The question I get asked most often when I tell people I am a vegetarian is what do you eat? I think the answer most people expect is tofu because if I don’t mention it then it gets brought up. Now tofu is one of those foods that has a very bad reputation based on many stereotypes. Then there are the people who will tell you that if you do not like tofu you have not had it properly prepared. Well, I can say I have had it prepared many different ways and I am not a huge fan. I have this thing about texture and food. Mushy, gelatinous products do not appeal to me! My mother still can’t believe I don’t like chocolate pudding! (But that is whole other blog!) Don’t get me wrong, I have had tofu prepared in ways that I have truly enjoyed. It usually involves baking of some kind and many flavorings. I will give a shout out to the Owl House here in Rochester. Their smoked tofu tacos are awesome! When I am using it a home I like to freeze it and then thaw it out. This changes the texture so it is less mushy because much of the water in it will get drawn out with the freeze.
I have digressed! So easy to do when talking about food. So if not tofu, what do I eat? Let me run down a typical day of eating for me. I start the day with a bowl of steel cut oatmeal. I prefer the steel cut oats because they have a little bite to them (refer to how I do not like mushy food). I make a pot of French press coffee each morning, so I already have the water boiling which makes the oatmeal pretty easy. For protein I add a scoop of cottage cheese (yet another food I cannot stand to eat by itself). A splash of maple syrup, a scoop of chia seed and a small handful of raisins round out my bowl. Lunch will often be leftovers from the night before. If there are none, an avocado sandwich, a salad or soup do nicely. I add sunflower seeds, nuts or beans to any of those to get my protein and to add extra flavor. Dinner can be anything from homemade veggie burgers to pasta to stir fry to casseroles to quiches to-you get the idea. Last night I made greens and beans and put it over pappardelle pasta. I served it with a tossed salad and for dessert we had fresh strawberries. Yum! Snacks can be anything from an apple to rice cakes with some kind of nut butter to a bowl of fresh popped popcorn to a smoothie. Almost everyday I have some small indulgences such as a piece of chocolate, a glass of wine or a little dessert. So the answer to what do I eat is quite simply food!
My recipe for greens and beans follows. I love this dish because it can so easily be modified to what you have on hand. You can add a lot to this dish such as mushrooms, potatoes, peppers, etc. Just throw them in when you add the broth and let them cook. You could even add meat.
Greens and Beans
1 small onion, chopped (I used fresh spring leeks)
2 or 3 (or more if you like) cloves garlic, chopped (I used fresh spring wild garlic)
1 to 2 cups vegetable broth (depends how brothy you like it. If you are serving over pasta you can add some cooking water from the pasta)
1 to 2 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch or bag favorite cooking greens (escarole, spinach, kale, etc)
I can favorite beans, drained and rinsed (cannellini, garbanzo, pinto etc)
Juice from half a lemon
Directions: In a large sauce pan saute onion in some olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and saute a minute or so longer, until you can smell the garlic cooking. Add the broth, butter and salt and pepper and bring to a quick boil. Lower heat to simmer and cover pan. Let cook 15 or twenty minutes until onions and garlic are tender (This is a good time to cook your pasta if using). Add greens and cover. Once the greens are wilted add beans and stir. When they are heated through add lemon juice, stir and remove from heat. Serve as is with some bread to sop up sauce or over pasta or your favorite grain. I grate a little Parmesan cheese on just before serving.