May the Fourth Be Delicious

I  value my holidays, and few are more unique and fun than May 4 when the phrase on everyone’s lips is: May the Fourth be with you.

May 4 is Star Wars Day, and I’ve devised three fun snack recipes to help you celebrate while maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. I’m sure Yoda mentioned something about the fork being strong. However, for these recipes, you’ll need your fingers and a sense of adventure.

These recipes are great to prepare with kids, and there’s also scope for forming the dishes into Star Wars shapes so that you can get creative and enjoy cooking together.

If I can suggest a soundtrack while you’re cooking, it has to be “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” by John Williams on repeat. The music from the classic scene when the young Luke Skywalker first meets Han Solo provides a party atmosphere with a dark undertone. Maybe the “Imperial Death March” is more your style. Whatever your background music, these “Star Wars”-inspired recipes will put you front and center with your friends and fellow fans of The F0rce.

Stormtrooper Sushi

Stormtroopers never go off to battle without preparing their bodies with their favorite snack ― sushi. They may seem like robotic war mongering machines on the outside. However, they still need to look after themselves on the inside, and vegetable sushi is the low-fat, vegan, dairy and gluten-free option that keeps them in peak condition for battling the forces of good in the universe.

Nori Is a Nutrient Powerhouse

Traditionally, sushi is wrapped in dry seaweed sheets that are also known as nori. Not only does nori lend a sweet, nutty flavor to your sushi, but it is also packed full of beneficial vitamins and minerals that will give you a nutrient boost without you even realizing it.

Nori is also high in iodine, which supports thyroid function, the gland responsible for maintaining a healthy weight as well as stabilizing moods and tiredness. It is high in protein and fiber yet contains almost no fat. It is rich in minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and vitamins A, B (1, 2, 3, 6 and 12), C, and E, making it a tastier alternative to a multivitamin tablet.

Seaweed, as you might expect, is also high in sodium, and nori is no exception. This means it is a great natural alternative to salt, so less processed salt needs to be added to the food.

Wasabi Burns Away Your Inflammation

Wasabi is not only a delicious and spicy accompaniment to sushi, but it is also fantastic at reducing or eliminating inflammation in sores, muscles and joints. It is also a powerful antimicrobial as the strong vapors that can get up your nose are also harmful to bacteria, reducing the risk of food poisoning. This is especially useful if you are eating sushi made with raw fish.

Makes: 20 rolls
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

For the rice

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups short-grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 teaspoon salt

It is important to wash as much of the starch out of the rice as possible before you start to cook it. You want the rice to bind together in the roll. However, leaving too much starch inside will result in gloopy rice that will ruin the texture and look of your sushi roll.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the rice in a bowl and fill with cold water. The water will turn cloudy because the starch seeps out of the rice. Agitate the grains to help the extraction, then drain the rice through a sieve. Repeat this process until the water is running clear through the rice. This may take up to four or five repetitions.
  2. Place the washed rice in a saucepan 3 1/2 cups of water and 3 cups of rice. Bring the water to the boil making sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick until the water comes to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover the pan, and let it simmer for around 10 minutes. The rice is done when the water has been soaked up and the rice is cooked. The rice should be soft yet retain the structure of its individual grains.
  3. When the rice is cooked, warm the vinegar gently with the mirin and salt until it dissolves. Blend this liquid gently through the rice with the wooden spoon, taking care not to break up the grains.
  4. Spread the rice into a thin layer on a baking sheet and allow it to cool in a spot with good airflow. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use.

For the rolls

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 sheets nori
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 baby corn
  • 1 plum tomato
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tube wasabi paste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the watery core with a teaspoon. Slice the flesh into long thin strips about 1/4-inch thick. Do the same with the tomato.
  2. Cut the scallions to the same length for your nori.
  3. Slice the baby corn into quarters lengthwise.
  4. Lay the nori sheet shiny side down on your bamboo mat. With wet hands, spread the rice in a thin layer, only one or two grains deep, leaving an inch at the far side of the sheet. Lay the sliced vegetables near the other end, on top of the rice.
  5. Roll the nori, keeping it tight all the way across. Use the mat to ensure it is tight evenly along the roll. Wet the exposed end of the nori to seal the roll.
  6. Wet a knife and slice carefully across the sushi roll to create individual rolls.
  7. Serve the sushi with wasabi and soy sauce on the side to dip into. Try making fun storm trooper shapes with your sushi rolls for Star Wars Day.

