Introducing more vegetarian based dishes is an excellent way to add balance to your diet and reduce your calorie intake. I’d happily eat meat seven days a week and the thought of eating more ‘greens’ seemed initially alien to me. However, there are lots of excellent vegetarian and vegan meals so I’d urge even the most passionate meat eaters to give them a try.
Black-eyes peas and greens from the Hairy Dieters was a good starting point for me. I love all types of beans, and pulses are a nutritious and cheap way to bulk out meals and fill you up. This dish apparently originates from the southern regions of the United States, so I’d be interested if any American readers can vouch for its authenticity.
I was amazed by how much I could eat for only 207 calories per portion, and while there are more imaginative vege-based dishes out there, as a week-night meal this fulfilled the brief perfectly. The Hairy Dieters recommend accompanying this meal with some corn bread – you’ll find the recipe in their ‘Fast Food’ book.
Recipe: Black-eyed peas and greens
Calories: 207 calories per serving
Book: Hairy Dieters – Fast Food
Prep time: Approx 10 mins
Cooking time: Approx 25 mins
Ingredients: 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 sweet white onion (diced), 2 celery sticks (diced), 1 green pepper (deseeded and diced), 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs, 2 bay leaves, 2 x 400g cans of black-eyed beans (drained and rinsed), flaked sea salt, ground black pepper.
Cost per portion: Approx £0.99
Method: Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan or a flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery and green pepper to the pan, turn the heat up high and stir for 5 minutes – the vegetables should be browning nicely by this point.
Sprinkle over the garlic powder and onion powder, if using, and the spices and herbs. Stir for a minute, and then add the beans. Pour over the vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil, over the pan, then turn down the heat and cook for 5 minutes. During this time, wash and shred the spring greens. Pile these on top of the beans – do not stir at this stage.
Turn the heat up again and cover. After 5 minutes the spring will have wilted down a little. Stir to combine with the rest of the ingredients and leave to simmer for a further 5 minutes.