The CHFA Trade Show-Part 2: the food products and a quick pasta recipe

As I mentioned in my last post on the Canadian Health Food Association Trade Show, CHFA East –making the connection, I did make some fabulous food finds as I ventured through the exhibits.

Coconut  products were among the most popular and a definite trends in natural food offerings.  Firstly coconut oil was everywhere – if it was not displayed on its own, it was mentioned repeatedly by various exhibitors when describing the ingredients in their products. In fact, judging by their presence, all kinds of coconut products are hot –even coconut vinegar, sugar and water.

Not surprisingly, gluten-free, organic, GMO-free  and vegetarian options were also front and centre as were  convenience products,  especially prepared Indian dishes. You know when Vikram Vij, the Vancouver chef of the popular Vij’s, is there himself personally  doling out samples of his new frozen food product line, Vij’s At Home, the natural food market is a growing one. I loved his Curried Chick Peas but at 830 milligrams of sodium per serving, it’s not one I would recommend.

Here are a few notable offerings from the show:

•    Hot Mamas Gourmet Jellies and Sauces, on the other hand, are bringing low sodium condiments, such as Mango, Mango and Cranberry Pepper BBQ sauces, to sodium smart consumers.

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•    If you’re a seaweed or sushi fan,  Sea Veggies Seaweed Snacks, in individual portions, are irresistible. And with only 40 calories a bag, it’s a great munch to have around.

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•    For a crunchy gluten-free whole grain crackers, try Enerjive Quinoa Crispy Thins which come in a variety of flavours, either savoury or sweet ( including Rock Salt, Garlic Cayenne, Chocolate FIX! and Orange Apricot Zing). The crackers are packed with nutrient-rich ingredients such as millet flour, buckwheat flour, quinoa flakes, pumpkins seeds, sunflower seeds, and ground flaxseeds.

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•    Cookin’ Greens™ by The Toby Brand™  was one of my best finds at the show. It’s a line of dark-leafy greens that are farm picked and within six hours, double-washed, double blanched, chopped and quick-frozen. They’re not your ordinary frozen varieties. Instead you can buy frozen kale, collards, rapini or mixes with an assortment including white beans. They’re definitely healthy eating convenience stepped up a notch.

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Here’s a speedy pasta dish adapted from Cookin’ Greens.

Cookin’ Greens Everyday Pasta Recipe

Approximately 3-4 servings

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½ cup (125 ml) small uncooked pasta/whole grain
2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 medium finely chopped garlic cloves
½ cup (125 ml) thinly sliced onion
¼ cup (50 ml) sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 14oz (398 ml) canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
(or use dried and prepare according to package directions)
2 cups (200 g) Cookin’ Greens Kale, Rapini, Designer’s Mix or Athlete’s Mix
¼ cup (50 ml) freshly grated parmesan cheese
Cook pasta /whole grains according to package instructions.

Heat oil in large frying pan. Add garlic, stir for 30 seconds. Add onion, stir for 3 minutes, medium heat.
Add tomatoes, chickpeas and Cookin’ Greens Kale, Rapini, Designer’s Mix or Athlete’s Mix; simmer
for 5 minutes.

Add pasta and cheese. Stir. Cook for 3 minutes and serve.

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Do you use frozen vegetables? If not, why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Recipes, Superfoods

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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