When Mother Nature (or the City of London) gives you greenery absorb it with all your senses!
It’s lunchtime and you’re out and about on your urban routine with no time to stop and munch on a salad? Drink it!
Try to make some time, even if only 5-10 minutes each day, for a green spot pit stop where you can just look around and admire the beauty of nature’s simplicity in its rich details…
Lately, chicory is on my mind as I crave a good vegetarian winter dish!
I don’t find chicory very often in stores here, but when I do I take great advantage: I eat it raw as a snack! Now you’re probably imagining a farm pet munching on a grassy meadow, that’s not exactly the case, although I don’t hate the bitterness of its raw leaves, I only snack on the un-leafy stem part of chicory, which is less bitter, crunchy and has a rich taste that makes celery so dull in comparison (you’re probably still imagining a munching pet; my husband often tells me that I should have been born as a bunny, I take that).
Chicory – Leaves and stems separated
While leaves can be used for cooking or in salads, stems are a great, crunchy and refreshing snack.
I also prepare chicory as a salad with a light, homemade vinaigrette (olive oil, lemon juice and herbs). However, the ultimate way to really savor the best of chicory is to cook it for a short time in boiling water then sauté it with caramelized onions and lemon juice… so yummy with pita bread!
A popular countryside vegetarian meal in the Middle East
An assortment of sautéed chicory or dandelion with pita bread, cabbage-and-tomato salad, lentil-and-rice pilaf and greek yogurt
Chicory is a preferred ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. Wild and cultivated varieties are both popular. They are mainly used in salads nevertheless they can be a perfect replacement to any leafy vegetable in many cooked dishes. From Provence to the Middle East recipes abound and vary but chicory’s draw is the same: an appetizing taste, a medicinal character (detoxing, diuretic and tonic) and a great nutritional content. Chicory is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals mainly folic acid, vitamin A, potassium and vitamin C.
Did you know?
- Beet is not only used to produce table sugar, it is also a delightful addition to your menu
- Its remarkably vivid color isn’t only perfect for a bloody Halloween, but it’s also an indication of its powerful antioxidant and pigment, betalain
- You can eat it all: roots, leaves and stems and benefit from all the nutrients (mostly vitamin A, vitamin K and phytonutrients with very strong antioxidant power)
Try this succulent warm salad, my latest experiment with beet:
-Boiled beetroots (preferably served warm)
-Raw or steamed chopped beet leaves and stems
-Sprinkle of goat cheese and walnuts
-Drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
Since I moved to New York, I have come to notice that people here are fad obsessed, particularly in relation to body image issues. They enroll in the latest and hottest mumbo jumbo celebrity workouts with the funkiest names ever like “Zumba!”, they follow the latest diet or un-diet (fasting) trends like the 5:2 diet, the master cleanse detox, lemon juicing diet, raw food diet…but what particularly caught my attention is the kale craze! New Yorkers love kale! They swear by kale juice, feast on kale salad and sandwiches and snack on kale chips. There’s even a National Kale Day (which happens to be today by the way, Happy Kale!). Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against kale and I’m actually a big fan myself of kale Tabboule and appreciate the nutritional benefits of this wonderful green veggie. I do feel however that there’s an excessive adoration of kale, which distracts from other interesting veggies that correspond to the same green category, have a very similar nutritional profile to kale and some are even more worthy of being singled out. So if you’re like me, tired of kale or even spinach but want to keep benefiting from the amazing nutritional and gastronomic qualities of green leafy vegetables, it’s time to introduce your cuisine to chard!
Chard is very comparable to spinach but with a bigger leaf and has a less accentuated taste than kale. Just like the venerated kale and Popeye’s spinach, chard is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium and potassium, contains iron, calcium and folic acid. Also note that it’s slightly lighter in calories than kale and spinach and is a good laxative and diuretic. There are so many ways to enjoy chard, here are some of my favorites:
Zesty chard with blackeye peas salad / appetizer
- Chard and lentil soup (also includes zucchini, potato and onions)
Chard stuffed with a Tabbouleh-like mix
Chard dip (prepared in a similar way to hummus, but since we’re replacing chickpeas with chard stems, it’s lighter in calories)