Swap out the deep fried or nacho cheese filled snacks for something heartier and healthier on Super Bowl Sunday | VailDaily.com

Swap out the deep fried or nacho cheese filled snacks for something heartier and healthier on Super Bowl Sunday

By Tracy Miller

Long ago, on the coast of Spain, fisherman created a nut and pepper sauce called Romesco to eat with their fresh catches. There are many varieties of this sauce customized to each fishing home or port with the standard consisting of roasted red peppers and almonds.

In modern time, in the mountains of Colorado, as we plan our Super Bowl menus, I thought I would share my very Americanized version of Romesco sauce and beef it up with roast beef and gluten. These sandwiches are packed with flavor and hearty enough to keep you going through the game with all its ups and downs.

The good, the bad and the ugly are ways to describe roast beef, especially deli sliced meat that has been processed. As a rule of thumb, try to stay away from too much deli meat, it is high in fat, calories and cholesterol. The convenience and flavor of sliced meat is delicious and a serving size for meat is 3 ounces. Three ounces of sliced roast beef has about 5 grams of fat and 144 calories, it’s high in protein and vitamins B6 and 12, which helps your body get energy from food and keeps nerves and red blood cells healthy. There is a lot of potassium and iron in roast beef as well.

The sauce is packed with red peppers and almonds and these ingredients burst with flavor and texture. Red peppers have a ton of vitamin C and help boost immunity and fight diseases. The red pepper starts off as a green pepper but is allowed to ripen on the vine, creating a red hue, a sweet flavor, a more expensive bell pepper and a pepper packed with more vitamin C than its younger green version. Conventional bell peppers rank high on the pesticide list so buy organic when possible. Look for a non-wrinkly, heavy pepper for best crunch and flavor.

The peppers are roasted in this recipe and you can buy them in a jar already roasted or roast them yourself. I once taught a cooking class at the Vail Fire Department and the guy tasked with roasting and peeling the peppers would probably suggest purchasing them in the jar, it is much easier. To roast them yourself, char each side on a hot grill, place the warm peppers in a bowl, covered with saran wrap and allow the burnt skin to sweat and pull off, then peel.

Almonds are full of nutrients and I buy raw almonds in bulk because they are healthy and are a sweet, crunchy snack. Raw whole almonds will stay fresh for a year in a cool, dry place (mine are in the freezer) if you can keep them for that long. If you buy slivered or sliced almonds, the shelf life is lower as with any pre-cut nut. Almonds are high in unsaturated fats, vitamin E, protein and fiber. The U.S. National Library of Medicine (pubmed.gov) says, “We believe that almonds and almond skins possess potential prebiotic properties.” They are a healthy addition to any diet.

Research also shows that socializing adds years to your life, so enjoy the Super Bowl and all of the good food that goes along with it.

Roast beef sandwich with red pepper sauce
2 pounds sliced roast beef
8 ounces thinly sliced dill pickles
10 ounces spinach
8 large ciabatta buns

Red pepper sauce
1 and 1/2 cups roasted red peppers
1 cup whole almonds
1 tablespoon garlic
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a food processor, blend all sauce ingredients until well combined but still chunky. Assemble sandwiches by placing 1 tablespoon red pepper sauce on each side of bread. Add 4 ounces roast beef, 1 ounce pickles and spinach leaves, close and cut in half or quarters using toothpicks to hold closed. Makes eight small sandwiches.

Tracy Miller is a personal chef and caterer focusing on health and longevity by adding fruits and vegetables to all menus. Log onto ColorfulCooking.com or email Tracy@colorfulcooking.com.