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A Tasty Vegan Dish for the Cholesterol-Careful Dieter

We had a lot of feedback on Christian’s article on Saturday about the different kinds of diets that are popular right now for people with cholesterol, heart disease / high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and other conditions.

Today we have a great recipe that includes some wonderful, fresh ingredients and can be tinkered with to fit all three diets, depending upon your goals and preferences.

Portabella Fiesta

You’ll need:

Two 8-inch corn tortillas (this is optional if you are going Paleolithic)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (optional if you are vegan)
1 portabella mushroom, sliced
Taco seasoning to taste (or just a pinch of cumin and cayenne pepper if you are eliminating salt…but throw in some diced garlic, too)
Garden salsa (I like the fresh stuff my friend makes, but the fresh ready-made variety in the produce aisle is also good.)
1 cup washed Baby spinach
1/4 cup iceberg or other lettuce
1Tb olive oil

Sautee the sliced mushroom in the olive oil for a few minutes over medium heat with the taco seasoning. Lightly brown the tortillas in a separate skillet. Layer the mushrooms and cheese (if using) between the tortillas. Chop up and toss together the spinach and lettuce and throw it over the tortilla layers. Top with the salsa.

This is actually a really filling lunch or dinner meal, and stands quite well on its own. But, if you want a little variety, throw on a side of black beans or some cottage cheese, depending upon what your diet goals are and which one you are following.

The filling options can be a great way to use up leftover chicken, pork or beef if you want more protein and aren’t vegan if you aren’t a mushroom person.

And, if mushrooms aren’t your thing but you don’t want meat, you can sautee some tofu with the taco seasoning. Or, mash some red beans up and use that with the seasoning as the filler.

Beans, tofu, eggplant and mushrooms are a great substitute for meat and they each are loaded with their own bounty of nutrients and healthy chemicals.

I use corn tortillas because I don’t want to do wheat anymore due to my IBS, and I kind of like the taste anyway. Plus, flour tortillas get a little drippy and gooey and the corn tortillas hold up a little better if your pico de gallo or garden salsa is watery.

If you are going Paleolithic, then the only thing you’d really leave out would be the tortillas and cheese, and then it’s more of a salad. But it’s still a nice way to liven up a restrictive diet without completely blowing your calorie allotment for the day.

I eat this dish several times in the week because I love the seasoning and my friend makes out-of-this world salsa. I just experiment with ground turkey, mushrooms, and other possible ingredients to keep it interesting.

For those with arthritis, an apple salad (chopped red and yellow apples bathed in lemon juice) and a sprinkle of freshly ground cinnamon is a great way to add antioxidants and a little sweetness to your fiber requirements as well, and it’s a nice compliment to the Portabella Fiesta flavors.

For more info on tackling various conditions using diet, exercises and herbal solutions, check out the links on the right hand side of this page.

Do you have ideas for substitutions and variations on this inexpensive and really fast meal idea? Leave your comment below and tell us what you love.

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