I assume that by now most of you have heard the rumors about Toronto’s illustrious mayor Rob Ford. It seems, allegedly, that there is an alleged video of the alleged mayor smoking some alleged crack cocaine with two alleged drug dealers (one of whom is already
allegedly confirmed dead).
I have no idea whether or not the mayor smokes crack (aren’t crack addicts supposed to be skinny?), but even if the rumors ultimately prove to be true, I still feel sorry for the guy, who seems to be dogged by controversy just because he wakes up every morning. (And, excuse me for asking, but doesn’t a mayor have to be voted in by his citizens in 2013? If Torontonians hate him so much, why did they vote for the guy?). In any case, the name “Rob Ford” certainly seems synonymous with
twitter hashtag riots salivating Toronto Star reporters audible groans from the HH “controversy” lately.
On the other hand, I must admit that I am not naturally a contrary type, and heated debates or contentious standpoints are not my usual modus operandi. So I was a tad surprised that my recent Facebook post (in which I mentioned that plant-based diets appear to alleviate inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis) elicited an immediate rebuttal. Then, the conversation turned to an examination of paleo versus vegan diets.
As most of you know, the HH is an avowed meat-eater (though not paleo), so clearly, even though I am entirely pro-plants, I also believe that we each must make our own choices. I would no more try to change what the HH eats than I would try to tell him what to wear when we go out with friends (Oh. Wait a sec. . . nope. Been there, tried that, didn’t work. You want to wear your orange/purple plaid shirt with your grey corduroy pants and black dress shoes? Okay, honey, sure. Fine by me.).
Ironically, I am the one who seems to be leaning more toward “paleo” these days, since I’ve been cutting back on grains quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong; I love grains and believe they should be part of a well-balanced diet. The problem, in my case, is that I have no sense of “balance” when it comes to grain-based foods. So, every once in a while, I give my system a break. What this means, most often, is that I eat primarily raw foods for a few days.
[An early prototype of the Pesto-Bean Topped Salad, with Sunflower Sprouts.]
This meal-in-a-bowl (or meal-on-a-plate) was our grain-free dinner a few nights ago. It’s my variation on a favorite salad I had at Fresh a while back. While the restaurant serves it up over mixed greens and adds hearts of palm, avocado and toasted pecans (quite delish), I enjoyed shredded romaine and kale as my base. I also added carrot and hemp seeds instead of pecans; and, in an earlier iteration, sunflower sprouts (which were just divine).
If you’ve already got cooked beans on hand, the recipe comes together in a flash. I’ve used both home-cooked and canned with great success (though if you use canned, be sure to rinse and drain them very well to remove excess salt).
I ate mine as a complete meal loaded with ample protein provided from the pesto, beans and hemp seeds, while the HH ate his as a side dish alongside even more protein in the form of grilled fish. And yet, both of us adored this plate. Absolutely no controversy on that point.
Pesto-Bean Topped Salad Meal-in-a-Bowl (or On-a-Plate)
A great, light meal that is perfect for a summer’s evening or dining al fresco. The beans work well over just about any type of salad, actually!
For the Dressing:
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic10-20 drops plain liquid stevia, to your taste
1 tsp (5 ml) dijon mustard
juice of 1 medium lemon
fine sea salt, to taste
For the Pesto Beans:
2 cups (240 ml) cooked navy or romano beans, well drained
1 cup (120 g) raw walnuts
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
ounces (40 g) fresh basil leaves
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp (1-2.5 ml) fine sea salt, to your taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
For the Salad:
4 cups (1 L) shredded romaine (about 1/2 head)
2 cups (240 ml) shredded lacinato (dinosaur) kale (one small bunch)
1 large carrot, grated
1 cup (240 ml) grape tomatoes
1 medium avocado, sliced
1/2 cup (120 ml) sunflower or other sprouts, optional
2 Tbsp (30 ml) hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
Make the dressing: whisk all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Make the Pesto Beans: Place the beans in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a food processor, whir the walnuts, oil, basil, garlic, salt and water until smooth. Scrape the pesto over the beans and toss gently until the beans are coated. Set aside.
Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, kale, carrot and tomato with the dressing. Divide the mixture evenly among 4 plates or bowls. Top each plate or bowl with one quarter of the avocado slices, then one quarter of the bean mixture. Sprinkle with one quarter of the sprouts, if using, and one quarter of the hemp seeds. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Suitable for: ACD All Stages, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, vegan, low glycemic.
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