Here are two recipes that follow the principles of a fertility-enhancing diet. You can see them, and many others, in The Fertility Diet, a Harvard Health book by Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Walter C. Willett, M.D., and Patrick J. Skerrett.
Creamy Parsnip–Carrot Soup
With 90 micrograms of folate per cup, parsnips are a rich source of this important vitamin. Combining parsnips with carrots, celery, and a bit of potato tames the sweetness of this root vegetable and makes for a thick savory soup. Each main dish serving of soup contains one cup of whole milk.
1 1-ounce slice whole-grain bread
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
½ teaspoon salt, divided
1½ cups peeled, chopped parsnips (about 4 ounces)
1 cup peeled, diced carrot
½ cup peeled, chopped potato
4 cups whole milk
½ cup vegetable broth
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
¾ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- Place the bread in a mini-chopper or blender and pulse until the bread becomes evenly crumbly. Set the bread crumbs aside.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add half of the garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the bread crumbs and continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are toasted. Remove the bread crumbs to a plate.
- Wipe the pan with a paper towel and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the onion and celery and sauté over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the remaining garlic and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook 30 seconds. Add the parsnips, carrots, potato, milk, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 24 to 28 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the pepper and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and cook 1 minute.
- Place the hot soup, parsley, and thyme in a blender; blend, with the lid partially open so that steam can escape, until pureed. Return to the pot to keep warm. Just before serving, stir in lemon zest and lemon juice. Spoon soup into bowls, garnish with pine nuts and bread crumbs, and serve.
Yield: 4 1½-cup servings
Nutrition information: Calories: 333; protein: 12 grams (g); carbohydrate: 39 g; fiber: 5 g; sodium: 564 mg; fat: 16 g (saturated: 6.4 g; monounsaturated: 6.1 g; polyunsaturated: 2.3 g; trans: 0.3 g); cholesterol: 34 milligrams (mg); folate: 82 micrograms; iron: 2 mg
Fresh Corn and Cheddar Soufflé
Serve this soufflé for breakfast or as a light supper. Any leftovers can be easily reheated for another meal. Just keep in mind that each serving delivers a half-cup serving of whole milk and a half-ounce of full-fat cheese.
1½ teaspoons olive oil, divided
½ cup chopped red onion
½ teaspoon salt, divided
3 cups fresh white sweet corn kernels (about 4 ears)
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 tablespoons whole-grain cornmeal
2 tablespoons all-purpose fl our
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 ounces extra sharp shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil or thyme
1 tablespoon oil-packed sun-dried tomato pieces, drained and finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat; add ½ teaspoon of the oil and heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Stir in ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Remove from heat.
- Place 1 cup of the corn in a blender or food processor; process until pureed. Stir the pureed corn into the onion mixture along with the milk, egg yolks, cornmeal, fl our, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper.
- Place the egg whites in a bowl; add the cream of tartar and beat with a mixer at high speed, until stiff peaks form. Carefully stir one-third of the egg white mixture into the corn mixture. Fold in the remaining egg white mixture, cheese, basil or thyme, and sundried tomatoes. Coat an 11″ x 7″ baking dish with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and spoon in the mixture. Bake at 375°F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until puffy and set.
- Cut into 8 squares and serve.
Yield: 4 2-square servings
Nutrition information: Calories: 287; protein: 15 g; carbohydrate: 31 g; fiber: 4 g; sodium: 477 mg; fat: 13 g (saturated: 5 g; monounsaturated: 5.1 g; polyunsaturated: 1.8 g; trans: 0 g); cholesterol: 226 mg; folate: 93 mcg; iron: 2 mg