This week’s lunch has been the usual improvisation: What do I have, and how can I combine it so it tastes good?
Starting with starches, I almost always have some cooked brown rice on hand, which is the basis for such a wide variety of dishes.
Next come vegetables. I have some basics like carrots and celery, as well as loads of kale (it was on sale!) and some raw beets.
I also need something proteiny and some flavor. My options were a little limited this week as I had only dry beans and no time to cook them, and very few nuts. I do always have peanut butter and some frozen peas, which I think are the most budget-friendly and convenient sources of protein you can get, aside from lentils and split peas which still have to be cooked.
Beets and carrots were quickly run through the grating disk on my food processor and tossed with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a little salt to make my favorite Easy Beet Salad.
I steamed a couple of stemmed and torn leaves of kale in the microwave in my Tupperwave Stack Cooker, but a covered glass or ceramic dish will also do the trick.
I simply layered the kale, brown rice and peanut sauce on a plate (use a big bowl, it will be easier to stir), and put a hefty serving of beet salad on the side, thinking it wouldn’t be great with peanut sauce. I was wrong; it was pretty good with peanut sauce. There you go, beets are a peanut butter food! Also topped the whole mess with some scallions, since onions are both delicious and good for your heart.
Since this is lacking a bean or tofu, I wondered what the actual protein content would be, since folks seem to be obsessed with where vegetarians get their protein. Plugged the ingredients into Google, and based on 1 cup each of rice and vegetables, plus two tablespoons of peanut butter, you end up with around 18g of protein, about a third of what a woman my size needs for the day. Not bad, right?
PS – I’ve been eating black bean soup for dinner at work all week. In case anyone wanted the recipe, you can find a version of it here.