Today I didn’t awake with my usual zest for the morning. I didn’t spring from the bed like a hot Pop-Tart straight from the toaster, either. No running shoes, no New Wave synth favorite to sing along to in the bath. In fact, the only meaningful action I took was to hit snooze. A few times. I started to say “good morning” to the husband but it came out rather like a long, operatic croak. “What a weekend,” I thought. You see, we had just returned from a trip up in Saxony which was supposed to be more of an homage to Bach & Beethoven but it ended more of the flea market, schnitzel & bratwurst, and German beer-pilgrimage variety. No complaints there, though. But now it is Monday and time to pay-up for a weekend of caloric recklessness and get my spring back in my step!
Whenever I feel a little down on my game or zapped for energy, I look straight at what I am eating. After all, the food and the food quality affect the way we sleep and focus, provides (or does not provide) energy to sustain us throughout the day, and makes either feel good (or lousy) about ourselves. Having a balanced diet is essential for good emotional and physical health but sometimes that isn’t so easy when you are surrounded by mouth-watering market Bratkartoffeln or pork cutlets gussied up in a rich hollandaise sauce with twice baked potatoes. Balance, however, is key. Since I am quite, let’s say, behaved, during the week I give myself a bit of wiggle room on the weekend, even if my pants don’t allow for it come Monday.
Getting back on track today, I pulled together an Italian bean & greens dish for lunch. Not only is it Meatless Monday but it is June 1st – a perfect day to get back on rails with healthy eating habits. The warm dish can be served as a starter, side, or as a main. It is protein and vitamin rich (and vegan, to boot) that will keep you happy, satisfied, and energized. The yield is quite hearty but I like to cook it for the two of us and keep it around for a quick meal come later in the week. Pair it with a warm loaf of Italian bread and you’re golden.
Now, if you’ll politely excuse me, it’s time for my run!
- 3 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 head of chopped romaine lettuce, or escarole, clean and rinsed
- 1/2 cup white wine (e.g. Sauvingon)
- 1/2 cup chopped scallion
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- Generous cracks of fresh cracked pepper
- On medium high heat and in a large pan, begin to sauté your onions until translucent. Add beans, wine, lemon juice, garlic, and scallions. Add salt, pepper, and oregano.
- Cook the beans for 5-7 minutes until semi-soft. Add greens and cover. Cook on medium for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, check for the greens' tenderness and moisture; if they are still stiff, add a bit more wine and lemon juice and continue another 3-5 minutes covered.
- Once the greens have cooked and your beans are soft, add EVOO. Taste, and correct seasoning. Plate and serve warm.
- You can serve this dish as a starter, main, or side dish.
- Non-vegan options: Before serving, you may swirl in 1 tbsp of butter, if desired, and garnish with freshly-grated Romano cheese.
- Suggested: Serve with a warm, fresh loaf of Italian bread.