Cook and Learn with Otamot

by Rebecca Jaspan, MPH, RD, CDN, CDCES

Recently, I had the pleasure of spending a night cooking and learning with fellow dietitians and Otamot.  I first learned about Otamot at the 2019 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo and have been a fan ever since.  Otamot is a veggie-packed tomato sauce that founder, Andrew, created by accident when trying to get his daughter to eat more vegetables.  The sauce contains 9 vegetables and 13 vitamins and minerals in addition to significantly more fiber than the traditional jarred tomato sauce.  As I learned during the event, Otamot can be used in a variety of delicious and nutritious ways.  I cooked along with the presenters as we made a winter white bean chili and tomato flaxseed crackers while learning about ways to create a nutritionally complete plant- based diet. 

Plant-based diets have become increasingly more common due to health and environmental reasons.  Even many athletes are shifting more plant-based due to its cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits.  While at first going plant-based may sound difficult, a carefully planned plant-based diet can include all essential nutrients with little supplementation.  Consulting with a registered dietitian to ensure you are getting everything you need may be helpful.

Nutrients of concern in a plant-based diet are Vitamin D, calcium, B12, iron, and zinc, vitamins and minerals which are mainly found in meat and dairy products.  As demonstrated by the chili and crackers, it is possible to consume all of these nutrients through food on a plant-based diet. 

Vitamin D and calcium are imperative nutrients for the building of bone.  Athletes need to be extra mindful of these nutrients as to not break down their bones through the stress put on them during activity.  While Vitamin D is found in dairy products, plant-based sources include mushrooms, fortified soy milk, cereals, orange juice, almond milk, and rice milk.  When these foods are eaten with a source of fat such as olive oil, avocado, or nuts and seeds, the Vitamin D is absorbed even more readily.  Calcium is also found most prominently in dairy, but is found in many plant-based sources as well.  Soybeans, beans, peas, lentils, leafy green vegetables, some nuts and seeds contain calcium. 

For vegans, B12 is one of the hardest nutrients to consume as it is mainly found in meat and dairy foods.  B12 is found in nutritional yeast, fortified plant milk, tempeh, and fortified breakfast cereals.  While zinc is found in more variety of foods, many Americans are deficient.  Plant-based sources of zinc include tofu, hemp seeds, chia seeds, lentils, oatmeal, quinoa, spinach, and avocados, to name a few.  In the chili and cracker recipes, they were chock full of high zinc ingredients such as flax and chia seeds and white beans. 

You may know that the most iron-rich food is red meat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it from vegetarian and vegan foods.  Iron is found in tofu, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds, and some vegetables.  When these foods are combined with foods high in Vitamin C, the iron is better absorbed.  In these recipes, peppers and tomatoes high in Vitamin C are combined with white beans in the chili and tomato sauce was combined with seeds in the cracker to ensure these recipes are good sources of plant-based iron. 

Check out the recipes for the winter white bean chili and tomato flaxseed crackers made with Otamot tomato sauce and you just might get hooked on including more plant-based recipes in your diets!


Winter White Bean Chili


Serves 4
Ingredients
 1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced, ¼ cup reserved for garnish
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika, preferably smoked
1 chipotle pepper plus 1-2 tsp of sauce adobo sauce
1 red/orange/yellow bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced (optional)
1½ cups Otamot Organic Essential Sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
2 15-ounce cans no salt added white beans, drained and rinsed

OPTIONAL
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 avocado (optional)
¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)

1 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until
    they begin to caramelize, about 5-7 minutes.  Turn down the heat to low, add the garlic, chili
    powder, cumin and paprika and sauté until the mixture is fragrant, 1-2 minutes more.
  2. Finely chop one chipotle pepper and add to pot with 1-2 tsp of the adobo sauce from the
    can, the diced bell peppers and the Otamot Organic Essential Sauce.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, water, and white beans to the pot, and season with kosher salt and
    black pepper to taste.  Increase the heat to bring the chili up to a boil then reduce heat to low. 
    Simmer for 30-45 minutes to allow all the flavors to blend together.
  4. Serve the chili in bowls and garnish with Otamot Nut & Seed Crackers, diced onion,
    yogurt/sour cream, diced avocado, chopped cilantro (if using), and freshly cracked black
    pepper.

Tomato Flaxseed Crackers


Serves 4

Ingredients
1 cup almond flour
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp hempseed
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¼ cup Otamot Organic Essential Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and stir until well combined.
    3. Add the Otamot Organic Essential Sauce, olive oil, and continue to stir until a thick dough
    comes together.
    4. Lay the dough onto a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface, and cover with a second
    piece of parchment.  Press the dough out flat with your hands, then spread with a rolling pin
    until roughly an ⅛ inch thick.
  3. Remove the top piece of parchment and bake on a sheet pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes,
    or until the cracker is golden brown and crispy.
  4. Allow to cool and break into bite size pieces.


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