Winter can pose unique obstacles to eating fresh, healthy foods. Produce is more limited and often more expensive. Snow and cold makes it more difficult to get out to shop. We often turn to frozen dinners and processed foods just because they are on hand.
We can avoid these obstacles and eat health, delicious foods all year by a little planning at the grocery store. The solution is a well stocked pantry and keeping those fruits and vegetables that hold up well on hand.
Plan your shopping list and menus so that perishable foods like leafy greens, tomatoes, zucchini, and soft fruits are used early in the week. Purchase better keepers, like cabbage, apples, fennel, peppers, carrots, and hard squash, for use later (many of these harder winter produces will keep for a couple of weeks).
have onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes on hand. They keep well and are essential ingredients in so many recipes. Stock items like canned beans, tomatoes, vinegars, and olive oil as well as some dried legumes and grains and you will be able to scoff at the weather as you enjoy delicious, healthy foods.
Beans are an economical and satisfying addition to a healthy diet. So often we think of beans only when making chili or baked beans, but there are so many other ways to incorporate them into our diet. Beans are low in fat and high in fiber. Cannellini beans, which are featured in this month's recipe, are rich in manganese, thiamin, and folate. They have twice the iron of beef and have an enzyme that actually helps detoxify and prevent some headaches caused by sulfates.
This month's recipe for Tuscan Bean Salad combines Cannellini beans, peppers, and onions with a tasty dressing of lemon and olive oil. It's quick and easy to prepare and keeps well in the refrigerator. The flavors develop and mellow with time, so the salad is even better the next day.
Tuscan Bean SaladIngredients
- 2 (15 oz.) cans of Cannellini Beans or Great Northern Beans
- ½ red pepper
- ½ green pepper
- ¼ c red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 2 TBS olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Rinse and drain the beans.
- Dice the red and green peppers.
- Cut the red onion into a small dice.
- Mix the beans and vegetables together.
- Finely mince the garlic or put it through a garlic press.
- In a small bowl, mix the garlic, cumin, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, the lemon zest, and the lemon juice.
- Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is thick and emulsified.
- Toss the dressing with the bean mix.
- Adjust the seasonings as desired.
- Allow the salad to sit awhile will develop the flavors to develop more fully.
Bonus Recipe - White Bean and Tuna Salad