March 16, 2010

three healthy (veggie) dishes

From English trifle to... brussells sprouts? Not as far-fetched as you think. After all, being pregnant means you crave all kinds of weird things but most of all, it's important to eat a healthy diet and wide variety of things. So lately, my sweet man has been looking up healthy recipes and stepping up his weeknight cooking and I couldn't be happier. If it were up to me some nights, I'd eat pickles and ice cream and throw in some popcorn for good measure. Not my usual fare, I know, but like I said, your relationship with food takes on a whole new meaning when you've got a bun in the oven.

So, here are three really good dishes we tried recently, one of which is an old standby of mine, and two were newly found recipes.

The first one comes from one of our favorite cookbooks: The Silver Spoon, Italy's version of the Joy of Cooking. It's 1200-page tome that will make your head spin but it's also organized extremely well by ingredient and color coded with each recipe only a few lines long. Very simple and very user-friendly (read: perfect for baby daddys-in-training). It was easy, very healthy and very tasty.

garbanzo bean and spinach soup (adapted from The Silver Spoon)

5 cups veg., meat or chicken stock (pref homemade, but low-sodium if not)
2 T olive oil plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup canned or dried and cooked garbanzo beans
1 cup whole wheat soup pasta (elbows or other small pasta)
salt and pepper

Bring the stock to boil in a pan. Heat oil in another pan, add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened. Add the spinach, season with salt and cook for a few minutes more. Add the garbanzo beans and stock and simmer for 20-30 min. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Season with pepper, drizzle with olive oil and serve. (Also great sprinkled with fresh grated parmigiano before serving).

The second recipe is my version of Italian style brussells sprouts. The only thing that makes them Italian is the parmesan cheese, which could be left out if you prefer. I love brussells sprouts and they happen to have protein, folic acid, lots of Vitamin D and A and are just plain good for you. So we cooked them up to go along with the garbanzo bean and spinach soup and they were a deliciously crunchy side dish alongside the steamy soup.

Brussells sprouts my way

1 lb of brussells sprouts
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
fresh-grated parmigiano cheese
salt and pepper

Prepare a pound of brussells sprouts by washing and cutting them in half lengthwise. Then heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet. (you could make these healthier by omitting the butter, but the butter really is what makes them so delicious). Place the b.s. cut side down in the hot butter-oil mixture, turn up the heat and let them get nice and brown, for about 5-7 min. When they are brown on one side, add a splash of water to the pan just to steam them through, put the lid on the pan and cook gently until tender, but not soft, when pierced with a fork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and freshly grated parmigiano and serve them while piping hot.

stir fried tofu with red cabbage and butternut squash

The final healthy dish we loved was from Martha Rose Shulman's "Recipes for Health" series in the New York Times. My midwife said I should be getting more protein since I don't eat a lot of meat. So we looked for protein-rich foods and found this recipe in the Fitness and Nutrition section of the Times (a great resource for simple, healthy recipes). This is definitely a dish we'll return to and it could be modified in lots of ways. The recipe says to serve with grains or noodles and we chose red quinoa for it's protein-richness and nutty taste.

But the next day I ate some leftovers served over soba noodles and it was equally tasty. A bright and colorful dish that packs a lot of nutrients and tastes great. What more could you need? The recipe? Here it is.


  1. Such beautiful, soul warming dishes! Like you, I love brussell sprouts, and have found great success with browning the edges and adding just a bit more butter than probably healthy. ;-)