I’m on a diet healthy eating plan. Those of you who just stumbled on this blog are probably now looking at its name and going, “Well, duh!” But the fact is, I never really talk about my struggles with my weight here because that’s a long and personal discussion, and my writing style is fast and breezy and cut to the chase, er, recipe. So let’s just suffice it to say that though the recipes I post here are low-fat and most are suitable for any healthy diet plan, there are things in my pantry that aren’t fat-free or low in sugar or unprocessed, and they’ve been known to find their way out of my pantry and into my mouth. (I’m looking at you, Boca Chik’N and Fruitful O’s!) No matter how healthy my dinners are (and they really are what you see on this blog), I don’t make any progress losing weight if I eat junk for lunch and between meals. So I’ve cut out all processed foods, including flour and sugar, which always cause me to crave more processed food. And I feel great! My new motto is “If I didn’t cook it myself and it doesn’t fit on my blog, I don’t eat it.” That’s a long motto, but you get the idea.
I’m basically following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live (I have my own little tweaks), and one of its main precepts is “Thou Shalt Eat a Mega-Huge Salad for Lunch.” Mega-Huge means take the salad bowl you use to make salad for dinner parties and fill it up with lettuce, spinach, kale, and various other leafy greens and top them with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, peas, and whatever other raw vegetables you can find. Finally, top that with an ounce or two of raw nuts and some cooked beans, and then eat the entire thing. My main problem with this main precept is that I get tired of salads every day, especially during the winter when the thought of cold salad often leads me to heat up the beans before pouring them over the salad. So yesterday I opened my fridge and took out all the “remnants” of other recipes–the cabbage and kale I’d chopped for a photo shoot, the white beans leftover from Roasted Parsnip Soup, two baby bok choy that I didn’t use in my last stir-fry–added some onions and carrots, and made a hot salad out of them:
Then I posted the photo above to Facebook with the caption, “I just ate almost this entire stir-fry pan full of food–the kind of lunch that happens when I get tired of salads!” So many people wanted the recipe (though one wanted to chastise me for my “gluttony”) that I posted the ingredients. But since ingredients do not a recipe make, I figured I’d better give you the full run-down here on the blog.
What follows is exactly what I used and what I did, but since I was cleaning out my own fridge, not yours, feel free to use the vegetables that you need to use up. Chopping time aside (and I was lucky to have most of this pre-chopped), this cooks very quickly: Be sure you use a deep enough skillet that you can cover because steaming is necessary to get the veggies cooked fast without oil. And note the number of servings. The recipe made about 4 of the salad-plate-sized servings in the photo below, but if you’re following Eat to Live, you’ll want to eat more than that (or even the whole pan!) so I’ve set the nutritional info up for 2 servings. You could also serve it as a side dish for 4; just divide the nutritional stats in half.
Hot Skillet Salad
I call this technique “steam-frying.” Cover the pan to trap steam to quickly cook the vegetables, but remove the cover and stir quickly and often to make sure they get equal exposure to the pan’s surface and don’t burn or stick.
- 2 baby bok choy
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- 3 ounces baby carrots, slivered (about 6)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup red cabbage, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 cups sliced kale
- 1 cup cooked great northern beans
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon fat-free or low-fat balsamic dressing (or balsamic vinegar)
- Wash the bok choy well. Slice the white stems into 1/4-inch slices and set aside. Slice the green leafy tops thinly and keep separate from the stems.
- Preheat a non-stick wok or deep skillet. Add the red onion and cook until it begins to soften. Add the carrots, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the bok choy stems, cabbage, basil, oregano, and 1/4 cup water. Cover tightly and steam for about 3 minutes, stirring several times. Stir in the bok choy leaves, kale, and beans and add another splash of water if it’s too dry. Cover and steam until the kale is tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in salad dressing or vinegar just before serving.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s) | Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2
Nutrition (per serving): 233 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.8g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 192.9mg sodium, 1524mg potassium, 44.9g carbohydrates, 13g fiber, 4.9g sugar, 15.1g protein.
Eat to Livers Unite!
What do you eat when you don’t want salad? Leave your ideas and recipes in the comments below. And see Hidden Cashew Ranch Dressing Plus Tips for Eating Salads When You Really Don’t Want To for more ideas.
Updated to add: On the same day that I posted this recipe, Natala at Vegan Hope wrote an excellent article about vegans and junk food. Check out both it and the interesting discussion that follows.