Food is such a divisive topic. On one hand,that’s not surprising: the information out there is contradictory, incomplete and biased–and that’s just the science. Then, there is this whole other thing called the food industry which, until about six weeks ago, ran my life.
As anyone who has ever done even a smidge of reading knows, processed food is engineered to appeal to us–and that makes sense. Manufacturers want us to buy it again, after all. But I don’t think that fact has truly sunk in for us. It means that food companies are as bad as –or worse than– tobacco companies. They both legally produce addictive substances– but you need food to live!
But, actually, I am not upset with the food companies. I believe in a free market (with government oversight). I am upset with schools which don’t teach media awareness, nutrition or cooking. I am upset with governments who do not regulate and when they do, do so with inadequate regulations. Most of all, I’m upset that fruits and vegetables don’t have larger advertising budgets.
I don’t want to rant. It all comes down to Micheal Pollen’s pithy statement:
Eat real food. Mostly plants. Not too much.
In the spirit of spreading the goodness of eating more plants, I am going to pass along recipes I’ve come across in my quest to eat healthily which I just love. This particular recipe has transformed my relationship with eggplant. Truly. Utterly transformed it.
It is from Unjunk Your Life (Reboot program), by Desiree Nielsen.
(The recipe says it makes two servings, but depending on the size of your eggplant and zucchini this can easily feed four with leftovers.)
MEDITERRANEAN VEGETABLE STEW OVER BROWN RICE
MAKES 2 SERVINGS
1 small eggplant
1 small onion
1 bell pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup brown rice
Cut eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onion and bell pepper into roughly 1-inch chunks. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat, then add the onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until onions and garlic become soft. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pot except rice, stir and reduce heat to medium low.
Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. It may look dry at first, but the vegetables will release their own juices while they cook to make a sauce. Taste the stew and adjust seasoning as needed.
Cook brown rice according to package directions, and serve in a bowl topped with the vegetable stew.
I was shocked that a bowl of vegetables–merely vegetables– could be as filling as a complete meal. This was.
I’m on the hunt for more.
Do you have a favourite vegetarian meal?