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  • Food As Medicine: Chef Herb’s Tomato Gazpacho and Kale and Quinoa Salad

    A dish of yellow tomato soup with a green basil leaf on top and a dish of salad with green kale leaves, red beans, purple onion, chickpeas, and chopped red pepper.

    Photo courtesy of the University of the District of Columbia

    Chef Herb Holden firmly believes in the concept of “food as medicine.” As a chef and educator at the University of the District of Columbia’s Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health, Holden focuses on spreading nutrition knowledge through cooking classes and demonstrations across Washington, D.C. By engaging community members in discussions about health and diet and teaching them practical cooking skills, he strives to improve multiple dimensions of community wellness.

    The Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health is part of the university’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences. CAUSES offers research-based academic and community outreach programs that improve quality of life and economic opportunity for people and communities in the District of Columbia and beyond. This summer, they are one of the partner organizations with the 2022 Festival’s Earth Optimism × Folklife program.

    On June 25 and June 26 at 2 p.m. in the Festival Foodways demonstration kitchen, Holden will walk visitors through the process of making his tomato gazpacho and kale and quinoa salad. These two easy, satisfying, and nutritious dishes highlight fresh, in-season produce, and the chef will share his tips for cooking with vegetables.

    A man with a black hat, embroidered with the name Chef Herb, and black chef's jacket, embroidered with the name Chef Holden, smiles while holding yellow, orange, and red peppers.
    Photo courtesy of the University of the District of Columbia

    Tomato Gazpacho

    By Chef Herb Holden

    Serves 4


    2 pounds tomatoes (3 very large)
    1/2 yellow bell pepper
    1 medium cucumber, peeled
    1 small sweet onion (about 1/4 cup)
    1 clove garlic, whole
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/4 cup olive oil
    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


    Cut tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion, and garlic into chunks.

    Working in batches, if necessary, purée vegetables in a blender until very smooth.

    Add olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a generous grind of pepper, and blend again.

    Transfer mixture to a food mill set over a large bowl and use the mill to strain out seeds and skins. Extract as much pulp and flavor as possible. Use a spoon to press on the solids.

    Add the sugar and taste. Adjust seasonings if needed. Chill before serving.

    Serve with hard-crusted bread if desired.

    Square plate of green salad with beans, chickpeas, purple onion, and chopped red pepper.
    Photo courtesy of the University of the District of Columbia

    Kale and Quinoa Salad

    By Chef Herb Holden


    1 cup quinoa
    1 1/4 cups boiling water

    1 red bell pepper, diced
    12 ounces canned black beans or black soybeans, drained
    12 ounces sweet corn kernels, canned or frozen
    1 medium bunch kale (or collards or spinach), trimmed, separated from stalk (save stalks for another dish), sliced into very thin lengths of less than 1”
    1 small onion, diced
    1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
    2–3 limes, juiced
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1 1/2 teaspoon adobo seasoning can substitute the salt and pepper (optional)
    2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)


    Quinoa cooking instructions: add 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/4 cups of boiling water. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes. Turn off heat, let stand for 5 minutes, and fluff.
    Defrost corn if using frozen kernels.

    Combine the quinoa, beans, corn, and kale. Add the red bell pepper, onion, olive oil, white wine vinegar, lime juice, salt, sugar, black pepper, and combine.

    Add or substitute optional ingredients as appropriate.

    Katie Reuther is the 2022 Festival foodways intern and a food studies graduate student interested in the intersection of food, culture, and identity.

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