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Forks Over Knives (Spicy Orange Greens)

by Nick

I’m a huge fan of instant Netflix.  In fact, Betsy and I don’t even have cable anymore.

Currently my queue on instant Netflix breaks down into:

1) Dorky science shows like Mythbusters.
2) Awesome TV series like Breaking Bad and Law and Order: SVU
3) Documentaries or movies that people have recommended to me about food.

Last week, I finally watched a show that a friend recommended to me approximately 6 months ago called Forks Over Knives.  I think the movie can be summarized in the title of it, which I didn’t fully understand until halfway through the thing.  I thought the title was forks over knives because you use a knife to eat things like meat and forks to eat things like veggies.

The real meaning of it though is that if you wisely choose what you eat with your fork you can almost certainly avoid going under the knife.  It argues that as a society, we have put the knife over the fork and now we think that it’s much easier and less drastic to have a few surgeries instead of changing eating habits.

So, as a shout out to what I thought was a really interesting and very well done movie, I decided to cook something that I think the Forks Over Knives crowd would approve of… mainly because it’s from their website!

Yield
Serves 2.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Spicy Orange Greens

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch greens, like broccoli rabe, kale, or chard
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 8 ounces soba noodles, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Chili garlic sauce (opt.)

Directions

1) Wash and roughly chop greens and dice peppers and garlic clove. Cook soba noodles according to package. Drain soba and toss with sesame oil to make sure the noodles don't stick.

2) Add water, garlic, red pepper flakes, soy sauce to a large skillet or wok. Bring to a simmer over high heat and cook until garlic is fragrant, just a minute or two.

3) Stir in marmalade.

4) Add greens and red pepper to the pan and cover.

5) Cook for 2-3 minutes until veggies are soft. Stir everything together so the sauce evenly coats the veggies.

6) Serve greens with soba and top with chili garlic sauce.

Forks over Knives

Based on my post from the weekend, it’s pretty obvious that this movie didn’t turn me into a vegan.  But it did reinforce a lot of what I already think.  Namely, that through healthier eating, we would drastically reduce some of the health issues we face as a country.

This doesn’t just mean obesity, but even more radical diseases like heart disease and even some cancers.  To make huge progress in this effort, the film argues that we have to basically completely eliminate from our diet three things: meat, dairy or other animal products, and processed foods and oils.

The problem that I have with the movie is that it makes the whole situation seem like a switch.  It’s either on or off.  You’re either eating healthily or you’re on a path to cancer.

I like to think of more as a sliding scale.  Sure, if you eat nothing but deep-fried cheesesteak every day, you’re in for a rough haul, but having a slice or two of bacon on the weekends I don’t think is going to set my body into a tailspin.

Of course, Americans tend to have a problem with the word moderation so I can see how arguing for a cold turkey approach might be more effective.

Anyway, so I liked the movie.  It has some fascinating statistics and compiles work from two very respected doctors who have been researching this stuff for over 40 years.

But enough about reviews… let’s eat!

Spicy Orange Greens

I wanted to cook something from the Forks Over Knives website after I watched the movie.  One thing that I found ironic was that the recipe they posted probably leads to a lot of people breaking one of the main Forks over Knives rules!

The recipe calls for a tablespoon of orange marmalade and about 90% of marmalades in the store contain mostly high fructose corn syrup which the movie is very against.  Oh well, nobody’s perfect.  Of course, you can find marmalade without HFCS (I did), but I doubt most people would do this for the recipe.  They would just grab a jar.

Anyway, this recipe was actually very delicious and takes less than 30 minutes to toss together which is cool.

You’ll need these things to make the sauce!

sauce

Good stuff.

One cool tactic that they mentioned in the movie, and that this recipe used, was that instead of stir-frying in oil, try to use water.  So basically you make a very flavorful steaming liquid and cook your food in that.

I was skeptical that this would work but it turned out to be great and definitely healthier than cooking the greens in oil which is what I would’ve done if left to my own devices.

Speaking of greens… you can use almost anything for this recipe.  You want something hardy like rabe, kale, or chard though.  I went the rabe route.

greens

Love the rabe.

