It’s January again, and the gym is rocking full as so many earnestly begin their New Year resolutions to lose weight and live more healthfully. Days are shorter and work seems harder after leisurely time off over Christmas. So friends ask me more often at this time of year, “How do you eat a good fast lunch at work?” and “How do you get a good dinner on the table fast after work and the kid’s team practices?”, as well as the standard “How do you manage to get enough protein not eating meat?” My answers are simple– cook ahead larger batches of simple whole foods with their own natural bright flavors. Keep basic staples in your cupboards and fridge. Include legumes, seeds and nuts in your diet daily. Try new ingredients, in new combos. Eat mostly local foods, in season, but allow yourself to enjoy too the occasional ingredient that may be from afar- or a season afar- if that makes your recipe pop. Enjoy!
After many days of winter root based soups, and potatoes or yams with dark greens combos, now that the sun is out and it’s clear and cold, I wanted something savory and bright…so decided to go to the Mediterranean for a sunny and heart healthy fava bean salad…
- 16 oz frozen fava beans
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large yellow pepper, chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 jar artichoke hearts
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 lemon
- 3/4 cup bulgur
- black pepper
- olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- feta cheese
Place bulgur in large casserole dish with lid. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil, then stir into bulgur, cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Drain off any residual water, fluff with fork. Place frozen fava beans into saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until beans feel soft and you can readily peel away the inner skin. Drain, rinse in cold water, then enjoy popping each bean out of its inner skin. Place a couple tablespoons olive oil into a large skillet, then saute the chopped onion until it starts to become translucent. Add garlic, chopped celery and peppers, also peeled fava beans and artichokes (first drain the artichokes, then rinse and drain again); stir all together as the peppers cook just enough to turn bright and begin to soften. Remove from heat. Add finely chopped fresh basil, bulgur, and juice of 1/2 squeezed lemon. Stir all together well, add black pepper to taste, also dress with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve warm or room temp for lunch at work, topped with feta cheese. Stores well in refrigerator in a casserole dish with airtight lid for several days.
My most favorite time of day is early morning, especially cool early mornings on hot
summer days when the sky is soft blue, and the leaves are gently swaying on the willow tree beyond my back deck. I love enjoying my coffee as the sun stretches its morning reach. Knowing it was going to be a hot day yesterday, while I made coffee I also essentially made dinner, simply by turning on the stovetop burner for 5 minutes– no residual heat in the house for me! Another favorite time of day for me is enjoying a homemade picnic outdoors, which is so easy to do with a recipe like this.
- 3/4 cup bulgur
- 1 cup peeled fava beans
- 2 medium size carrots, julienned
- 1 yellow pepper, chopped
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- fresh mint sprigs, diced
- 1 lemon, juice and pulp
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- plain European style yogurt topping or feta cheese, if desired to add more protein.
Place 3/4 bulgur in large glass bowl with lid, pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over it, stir well, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain any excess water. Using a small pan with lid, bring 1/2 cup water to boil, then reduce heat and steam fava beans for 4-5 minutes, until soft but not mushy. Drain, rinse in cool water, drain and set aside. Chop, dice and mince all remaining ingredients, using more garlic and mint as desired to add more heat and cool sweetness, respectively. Dress with squeezed lemon, and a little olive oil if desired. Stir all together well in airtight container with lid, then refrigerate. Tastes even better several hours after made as flavors meld.
Potlucks with BBQ and great local brews are a summer tradition… What to bring that would be simple to make, light fare for the hot weather but also substantial protein for vegetarians passing on the meats on the grill? Here’s what I brought on the 4th, and it disappeared fast!
summer potluck salad
- 1 pkg tempeh
- 1 can garbanzo beans, well rinsed
- 3/4 cup bulgur (or quinoa to serve gluten free folks too)
- 2-3 yellow medium-small summer squash (pattypan or crookneck), chopped
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped into ribbons
- 3-4 medium shallots, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- fresh lemon thyme, a few sprigs
- 1/4t salt
- lemon pepper to taste
Place bulgur in a large serving bowl with lid. Bring just a little more than 1 3/4 cup fresh water to a boil, pour over bulgur and stir well, then cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain off any residual water. Chop tempeh, then saute in large frying pan in 2T olive oil over medium heat stirring well for 2-3 minutes; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook til lightly browned- stirring frequently to prevent burning- about 5 more minutes. Rinse garbanzo beans well. After bulgur and tempeh have each been cooked, stir these three ingredients together in serving bowl.
Using same frying pan, add 2T olive oil and saute shallots for 2 min. Then add minced garlic, fresh lemon thyme and summer squash, stir well and saute for 2 min over medium heat, then add 2T water, reduce heat and cover to simmer for about 2-3 minutes, until squash is bright in color and soft but not mushy. Add this to serving dish. Reusing same frying pan, saute chopped kale for 2 min, add 1-2T water, and cover to simmer for about 3 min, until kale is bright in color and wilted but not mushy. Add this to serving dish. Season with 1/4t salt and lemon pepper to taste. Stir all together well, cover and refrigerate– keeps well for 3-4 days. It is great served warm, room temp, or cold.