Since the clock struck midnight on January 1st, it seems like every newsletter from the ever-proliferating world of daily deal websites has contacted me about my New Year’s resolution to sculpt my flabby arms, consume only liquids until the point of collapse, or finally lose that baby weight. I was surprised because not only did I not make these resolutions in a public forum, I also did not make them at all (or even gain baby weight in the first place).
It’s not that I’m opposed to resolutions; in fact, the opposite is true: as a New Year’s baby I’m especially prone to thinking about January 1st as a time for change and renewal. I even made a few resolutions of my own this year (ranging from being more giving to using a purse). However, it’s disturbing to see this dietary yo-yo culture propagated by those who aim to profit off of it. If Hallmark is believed by conspiracy theorists/bitter singles to have “invented” Valentine’s Day, then the American weight loss industry certainly concocted the concept of new and old years.
So this Wintry Butter Bean and Kale Sauté recipe isn’t because you made a resolution to eat healthier, cook more, eat vegetarian meals a couple days a week, or even–gasp!–lose weight, although it certainly fits the bill for those physical goals. Instead, it’s a nutrient-packed, high-protein simple meal that will leave you energized to accomplish all your other goals and daily activities. Like using a purse.
While many meat-eaters get too much protein in their daily diets, getting ample protein can still be an issue for some vegetarians and vegans if they don’t plan their meals well. Personally in winter, I’m attracted to sweet complex carbohydrates like whole grains, squashes and fruit that leave me feeling sluggish if I don’t balance them out with proper proportions of beans, nuts, lentils, soy proteins or eggs and dairy. This recipe is a balanced one-pot meal that has a hearty wintry feel, without relying too heavily on the classic starchy vegetables of the season. Assembled just like a stir-fry, you can sub out beans, greens, and veggies based on what you have in your fridge. If you do dairy, a tiny pat of butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan will make this divine.
This year, I’ve got a lot of exciting things planned for Urban Chickpea, including sharing recipes from my new supper club Seek and introducing a new series called Healthy Kitchen Essentials, which highlights key ingredients and tools to keep on hand to make healthy eating a snap. Feel free to share with me anything else you’d like to see on the blog this year in the comments section.
Happy New Year!
Wintry Butter Bean and Kale Sauté
serves 2 as an entree
2 teaspoons olive oil or butter
1 teaspoon chili flakes, or to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (an 8-ounce package)
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small (1/2-inch) florets
1 can of butter beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons of tamari (or other high quality soy sauce)
zest of one lemon
1 bunch of kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
optional garnish: diced avocado/chopped nuts/ground flax seeds/shaved Parmesan
1. In a large skillet or pot, heat oil on medium until it shimmers and add chili flakes and garlic. Saute for 30 seconds. Add the shiitakes and a big pinch of salt and turn heat up to high. Saute until mushrooms have released their moisture and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the cauliflower and another pinch of salt and saute until cauliflower is browned at edges, about 3 minutes. Remove cauliflower and shiitakes from skillet into a bowl and set aside.
3. Over medium heat, add a little more oil to the pan and add the butter beans and a pinch of salt, browning each side, about 2 minutes. Add the tamari and lemon zest and stir to combine. Then add the kale, stir and cover for 2 minutes until it wilts slightly. Stir the cauliflower and shiitakes back to the skillet and let remain on heat until everything is warmed through. Turn off heat and add the lemon juice and salt and pepper if necessary. Garnish each portion with half an avocado, diced, or anything you’d like.