…the more you eat, the better for you, and the planet. A bit ago I ran across an article that was extolling the virtues of increasing bean consumption and reducing intake of red meat. Most of us at this point know about the health benefits of keeping meals of lean red meat to only once or twice a week at the most. Increasingly, however, it is being talked about as a choice for the planet,as well. Raising livestock for food contributes to environmental troubles in various ways, including increased methane, forest clear cutting, and transportation resources. Reducing consumption and/or switching to small production, local, grass fed beef can have a positive impact.
Though my family does not follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, I see the appeal and benefit and we do try to limit our meat intake. For boosting protein intake as well as satiety and overall nutrition, I try to cook with beans as often as my family will put up with. Lentils, garbanzos, black, white – we love them all. It is hard to pick a favorite bean dish, but today I choose to share one way I love to prepare black eyed peas. If you want to up the bean level in your life, this is a good start.
Black-Eyed Peas With Tomatoes and Capers
1 small onion, diced
4 large tomatoes (one 28 oz can if making this off season)
2 cans black eyed peas, drained mostly but not totally
2 tsps dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh
2 tbsps capers
2 cups of your favorite cooked grain/grain-like food
Heat a skillet over medium and coat lightly with olive oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano and cook another 5 minutes. Toss in the black eyed peas and capers and stir in until just heated through. The dish likely will need very little or no salt, due to the capers, but add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve over your grain of choice. I prefer whole wheat couscous but this is equally delicious over rice, orzo, farro, riced cauliflower, etc, etc, or scooped onto crusty bread.
Welp, there it is. My first grass covered sneaker Saturday morning – the first of plenty. Cutting the grass is one of those chores that I not only don’t mind, but actually kind of enjoy, especially at the beginning of the season. I get so tired of the gray by the end of the winter. When all the green starts returning I kind of turn into this
(Just ignore the fact that these were taken in winter – dogs just get excited all the time – they don’t know any better.)
The spring air and the influx of color definitely give me an energy boost.
I feel the same way in the stores at this time of year. New green abundance shows up – asparagus, watercress, fiddleheads (here in the North East, anyway – idk about other parts of the country), artichokes, peas. So yum and inspiring! There are so many great ways to use these, in salads, pastas, dips, sandwiches. Today, though, calls for pizza. It’s a weekend afternoon, we’ve worked hard and now it is time for some tasty, healthy comforting spring on a plate. When you try this out, feel free to use your favorite pizza dough recipe,or alternative – cauli-crust, gluten free, etc – or use this one that I like. Hopefully you can eat it surrounded by green and flowers and with your grassy sneakered feet up.
Spring Fling Pizza
½ pizza dough recipe
12 oz ricotta cheese
About 10 thin or 8 large stalks of asparagus, woody ends cut or snapped off, stalks shaved or cut thinly
1 ½ cups watercress
2-3 oz prosciutto
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1 scallion, sliced
Several tbsps chopped fresh dill
Heat oven to 450. Stretch and/or roll out the pizza dough into a circle or rectangle and place it onto a lined or oiled pan. Brush some olive oil over the pizza then spread the ricotta over it. Crack some pepper all over the cheese. Next, pile on the asparagus and watercress. Place the prosciutto around on top of the vegetables then sprinkle on the dill. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned in spots. Remove from the oven and scatter the radishes and scallion over the top before serving.
Note: I have written this in a way that is meant to work in any kitchen with any supplies. If you have a pizza stone and peel or backyard pizza oven or some other perfect set up, then by all means use your best available method. This pizza (as any, imho) would be delicious on the grill.