Saturday, June 27, 2009

Healthy Vegetarian Eggs Benedict with Creamy Avocado Dill Sauce

Both eggs served on thick whole grain bread.

Organic, free range, antibiotic free eggs with omega-3.

Non- stick egg poacher.
Poaching in a non-stick fry pan.

Eggs Benedict is a very popular breakfast dish but it’s also one of the unhealthiest. This healthy vegetarian alternative will allow you to enjoy it without “too much” guilt.

We start with a whole grain English muffin, which adds 4 grams of fiber vs. its white, processed counterpart. Or, instead of individual English muffin halves, you can also place both eggs on one thick slice of whole grain, seeded bread. Instead of slices of Canadian bacon, we place the eggs on a bed of steamed spinach, tomato slices and soft goat cheese. We use organic Omega-3 eggs and top them with the creamy vegan avocado dill sauce that I posted on June 19, 2009. Regular Hollandaise sauce is made with egg yokes, butter and sometimes cream. This adds unnecessary calories, fat and cholesterol to the dish (do we really need an “egg sauce” on top of eggs?). Although eggs are high in cholesterol, a bit over 200 mg per egg, they can still have a place in a healthy diet if you limit them to a few times a week and you also limit the other sources of cholesterol in your diet.

Why Eat Eggs?
Eggs themselves are pretty low in calories (70 calories each) are high in protein (6 grams of protein per egg) and are a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B12 and phosphorus. Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is required for cell growth and energy production. Vitamin B12 is required for a healthy nervous system and for the formation of red blood cells. Also known as the “energy vitamin”, a key deficiency symptom of vitamin B12 is fatigue. It is impossible to get this essential vitamin from a raw food vegan diet so a raw foodist must supplement to avoid health problems including megaloblastic anemia and serious problems with the nervous system. Cooked food vegans must eat fortified foods like cereals, beverages and meat analogues. Phosphorous is important in the formation of bones and teeth, energy production, protein synthesis and muscle contraction. Eggs are also a very good source of selenium, a potent antioxidant vitamin that has been associated with reducing cancer risk. Egg yolks have been shown to be a highly bioavailable source of lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals important in the prevention of macular degeneration.

When selecting eggs, I want to make sure they come from a chicken that’s living a good life. That may sound ridiculous to some of you, but just think about it. On one hand, you have chickens that are stuffed into tiny cages, fed antibiotics, often have their little beaks cut off and never see the light of day. On the other hand, you have chickens who get to go outside, eat grass supplemented with organic vegetarian grain and flaxseeds and are treated humanely. I would venture to guess that the egg coming from the happy chicken is a lot better for you. So, if you live in the country, find a chicken farm and see how they are treated. Better yet, raise a few chickens yourself. If you live in the city, buy the most expensive eggs you can find and make sure they say, “no antibiotics”, “vegetarian diet that includes flax seed”, “cage free or free range”, and “high in omega 3”.


Vegetarian Eggs Benedict with Creamy Avocado Dill Sauce [serves 2]
4 large organic, free range, antibiotic free, omega-3 eggs from incredibly happy chickens!
2 whole wheat English muffins, cut into 4 halves or two thick slices of whole grain bread
5 cups raw organic spinach
4 thick slices of tomato
3 ounces chevre goat cheese (made without animal rennet) I like Laura Chenel
4 tablespoons creamy avocado dill sauce Salt and pepper to taste

Creamy Vegan Avocado Dill Sauce [makes 1 cup or 16 tablespoons]
1/2 cup avocado (about 1/2 of a large avocado)
1/2 cup organic, unsweetened soy milk
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
1/8 teaspoon dried or 1/4 teaspoon fresh dill
2 grinds black pepper
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Blend the ingredients for the creamy avocado dill sauce in a blender and process until smooth. Set aside. This will make more than you need so refrigerate it and enjoy it as a salad dressing over the next few days.

Steam the spinach and place in a colander, setting aside to let in drain completely.

Lightly toast the English muffins or the thick slices of whole grain bread. When done, spread goat cheese on the muffin halves or bread slices. Cover with tomato and drained spinach.

If you have an egg poacher, cook the eggs to your liking and place them on the spinach, tomato and goat cheese. To make eggs without a poacher, spray Pam (or use a small amount of olive oil) in a 10 inch stick-free frying pan. Carefully break 4 eggs in the pan making sure they are evenly spaced. In a minute or so, after they set a bit, score the eggs into 4 quarters using a spatula. Pour a quarter cup of hot or boiling water around the eggs and cover immediately. It’s best if you have a glass cover so you can see how they are doing. Cook for a few minutes until the eggs are to your liking. I like them pretty soft but some like them more cooked. When done to your liking, score again and carefully remove each egg and place on the spinach, tomato and goat cheese. Top each egg with a tablespoon (or more) of creamy avocado dill dressing and serve immediately. You may garnish with a little more dill if you’d like.

Per 2 egg serving: 392.6 calories, 18.4 g fat, 8.5 g saturated fat, 447 mg cholesterol, 26 g protein, 31.2 g carbohydrates and 6.8 g of fiber.

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