I’m not sure if that actually sounds tasty, but it was. And it was healthy. And full of fiber and protein. And vegan. So, if you are looking for super healthy, good-for-you, diet, veggie and/or vegan dishes, you might give this one a try.
I realize that a good number of my dishes look nearly the same. I’m a fan of one-pan cooking, and if I’m going healthy anyway, I like lots of seasonal veggies in my food. Plus, ‘polpa de tomate’ (tomato sauce, I guess? A bit thicker that sauce, but thinner that tomato pulp) is relatively cheap and sold in big bottles here… and I use the hell out of it.
[Before you read further, be aware that this is a general guideline of flavors rather than a recipe. I don’t indicate quantities because really, it’s all to taste…do as you will because you can’t really screw this up as long as it tastes good to you.)
Anyway, the theme and variations to this (like all my dishes) is effectively infinite (you’ll get bored or lazy before you run out).
The key elements I used are:
- market fresh fava beans (shell ’em, blanch ’em, and love ’em)
- soy nuggets (they look like this)
- polpa de tomate (looks like this)
- fresh chopped red bell pepper (capsicum, for some of you)
- fresh leeks
- a hint of thai chili pepper (I used piri-piri…same difference ;P)
- a wad ‘o’ fresh cilantro/coriander/coentros
- some olive oil
I think that’s it, but I frequently forget minor details. Anyway, these are the ingredients that mattered to me 🙂
I’d never cooked fava beans before (or at least, I haven’t that I can remember… whatever the case, I had to look it up) so I found this web page useful. It tells you what you need to do to get from this
I really enjoyed processing the fava beans 🙂 It felt very country/earthy/rootsy/socially-and-ethically-superior ;P Plus, you get the almost Marx-like connection to your food that we often miss 🙂 (It’s one AM and I’m waiting to Skype into a board meeting in Timor, so cut me some slack on the rambling ;P)
Once you have the beans, everything else is pretty easy. As the afore-linked page indicates, the shelled beans need to simmer in something for about 15 minutes. Because you are working with veggies, there’s no harm in tasting and testing them to be sure beforehand. Now, you just need a liquid to cook the little buggers in…. that is to say, you need a sauce 😉
My base was composed of carmelized leeks and garlic in olive oil and salt and cumin. Then some piri-piri and the prepped soy nuggets [I’m planning to do a post on these soy nuggets… but not tonight. It will come soon. The way you handle them before cooking really impacts the flavor of the dish. If in doubt, just leave them out. There’s plenty of protein here from the beans anyway!) Throw in some red bell pepper and get a nice light burn on everything, and then add a bit of water to loosen up any delicious crusty bits that might be stuck to the pan. Throw in the polpa de tomate, add more seasonings as necessary… throw in a heap of cilantro… check the color… adjust heat… taste… and serve.
Did that make general sense? I hope so. The “worst” thing you can do here is to overcook the veggies, but honestly, there are so many flavors going on and such a good texture that even totally overcooked veggies will still be fine. They won’t be ideal, but hell, you still have a healthy, tasty dinner.