A Taco the Clones

Nothing says happy Star Wars Day like a clone army of tacos, marching toward their delicious demise. These are packed with goodness and have an unbeatable gluten-free crunch from homemade wheat-free taco shells.

Inside is crunchy lettuce, creamy guacamole ― without all the bad stuff ― and nutritious grilled fish cooked in a Mexican rub to spice things up. These tacos are surprisingly fun and easy to make and make a delicious and guilt-free snack for your May the Fourth celebrations.

Avocados Aren’t So Bad After All

One of the most beneficial ingredients here is the avocados. They are sometimes seen as an unhealthy fruit due to their high-fat content, but it is far better to eat natural fat from an avocado than processed fat like margarine. We all need some fat in our diets, especially to keep joints nicely oiled, and the fat in avocados is the “good” kind, monounsaturated fat, which helps to lower bad cholesterol.

Plus, they are packed full of other nutrients like potassium, which helps control blood pressure; lutein, which is good for your eyes, particularly important for a young Jedi knight; and B, C and E vitamins. Not to mention, they are delicious with a squeeze of lime and add a creamy texture to contrast with the crispy taco shells. This means there’s no need to add sour cream to moisten everything up, reducing the overall fat content of the tacos.

I’ve chosen mackerel because it is an oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. There are also studies supporting the claim that eating oily fish can help reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, making it the perfect tasty and nutritious ingredient for these taco clone warriors.

Makes: 20 mini tacos
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

For the tacos

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 gluten-free tortillas
  • 2 avocados, pitted
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 red chile pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 baby gem lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 baby plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, minced
  • 2 mackerel fillets

For the spice mix

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 crushed vegetable bouillon cube
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the tortillas into rounds to the size that you desire. Place them inside a damp tea towel in the oven for a couple of minutes to make them pliable, and then drape them over the bars of the oven rack to create the characteristic taco shell shape.
  3. Scoop the flesh from the avocados and mash in a bowl with the chile pepper and red onion, and juice from the lime. Season with salt and black pepper.
  4. Dress the lettuce, cucumber and tomato and dress with any remaining lime juice and season salt and ground black pepper.
  5. Mix the spices in a bowl and coat the fish with them, reserving a few pinches. This can be done in advance or immediately before cooking. Cook the fish in a hot pan in some olive oil, until it is firm and cooked through. It should flake off into the tacos.
  6. Assemble your clone army of tacos, layering up avocado with the vegetables and fish. Sprinkle some cilantro and a little extra spice mix on top.

Death Star Energy Balls

These Death Star energy balls are super easy to make and provide a great energy boost for a Jedi on the go. Nothing demonstrates your power to harness the light side of the force as much as taking a Death Star and crushing it between your jaws.

These protein-packed snacks are perfect for a pre- or post-exercise snack when you need a quick energy boost. They are made from crushed nuts and sour cherries, naturally sweetened with dried figs. Coconut oil binds everything together and is complemented by desiccated coconut on the outside. Cocoa powder balances the sweetness and provides the Death Star look.

Coconut oil is one type of fat that you shouldn’t feel bad about consuming. Instead of being stored, it is used up straight away, which makes it ideal for someone who exercises and needs that injection of energy. Lauric acid in the naturally occurring oil reduces inflammation in the joints of sufferers making it the perfect ingredient for a nutrient-packed energy ball.

Sour cherries have been found to have a higher antioxidant content per serving than well-known antioxidants like red wine and chocolate. Sour cherries are packed with anthocyanins which are responsible for the rich, enticing color in many fruits and berries. These anthocyanins have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, so sour cherries not only provide great color and sour flavor to the energy balls, but they pack a punch in terms of their health benefits too.

Some nuts like walnuts and cashews have specific health benefits and that, along with their satisfying crunch, is why they are included in the Death Star energy balls. Walnuts specifically have been shown to help with rheumatoid arthritis by reducing the inflammation in the joints that causes pain and stiffness.

Makes: 20 balls
Prep time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sour cherries
  • 2 cups dried figs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add all the ingredients apart from the desiccated coconut and cocoa powder in a food processor and blend into a dough with some chunky pieces left for texture.
  2. Mix the desiccated coconut and cocoa powder in a bowl.
  3. Roll the mixture into balls and add the coconut and cocoa mix and cover evenly.
  4. Make an imprint on one side with your thumb to create the Death Star look.

If you want to know what foods will help you shape up and shed inches while providing a natural cure to illnesses, then click here to check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program.

Take care!

Rick Kaselj, MS