3 Healthy And Flavorful African Dishes That Can Spice Up Your Menu

Posted on: 4 March 2016


One of the problems that many people experience when trying to improve their diets is that food suddenly becomes boring. When you remove the fat, sugar, and fried dishes from your regular menu rotation, what are you left with? Plain, unappetizing foods. But it doesn't have to be that way, and branching out into a new cuisine can revitalize your menu with flavorful new options. African food, for example, is often heavy in spices that provide exotic, complex flavors without harming your health. Take a look at some healthy African dishes that you should add to your menu.

Start Your Day With Teff Porridge

If you're looking for a healthy breakfast and not excited by the thought of a bowl of oatmeal, teff porridge might be the perfect choice for you. Teff is a gluten-free grain that is high in iron and protein, and can actually help you lose weight. It's also known for reducing PMS symptoms, and it has a low glycemic index that can also help you manage your blood sugar.

To make teff porridge, first lightly toast the teff grains, then add water, butter (if desired) cinnamon, and pitted dates. Boil the mixture until it's soft and thick, then add chopped apples, pecans, and milk. The dates and apples will give the cereal a natural, healthy sweetness that complements the pecans and the nutty flavor of the teff.

Pack in the Power of Spinach With Riz Djerben

You probably already know that spinach is good for you, but do you know just how good it is? Not only is it rich in important vitamins like vitamin K and vitamin A, a recent study shows that spinach consumption can help protect you against aggressive prostate cancer. If you have trouble getting spinach into your diet, riz djerben – or Tunisian spinach and rice – is a flavorful dish that works as a side or a meatless main dish that can help you enjoy the health benefits of spinach.

Riz djerben is made by mixing basmati rice with olive oil and tomato paste, then adding spinach, chopped onion, tomatoes, and carrots, chickpeas, and cubed potatoes to the mixture. Then stir in garlic, parsley, coriander, ground caraway, paprika, pepper flakes, turmeric, salt, and black pepper. Put the whole mixture into a steamer and stir periodically to ensure that it cooks evenly. When the rice is soft, the dish is done.

West African Gumbo

Eating seafood is one of the best ways to avail yourself of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that have significant benefits for your brain and heart. Government and health organizations recommend eating seafood twice a week for these benefits. West African seafood gumbo is a great way to incorporate more seafood into your diet.

To make West African gumbo, start with fish stock – you can make it yourself by combining onions, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and a large fish head in a stock pot with water, bringing it to a boil, then simmering it. Then remove the fish head, strip the meat from the bones, and add it back to the stock along with eggplant, okra, hot chiles, palm oil, clams, shrimp, squid, and dried fish that has been smoked and salted. Once you've combined and cooked all the ingredients, serve the gumbo over cooked whole grain rice.

Eating healthy doesn't have to mean eating bland or unappetizing food. If your menu could use some spicing up, these African dishes might be just what you've been looking for so order African food online