Watch Now: Cooking for Cancer Patients: Hummus, Kale and Lentils

Cancer has touched my family: My brother has prostate cancer; my mother has melanoma, and my youngest brother died at age 53 of cancer. This disease is one that my family has learned to live with, and I am committed to using our experience to “pay it forward.”

Therefore, it was an honor and a privilege for me to provide a food demonstration during a Baptist Health lecture series for cancer survivors and their family members. Watching the participants come in with concern and anxiety, then leave with excitement and hope, was one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced during my 22 years at Baptist Hospital.

I put together a display of assorted-colored vegetables that are high in “phytochemicals” or antioxidants, which promote the prevention and treatment of many health conditions, including cancer. A diverse and colorful selection of fresh vegetables can provide a good dose of health. Here’s the link to the first half of my demonstration.

In the second installment, I feature a few dishes packed with plenty of plant-based protein. Remember: Protein helps to grow and repair our body tissue, while boosting our immune system, according to cancer specialists.

“After surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, extra protein is usually needed to heal tissues and help fight infection,” according to the American Cancer Society. “Good sources of protein include fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy products, nuts and nut butters, dried beans, peas and lentils, and soy foods.”

To me, food can be a dose of good health to strengthen us as we face all of life’s challenges. A few recipes are below:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


  • 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
  • 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoon of roasted or sautéed red pepper


1. Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor.

3. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas.

4. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

5. Garnish with cilantro.

6. Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.

Black Lentils and Massaged Kale Salad


8 Servings, 1 cup each


  • 8 oz. lentils (black, red or brown)
  • 2 cups – chicken stock or lightly salted water
  • 2 bunches – baby or regular kale, cleaned and removed from ribs
  • 2 small lemons, juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 anchovy filets
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


1. In a rice cooker or stovetop pan, add lentils and stock.

2. Cook covered for 22 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, transfer to a container, and set aside to cool.

3. Place kale in a large bowl, and begin to work over with hands:  tearing into smaller pieces and massaging until kale becomes dark in color and is in tender, bite-sized pieces.

4. To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, anchovies, garlic, Tabasco, olive oil, salt and pepper. Puree with an immersion blender or food processor until thickened and well blended.

5. In a large bowl, toss together lentils, kale, dressing and Parmesan cheese, and serve at room temperature.


Stan Hodes is the executive chef and operations manager of Dining Services at Baptist Hospital of Miami, a position he has held for 22 years. Chef Hodes has worked as an executive sous chef with Marriott Hotels, Orlando World Center and the Casa Magna Resort in Cancun, Mexico. He has been the executive chef at Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Pan American Airlines, Marriott Inflight division and Kings Bay Country Club. After graduating from high school in Mallorca, Spain, he received a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and hotel management from Bournemouth College in England. Chef Stan earned a “Premier’s Illuminating Excellence” Award, for Premier’s Food service program in 2008. In 2009, he was recognized by HealthLeaders magazine as one of the top 20 most innovative Food Service Executives in America. He is a member of Premier’s culinary committee, designing healthy food programs for hospitals, schools, colleges and universities.


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