To prep the veggies, just wash and roughly chop the ingredients.  Pretty simple!

prepped

Just a rough dice is good.

Soba Noodles (I bend the rules)

You could serve the greens over rice or something, but the recipe also suggested noodles and that sounded better to me.

So I went with soba noodles which are some of the healthier noodles out there!

soba

One of my favorite noodles.

I really love soba noodles because they are extremely flavorful.  They have a really nutty flavor.  I also like them because they are very good warm or cold so they make for quick leftovers.

There’s one problem with the noodles that led me to slightly bend the Forks Over Knives rules.

Soba noodles stick together like they are made of Elmers.  After you boil them and drain them, if you walk away for a few minutes, they will congeal into one big mass of noodles:  like a noodle cake.

cooked

These will stick like glue!

There’s one cure for this and it’s not approved by the Forks Over Knives doctors, but whatever.

The cure is oil… specifically sesame oil.  For me, I’d rather use a tablespoon of this stuff and have really flavorful (and separated) noodles, but I do not think that the doctors in the movie would approve.

oil

Necessary in my opinion.

Finishing the Dish

Once the noodles are cooked, this dish takes about five minutes to finish up.  It’s really quick and easy.

Basically, just add the water, garlic, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and marmalade to a large skillet or wok.

sauce

Water. Not oil.

Bring this to a simmer over high heat and then toss in your veggies.

steamed

A quick steam.

Cover this up and cook the veggies for just a few minutes.  So basically you are steaming the veggies but with spices and some sweet orange flavors.

When the veggies are done, just toss them a bit so they all get evenly coated with the sauce.

cooked

Maybe two minutes later.

I wanted to kick up the heat a bit more on mine so I added some chili garlic sauce as well.

finished

Simple and delicous!

It’s hard to deny that it would be good if more people ate meals like this pretty regularly.

I was also impressed by how actually delicious and creative this dish was.  The oil-to-water change was a great one and probably one that I’ll use regularly.

So, check out the movie if you’re interested.  But, more importantly, make this dish.  Some might say that by eating it you’re warding off cancer, but I’ll just say that I’m recommending it because it’s really tasty!

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17 comments on “Forks Over Knives (Spicy Orange Greens)

  1. It’s official – I am addicted to your website! It’s beautiful. I will most definately be making this tonight. And I’ll be checking back for that vegan section as promised :)

  2. Nice dish Nick! You just made one of my favorite Japanese noodles!

    One issue I have with Forks over Knives is the obvious vegan propaganda. The worst culprit of the movie is the complete refusal to address another part of our food chain; monocropping.

    The assumption that all can be solved by just eating a “plant based diet” convenient leaves out the darker side of veganism… crops like soy beans, wheat, corn that are genetically modified to be viable ONLY with the addition of Roundup.

    That’s a very scary thing.

    Then there is the pesticides used to combat mice, and other vermin.

    Of course, none of those cause cancer… right?

    Anyway, I’ll leave that for a post later on. LOL.

    Back to the dish… I love it. You captured the essence of the Asian style – simple, local, and tasty. Great job man!

    1. Well… it’s true they don’t cover those aspects which I think are important. I’m also not sure I would call the movie propaganda. My website was also recently called propaganda so I’m not sure why that word is being thrown around so much…

      The movie is really just a summary of two doctor’s work over the last forty years… their research and conclusions. They aren’t agricultural or farming experts… they are health experts. As far as I can tell, most of the claims they make are backed by pretty firm evidence.

    2. I don’t think monocropping or the effects you mention should be seen as the “dark side” of veganism. These are harmful practices completely non unique to a plant based diet, as evidenced by the fact that they exist, with all their dangers, right now. You’d be hard pressed to find very many vegans who are averse to sustainable farming.

      1. Non unique to a plant based diet? What do you call GMO wheat? Roundup ready soy? GMO corn? These are NOT raised for the meat industry, they are raised for the plant-based diet you are talking about.

