20 May 2010

Quick Greens

Salad--the cold, lettuce-ridden type--is certainly not my meal of choice.  I enjoy it on occasion, but I can't bring myself to fully embrace it.  I've been burned out on iceberg, romaine, and lettuce in general since my last chicken caesar salad sometime during my pre-vegan days.  I have to be in the mood for salad in order to enjoy consuming one, in which case I almost always opt for spinach as the green of choice.  Obviously, when prepared well, salads can be excellent, easy vessels for the consumption of raw, whole foods.  I'd love to incorporate more of that into my diet, but as a gal who loves cooked food, that sort of change will just have to come about gradually and preferably not in the form of your average salad.

Despite my lack of salad love, I enjoy leafy greens like spinach, kale, and swiss chard, eating them fairly regularly.  What is so nice about greens is that they can instantly add both bulk and nutrients to pretty much anything, raw or cooked, and can be quite tasty.  I'll often add them to pre-existing savory applications, if not already using them as the foundation of dishes, rounding out meals in a flash.  Being so versatile and quick to prepare--the most basic prep involves a quick rinse, maybe a rough chop--greens are a staple in my kitchen and will go in almost any dish.  Here are some examples of some quick, simple eats benefitting from the addition of various greens.  Oddly enough, the first two are leafy salads.

Arugula and three-bean salad.  The beans (black, cannellini, garbanzo) were combined with various aromatics, veggies, olives, and orange-tahini dressing.  The spicy arugula paired nicely with it.  I threw on some toasted sunflower seeds and sweet corn and deemed it all pretty tasty.
A lazy salad.  I picked up a bundle of mizuna (a Japanese lettuce) at the farmers' market one weekend and opted to dress it with a simple orange-shoyu dressing.  Needing a light-but-hearty meal led to this impromptu concoction of mizuna, crisped Boca burger chunks, and "potted" tofu feta (miso-marinated tofu), which contributed wonderfully creamy texture and saltiness.  If you haven't tried Bryanna Clark Grogan's miso-marinated tofu yet, get a batch going now, because you'll need to wait nearly two weeks before being able to savor its deliciousness.
Pizza with spinach and olives.  This was the result of another bout of lazy-cook syndrome paired with the need to create some space in the freezer.  I basically doctored a prepared vegan pizza--Amy's Roasted Vegetable No Cheese pizza--by adding blanched, chopped spinach and the remaining olives I didn't use in the aforementioned three-bean salad.  I hadn't tried an Amy's pizza until this point, but for a cheese-less pizza in the Daiya age, I rather enjoyed this one.  The roasted onion sweetness really makes it, although I think the spinach and salty olives added their own lovely touches.
Black bean tofu with longbeans and bok choy.  Fermented black bean and garlic sauce adds a certain depth of flavor I can't quite describe.  Basically, I "water-sauteed" some chopped longbeans, bok choy, garlic, onion, and dried Thai chilis; threw in a bit of the black bean sauce, sriracha, and shoyu; then gently added drained a cubed firm tofu.  It simmered, covered, for a few minutes, until the veggies were just cooked.  This dish was inspired by a tofu-bok choy-black bean stir-fry my sister-in-law makes, via her brother's recipe.  We normally enjoy it with steamed rice, but I chose to pair it this time around with quinoa.
Thank goodness for the tasty myriad greens that are now so readily available.  I won't be turning back to iceberg lettuce any time soon.

1 comment:

  1. It's all about greens these days! I think arugula and beans is a wonderful combination and that pizza looks amazing!

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