In Rebecca Katz’s new and revised edition of her award-winning cookbook, The Cancer Fighting Kitchen, she not only introduces more than a dozen new recipes, she also offers information on the latest research, showing how creating a healthy internal environment is the best defense against cancer and cancer cell growth.
Easy to prepare recipes are designed for everyone from patients needing a nutritional boost to mothers looking to help boost their children’s immune systems. The cancer-fighting food list is immense, not only including the known heavy-hitters, but also lesser known anti-inflammatories like cantaloupe, cashews, and even cardamom.
I was particularly impressed with the recipes for specific side-effects, helping to negate symptoms of anemia, blood sugar regulation, fatigue and nausea. My go-to in this book is the Chicken Magic Mineral Broth, rich in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, that can be added to half a dozen other dishes in the book. You’ll find entrees, side dishes, veggie-heavy meals, protein-enriched meals as well as sweet treats, tonics and more.
With Rebecca’s background as the founder of Healing Kitchens, a company that helps people translate science into nutritional meals, and the author of the Longevity Kitchen and the Healthy Mind Cookbook, she makes cooking and eating well less of a chore and more of a healing commitment to one’s well-being. Learn more about Rebecca at RebeccaKatz.com. Here are two of our favorites from her book.
Reprinted with permission from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen 2nd Edition, copyright by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2009, 2017 by Leo Gong
You never know when hunger will strike, but when it does, take advantage of those moments to nourish yourself. That’s the whole idea behind these Anytime Bars. My clients often take these portable packets of pleasure to chemo sessions. Many people actually want to eat during a treatment, and these bars are delicious, healthy alternatives to the bowls of sweets often found around infusion centers. You can change the ingredients in this recipe to fit your taste preferences. Split the batter and make half with currant and cranberries and the other half with walnuts or whatever you’d like. These bars come together very quickly with a food processor, but if you don’t have one, hand-chopping the fruit and nuts works well.
MAKES: 25 bars
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
1 cup raw pecan halves
1 cup whole raw almonds
4 tablespoons brown rice flour or gluten-free flour mix, or coconut flour
2 tablespoons finely ground flaxseeds
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄8 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄8 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup pitted dates (preferably Medjool), quartered
1 cup unsulfured dried apricots, cut in half
1 organic egg
5 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan.
Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and toast for 7 to 10 minutes, until aromatic and slightly browned. Watch them carefully, as they can burn easily. Repeat this process for the almonds. Turn down the oven to 325°F.
Combine the flour, flaxseeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a food processor and process for 5 seconds to combine. Add the pecans and almonds and pulse 5 times to coarsely chop the nuts. Add the oats, dates, and apricots and pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is well chopped but still coarse.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Add the fruit and nut mixture and use your hands to mix thoroughly, being sure to separate any clumps of fruit. Spread the mixture in the oiled baking pan in an even layer and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set and golden brown; don’t overbake, or the bars will be too dry. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then cut into 25 squares. Leave the bars in the pan until completely cool so they’ll hold together when you remove them.
VARIATIONS: When it comes to changing up the mixture, the only limit is your imagination. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Use walnuts instead of pecans.
Add 1⁄4 cup dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins, or currants when mixing together at the end.
Add 1 tablespoon of grated orange zest when mixing together at the end.
Add 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds when mixing together at the end.
Add 1⁄4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut when mixing together at the end.
COOK’S NOTE: While oats don’t contain gluten, they’re often processed alongside wheat, so if your sensitivity to gluten is extreme, be sure to use Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats (see Resources, page 211).
STORAGE: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for 2 months.
PER SERVING: Calories: 120; Total Fat: 6.5 g (0.6 g saturated, 3.7 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 14 g; Protein: 2 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 35 mg
Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers
These chickpea burgers are similar to a Middle Eastern falafel. This isn’t like the Americanized version of falafel that resembles carnival food deep-fried in some unhealthy oil. That’s a culinary crime, because falafel done right is so delicious and nutritious. It’s all in the blend. Here the secret ingredient is basmati rice, which holds the chickpea mixture together and creates a complete protein. I love the mini-burger concept; the whole wheat bun is like putting falafel in a top hat and tails, perfect for folks who like the taste of beans when they’re broken down and combined with heady herbs and spices. Gently pan-seared or baked, these burgers are bountiful bites of health, especially topped with a dollop of Tomato Mint Chutney (page 173).
MAKES: 17 patties
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 25 minutes
2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained, rinsed, and mixed with a spritz of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 organic egg, beaten
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1⁄2 cups cooked brown basmati rice
3 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
1⁄4 cup loosely packed minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the chickpeas, salt, turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, egg, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth and well combined, scraping the sides occasionally. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the rice, bell pepper, and parsley.
Moisten your hands to keep the mixture from sticking, then shape the mixture into 1⁄4-inch-thick patties about 21⁄2 inches in diameter. Place them on the prepared pan and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the patties start to get dry and crisp on the outside. They will firm up as they cool.
VARIATIONS: For a crispy burger, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the patties for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. For a vegan burger, substitute 1 tablespoon tahini for the egg.
COOK’S NOTE: If you want to cook just a few patties, pop them in your toaster oven. To freeze these burgers, either cooked or uncooked, stack them up with parchment paper between the burgers, then wrap first in plastic wrap, then in foil. The parchment paper makes it easy to remove the desired number of burgers from the bundle. Once thawed, cooked burgers can be reheated at 350°F for 15 minutes, and uncooked burgers can be baked as directed here, at 375°F for 22 to 25 minutes.
STORAGE: Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Burgers can also be frozen in cooked or uncooked form for 2 months (see Cook’s Note).
PER SERVING: Calories: 100; Total Fat: 3.5 g (0.5 g saturated, 2 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 15 g; Protein: 3 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sodium: 223 mg
With her love of health and writing, Melissa has written for such publications as Shape, Natural Solutions, Yoga Journal, Self and Pilates Style, and has created recipes and food-oriented stories for such publications as Delicious Living and Cooking Light.