The idea of being in a bathing suit, all flaws revealed, winter translucent skin amplifying any imperfections (and I get so pale by mid-february that I virtually glow), makes me want to throw up, just a little bit. Well maybe it’s not that dire, but it does make me rethink the eggs benedict and ham and cheese french toast from this past weekend.
The thing is, I’m not a very good dieter. Sure, I can make healthy meals for lunch and dinner, but if there’s a cookie in the kitchen at work, I’ll probably eat it. If someone wants an afterwork drink, my arms are rubbery and easily twisted. I don’t believe in complete depravation, I like a bite of sweet after I have a meal, and if I get too hungry, I get physically ill. Right. So my idea of “dieting” involves less cheese (not no cheese), less alcohol (not no alcohol, don’t be crazy), less chocolate (a square here and there wont kill you- antioxidants!), less baking (if it’s not in the house, I can’t eat it), more gym, and really healthy, filling meals that I can make in bulk for the week ahead. I hate wasting food, so if it’s in my kitchen, I will likely eat it rather than give in to sushi delivery, which is good for my waist and my wallet.
This is one of my old fall-back recipes. Super quick, super bright, super filling and super, super good for you. It’s infinitely adaptable; today, my grocery store refused to carry kale, so I grabbed swiss chard and although I sprung for the expensive, organic summer squash, I could have easily substituted asparagus. The panfried chickpeas are crunchy and creamy, while the tofu adds a subtle sweet bulk to the whole deal. Dark leafy greens, crunchy, fresh squash, poppy, tangy lemon. Come on, this is my kind of diet food!
So honestly, this “diet” thing ain’t so bad. I’m totally looking forward to my lunch this week and the next 3 weeks will be full of nutty whole grains, dark leafy greens and legumes of all different kinds. And no, I won’t be going meatless. That would be impossible. Do you know me at all? Am I bummed that I was forced to talk myself out of making these muffins? Yes, totally, but the recipe will still be there once I’ve braved the half-clothed tropics.
Lemony Chickpea Stir-Fry
Adapted from Heidi Swanson at 101Cookbooks. Serves 2-3.
I usually double this recipe and use a whole (14 oz) container of tofu. You can substitute any dark leafy green for the kale if you wish. Since this is a stir-fry, you should have everything chopped and ready to go before you start cooking. I feel like basil would be good in here…
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, sliced
1 c cooked chickpeas (I use canned ones, drained)
8 oz extra-firm tofu
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c of chopped kale
2 small zucchini, chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
- In a large heavy skillet, heat 1 T olive oil and a pinch of salt over medium-high heat
- Add the onion and the chickpeas and saute until the chickpeas are golden and crunchy (I often rush this step-you can see that mine are bit pale in the photos above. You shouldn’t rush; properly browned chickpeas add a lot to this dish)
- Add the tofu and cook just until warmed through
- Add the kale and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the kale is slightly wilted, remove the chickpea mixture to a plate and put the skillet back on the heat
- Add the remaining 1 T oil to the skillet, then add the squash, sprinkle lightly with salt, and saute until slightly browned, but still crunchy (~3 min)
- Return the chickpea mixture to the skillet, toss and remove from heat
- Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper