoa mix or as a wrap. Bowls come in regular size and half (demi) size. I recommend the demi bowl if you also want to try something from the juice and smoothie bar. On this visit I had the Thrive Alive, a juice with carrot, apple, and ginger.

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My favorite meal at Life Alive is The Adventurer, but I’ve also enjoyed the Green Goddess. This time I wanted to branch out, so I had The Alchemist: a mix of corn, kale, carrots, sprouted legumes, sesame seeds, and Ginger Nama Shoyu sauce over quinoa. The Ginger Nama Shoyu sauce is by far the best on the menu, but I’ve never had a bad meal here. Everything is flavorful, and I feel energized after ingesting so many vegetables!

As long as you don’t overeat and you avoid the juices with citrus, Life Alive is a restaurant win. I’m sure the sauces contain some garlic, but it’s not overpowering and has never caused me problems. I recommend bringing visitors (who aren’t meat-obsessed) here to give them a food experience they may not expect to find in the Boston area.

Green Soup with Goat Cheese

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Looking for health food to counteract holiday overindulgence? For me, dinner salads and smoothies aren’t appealing in the colder months. Instead, this green soup fills me with vegetables while warming my belly.

As I enter my annual meat-free January, this soup will be my comfort food. (Who needs chicken noodle?) I pair it with whole-wheat crackers, a toasted slice of fresh bread, or homemade croutons.

When I heard “green soup,” I was picturing it to be the color of a Crayola crayon. Instead, it’s a forest green because cooked kale doesn’t maintain its bright color. With a swirl of goat cheese, it looks pretty enough in the bowl. Be forewarned, though, that the leftovers will brown in the refrigerator. They look more like black bean soup, but they still taste great.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 Braeburn or Gala apple
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 oz kale, thick stems removed
  • 8 oz chard, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, tough stems removed
  • 1 heaping tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • sea salt
  • 2 oz goat cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Peel and dice the sweet potato and apple, and put them in a large soup pot with the water and broth. Thoroughly wash the kale, chard, and cilantro, and add them to the pot, along with the ginger and bay leaf. IMG_4965
  2. Bring the liquid to a boil then lower the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for 25 minutes. Add the onion powder, oregano, and cumin, and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  3. Discard the bay leaf. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until very smooth. Stir in oil and vinegar, and add salt to taste. IMG_4966
  4. Stir a half-ounce of goat cheese into each portion and serve.
Serves 4. Active time 20 minutes; total time 50 minutes. Adapted from http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/10/green-soup-recipe.html

Gingered Kale & Eggplant Soup

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Now that it’s completely dark after work and the wintery winds are blowing, I’ve been craving big, warm bowls of dinner. This evening I stopped by the market with the idea of throwing a bunch of produce into a pot. I added lots of fresh ginger, soy sauce, and lemon zest to the dish to give it a Chinese feel.

The recipes on this blog are meant for health nuts, junk food junkies, and everyone in between. That’s why I need to include a warning here: If you don’t love veggies, you might not love this soup.

When I first ladled this soup into my bowl, I thought it might be a failed recipe (or at least not good enough for the blog)—but I really enjoyed it. It’s simple, and it solves a serious problem in winter cooking: How do you make soup without onions, garlic, peppers, or tomatoes? In addition, this soup is nearly fat free, and I imagine it has at least 10 grams of fiber per serving. Cupping the bowl in my hands and letting the steam hit my face, I felt cozy and completely satisfied. I look forward to having the leftovers for lunch all week.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium eggplant, diced small
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 inch grated fresh ginger
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • low-sodium soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and cooking spray. Add the eggplant in a single layer and cover with cooking spray. Roast for 30 minutes. IMG_4810
  2. Boil the broth in a large pan (not nonstick). Peel and dice the potato, and add it to the boiling broth with the bay leaf. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, and mash the potatoes with a fork until nearly smooth.
  3. Remove the kale leaves from the stems, and rip them into small pieces. Add the kale and carrots to the broth. Cover and boil for 3 minutes; then stir until the kale wilts. Cover again and simmer for 10 minutes, until carrots are soft. IMG_4812
  4. Add the eggplant, ginger, lemon zest, 2 tbsp soy sauce, onion powder, oregano, and olive oil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add more soy sauce to taste and serve.

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Serves 5.