Arthritis Today

Food Duos

Paired with the right partners, certain foods can do a body better. Here are 3 healthy and simple dynamic duo recipes.


Pairing foods is an easy and delicious way to improve your diet and your health. When combined, many nutrients have a synergistic effect, says Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian and assistant clinical professor of nutrition at Boston University. The key is to pair the right partners.

In our quick weeknight recipes, salmon and broccoli are roasted together to help the body build strong bones, and salsa and avocado team up to reduce the risk of cancer and increase immunity. For a powerful and special combo packed with phytochemicals that reduce the risk of a variety of diseases (from heart disease to cancer), toss apples and cranberries together and pile them into a country-style tart – no crimping or peeling required! Consuming apples and cranberries together also makes the antioxidants in both more active.

Roasted Soy-Ginger Salmon and Broccoli

Simply steamed, we’ll admit broccoli can get a little boring. But spiked with a mixture of soy sauce, grated ginger, and sesame oil, and roasted in a hot oven, it’s sensational. Add some salmon, and you’ve got a quick, healthy dinner, all baked in the same pan.

Ask your fishmonger to cut your salmon from the head end of the fish; it’s usually more uniformly thick there, so all your pieces will cook at the same rate.

Time: 5 minutes active time

Makes: 2 servings (doubles easily)

3/4 pound salmon (about 1” to 1 1/2” thick, cut into 2 roughly equal pieces)

2 cups big broccoli florets (the bagged kind works well)

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the salmon (skin side down) and broccoli in a small, heavy baking pan or pie dish, snuggling all the pieces close together but not quite touching. Whisk the remaining ingredients to blend in a small bowl, and drizzle evenly over the broccoli and salmon. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the broccoli is tinged with brown and small white beads of fat (that’s the good stuff!) begin to appear on the surface of the fish. Serve immediately.

Easy Black Bean and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Made faster with jarred salsa, these enchiladas burst with the flavor of tangy goat cheese and creamy avocados – but with no heavy cheese crust, they’re much healthier than the traditional version. Take the time to soften the tortillas, as instructed. It makes the rolling process much easier.

Note: You can use mild, medium, or hot salsa here (your preference), but smoother varieties of salsa work best.

Time: 20 minutes active time

Makes: 4 servings

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 (12-ounce) jars salsa

1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped into 1/2” pieces

8 corn tortillas

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Blend the beans, 3 ounces of the goat cheese, 1/2 cup of the salsa, and about 3/4 of the avocado pieces in a mixing bowl until creamy, and set aside. Wrap the tortillas in a damp cloth and microwave on high for 1 minute (or wrap cloth in foil and heat in the oven for 5 minutes) to make them more pliable.

Pour about a cup of the salsa into a wide, shallow bowl, and spread another cup or so on the bottom of a 7” by 11” (or similar) baking dish. Dip one tortilla into the bowl of salsa on both sides, add about 1/4 cup filling at one end, wrap the tortilla around the filling, and place it in the baking dish, seam side-down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. Spread the remaining salsa (what’s left in the jars and in the bowl) over the enchiladas, spreading it to the edges of the tortillas, and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling. Scatter the remaining goat cheese, avocado, and chopped cilantro on top, and serve hot.

Rustic Apple-Cranberry Galette

This country-style galette – really an open-faced apple-cranberry pie – takes about half the time and effort of a whole pie, with equally satisfying results. There’s no fussy crimping or peeling involved, and the dough is made in a food processor, so it’s a bit easier on sore joints. Try it with a dollop of Greek yogurt!

The mixture of all-purpose and whole-wheat flours makes a great nutty-tasting crust, but you can use all regular flour, if you prefer.

Time: 30 minutes active time

Makes: 6 servings

For the dough:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

Pinch salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

2 medium tart apples, cored and cut into 1/2” pieces

1 cup cranberries (frozen is OK)

1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse the flours and salt a few times to blend. Break the butter up as you add it to the flour, then pulse about 20 times, until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the water through the top of the machine one tablespoon at a time, pulsing as you go, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (The dough is wet enough when it clumps together when you press a bit of it together between your fingers.)

Dump the dough onto a 1’ square of parchment paper or waxed paper, and pat the dough into a roughly 6” disc. Fold the paper over the dough and chill for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Stir all the filling ingredients together (reserving 1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling) until blended in a mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Fill a small bowl with a few tablespoons of water, and set aside.

Remove the dough from its wrapping, and roll into a roughly 13” round on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. (You may need to wait a few minutes until the dough is soft enough to roll. And don’t worry – the beauty of a galette is that it doesn’t matter if it’s perfectly round.) Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, and dump the fruit into the center, patting it a little flatter but leaving a roughly 2” border around the edges.

Working in one direction, fold a 3” or 4” section of the dough up and over the fruit. Fold up the next section, so the two pieces of dough overlap a bit. Dip two fingers into the water, and dab them between the two layers of dough to help them stick together. (You can press them together gently with your fingers, if you’d like.) Repeat all the way around the galette. Sprinkle the crust with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the cranberries have started to burst.

Cool the galette on the pan for at least 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate or cutting board to serve: first, slide the galette on the parchment paper to the plate, then pull the par