Thursday, January 5, 2012

Healthy for the Month of January

I have been reading books on diet and living for health lately. Out of the kindness of his heart, DJ agreed to watch the documentaries Forks Over Knives and Food Inc with me. Both address how the food in the is supermarket unhealthy and how terrible the American diet is for health.

I highly suggest watching both of them, while politics are present in both, they each report compelling factual information that is at least worth looking into.

Anyway, eating for health has never been a key motivator for my husband. As far as he was concerned, whatever food would save him the most money and still taste good was what he would eat.

However, on New Year's Eve, DJ brought up to me that he planned on cutting out all sugary sweets in the new year, and also wanted to try eating vegetarian for the month of January, to see if what the documentaries claimed would actually happen {more energy, weight management, and better health overall}.

All of that being said, I am now on a quest to expand my vegetarian/vegan repertoire of recipes as much as possible so we eat healthy plant based meals without getting sick of eating the same things everyday.

The coolest part is that I did not pressure him at all, this was completely out of the blue! I am sure part of it was him wanting to support me in my efforts to eat healthy, but it means so much to me that he is being interested in what I am :)

Anyway, last night I tried vegetarian recipe #1 from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health cookbook. It was more dairy heavy than I had hoped and did not win any glamour points(hence the lack of picture), but it was delicious and DJ inhaled it.

Greek Vegetable Pie
page 204 - serves 6 - hands on time 50 minutes - baking time 35 minutes
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 T olive oil
3 C asparagus, 1-inch pieces
1/4 t salt
3 cups thinly sliced leeks, using the white and tender green parts, thoroughly rinsed (this came out to about 2 stalks for me)
1 cup diced red bell peppers (I used 1 whole pepper)
3 ounces neufchatel cheese
1 cup grated or crumbled feta cheese
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
pinch of ground black pepper


  1. In a food processor, pulse the crust ingredients until crumbly. Set aside
  2. Warm oil in a skillet or saucepan on medium head. Add the asparagus and salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the leeks and cook for 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers, cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the vegetables are tender, 5 or 6 minutes. Place the neufchatel on top of the vegetables, cover, turn off the heat, and let sit for several minutes to soften.
  3. Meanwhile, press the crust mixture into a lightly oiled 9-inch pie plate
  4. Stir the neufchatel throughout the vegetables. Add 3/4 cup of the feta cheese and the eggs, dill, and black pepper to the skillet and mix well. Spread the filling in the pie crust and top with the remaining feta
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the filling is set and golden, about 35 minutes

Moosewood Variations:

  • use 2 or 3 chopped softened sun-dried tomatoes in place of the olives in the crust
  • use broccoli instead of asparagus

My Variations:

  • Substitutions: green olives for kalamata, frozen asparagus for fresh, used dill from a spice jar rather than fresh
  • used the pie dish I had which was 9.5"

Nutrition information for 1 serving:
Calories: 364, Protein: 14g, Carbohydrate: 30g, Dietary Fiber: 5g, Total Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 139mg, Sodium: 716mg

Moosewood suggests to keep this recipe in mind for when you have some leftover rice. I made a bean salad from scratch to accompany the pie.

Chili Bean Salad

1 can of drained and rinsed chili beans
1 roma tomato, diced
1/2 of a medium cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup of chopped sweet onion
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup thawed frozen corn
1 clove of minced garlic
dash of salt, pepper, & balsamic vinegar (to taste)

Combine ingredients and enjoy :)

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