        I say they are the “dark side” because you never hear about the devastation caused by monocropping. The pro-vegan side contends that with our dropping animals as sources of sustenence, we will “fix” the problem with our environment and the whole-scale destruction in the Amazon.

        This conveniently leaves out the mono cropping aspect of the vegan side. If you are loking for sustainable farming without the use of animals, how are you farming then? If you can’t use animal byproducts, there are no natural fertilizers like manure, bone meal, and other real animal sources. You are left with fertilizers that are man-made that are causing wholesale destruction to our water table, to our oceans, to the actual earth growing that mono crop.

        Corn is grown mainly for a sweetener – not for cattle feed. Soy is mainly for processed foods, and filler for most other stuff. Wheat is mainly for bread, and other byproducts like MSG, and the cosmetic industries.

        I would contend the damage done by those 4 alone are more than sustainable, animal farming.

        Worse, the whole thought of how much energy goes into producing animals verses plants conveniently leaves out the further processing required to make the monocrops suitable for consumption.

        I totally agree that our currentl factory farm system is destroying our planet. It’s because we are feeding our cattle/chickens, etc what they were NOT meant to be eating in the first place. Vegans point to how many bags of grains used to produce cattle – they are forgetting ONE very important fact.

        Cows are ruminant animals. They aren’t genetically designed to eat wheat, or soy, or corn. They need to be pumped full of antibiotics in order to live to the slaughterhouse. I saw this first hand growing up.

        Cattle are grazers – they eat grass. They are meant to eat grass, then fertilize the ground with their feces. It’s nature’s path.

        1. No, they’re raised for plant-based foods. Not for vegans. Most of that food will be consumed by carnivores. The harms they cause are not on the shoulders of vegans and more than they are on the shoulders of anyone else. That’s why it isn’t unique to vegans and is not the dark side to veganism.

        2. Based on the vegans I know and the reasons they chose to avoid meat and dairy, chances are they are probably also avoiding products like roundup ready soy and gmo corn.

  3. Nick – to see wht I mean, a very good book to look at is either “Good Calories/Bad Calories” or “Why we Get Fat” by Gary Taubes.

    I took issue with the movie in several places because what they were saying was complete utter crock. For example:

    1) Talking about satiation. The idea that 500 calories of vegetables stretches the stomach so you feel more full than 500 calories of meat, dairy, or fats. If you have ever tried eating 500 calories of hard boiled eggs, or of olive oils – you would get sick before you reached 500 calories. In the case of hard boiled eggs, that would be 6 to 7 hard boiled eggs.
    2) There was a part in the video where a doctor was talking about how “poor people” are not equipped to make as good choices in food as “more affluent people” – thinly veiled as “poor people are stupid.” I take issue on that –
    3) They make out the China study as its all plant based – which the traditional Asian diet is not. Yes, there are a LOT of veggies in the diet, but ALSO cooked in animal fats, and meat as a garnish – or lots of seafood.
    4) Whenever they are showing “meat based” diets, it’s always frickeb McDonalds, KFC, etc. people are eating grossly huge, fatty burgers, or BBQ meat on the BBQ. You NEVER see someone eating clean – that is eating their nice chicken breast, cooked simply, (IE not fried!) with a complement of vegetables.
    5) When they are talking about how in the west we are dying of cancer verses in Kenya don’t look at farming practices, the contamination of our water supply, fossil fuels, pesticide use, agriculture, pollution, etc. It is simple to say its all about diet – but to use their own words… it’s a symphony of causations.

  4. Just finished watching the movie again… and looking at the cookbook that accompanies it. Serious, serious vegan propaganda. (BTW Nick – who called your site propaganda? That’s just crazy!)

    Let me give you an example. IN the cookbook they suggest that whole foods could have a label (like the nutritional label you find on the box.)

    For the plants, it says, “Warning, may contain nuts, legumes, or glutens.”

    Then the meat carries the warning, “May contain milk products, eggs, shellfish. Ask a doctor before consuming if you have diabetes, heart disease, etc. Then it even goes into the biological agents like bacteria, parasites, biological and chemicals used to produce the food.

    The question I have is, where is the biological information about the vegetable and plant matter? Are we to believe there are no pesticides, herbicides, ground water contamination, or that it needs manure (if organic) or worse, petrolium based byproducts (like potash, the chemicals used to make the fertilizers that cause runoffs.) I am also not seeing anything about the e-coli risks, or for other things like food grade waxes they apply, nor for the poor Mexican migrant worker who is in a slave relationshi with his/her “boss” in order to provide those “whole foods” they are talking about.

    That’s the wonderful thing about your site Nick – getting comforatble in the kitchen is exactly what needs to happen again so we stop relying on processed foods like we have in the past 40 years. I agree with a lot of the points of Forks over Knives, just not the agenda behind it. (And aspects of junk science as well.)

    What needs to happen is people need to get more versed in the kitchen, then they need to start looking at how their food is produced. How it/s grown, what chemicals and other agents are used, the practises of the agri business, (Like Monsanto suing organic farmers because Monsanto’s patented seeds are ending up in honest farmer’s fields through contamination…)

    Once that happens, I am sure that our rates of disease will go steadily down. We don’t have to give up animal products, just the ones the Documentary shows as “animal” products… the lovely 8 patty burgers, McDonalds, KFC, or the like.

    Show me a free range chicken, or nice free range eggs, along with organically grown tomatoes, with fresh cut herbs, mushrooms, and other goodies from the garden, (or CSA,) then I will show you a nice Chicken Cacciatore that can feed a family of 8 – along with a healthy side of vegetables.

    If we want to stop the destruction of the planet, I agree, eat less meat – use it as a condiment. 1/2 of the plate can be vegetables, 1/4 the meat, and 1/4 the healthy fats.

    For instance, your noodle dish follows that almost fully –

    1/2 plate the broccoli rabe, peppers, marmalade, soba noodles
    1/4 plate – add a touch more sesame oil, or even cook with avocado oil (or peanut oil) for more healthy fats
    1/4 plate – add shredded chicken – a half breast is mor than enough to sate you.

    Instead of cooking in the water, cover your wok, add a few drops of water, and let the steam cook the food. (Old restaurant trick.)

    Eating this way will sate you – and you won’t have to come back 3 hours later to fix your hunger. That’s the point of fat and meat they don’t cover in that movie – they sate you.

    Sorry, just realized I ranted a bit here… this is the seed for a post over at my blog, me thinks….

    1. All valid points Jason. The movie is far from perfect… you’re definitely right that the only portrayal of meats that they have in the movie is meats that I would very rarely, if ever, eat… fast food mainly.

  5. I have heard a lot about that movie, but have yet to see it. But I am notorious to falling victim to pro-vegan messages, especially when they talk about how unsanitary a lot of the places the products come from can be… so I should probably skip it.

    What I do love, however, is Breaking Bad, we just started it and it’s freaking awesome. You should also check out Dexter if you’ve never seen it, definitely in my top 3 all-time favorites.

  6. Nick–I also thought “Forks Over Knives” was pretty good! Another one to add to your Netflix instant queue is “Ingredients.” I watched that one this past weekend. A lot of those documentaries can be fear mongering (I’m sure your mind is jumping to a few right now). This one stays away from that but still gets a good message across: food that’s grown better (a) tastes better and (b) is better for you. Check it! :) ….. And now with that little PSA out there, I’m off to make your convenient, tasty breakfast sandwiches.

  7. HFCS in marmalade? OMG America is crazy. I don´t think one would find that in europe. you can´t even find cornsyrup in stores. they do not sell it here. I make my marmalade myself and never buy it. Its just fruit and sugar people! make it yourself. thanks for the movie recommondation nick. Will def. watch it. awesome salad btw.

  8. Just made this for my lunches this week! Whatever people may say about the vegans, they know their dark, leafy greens. I even used a marmalade made with sugar and NOT HFCS. Very tasty.

    On the issue of a vegan diet being better for the planet, I agree with the commenters above who say that the real problem is factory farming and this is not solved solely by not eating meat.

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