For this week’s Mediterranean Monday, I’m bringing you a new lunch dish inspired by tomorrow’s dinner date! I’m going with my friend Erica to try out a new plant-based restaurant called Trio. I am not vegan, but I do make fresh veggies the center of my diet and am happy to do meatless and dairy-free meals. Last week I didn’t do the greatest — Michael was out of town and my boys were gone, so it was just me at home. I took full advantage of the opportunity to not cook for a few days!
That meant pizza on Sunday and cheese enchiladas topped with grilled chicken plus a ton of chips and salsa on Wednesday. And in between? Well, I am a French fry addict! They are my absolute favorite food, and I decided to “treat” myself by buying a bag of seasoned fries that I can toss in a skillet frozen and have fried and ready to eat in a matter of minutes. I basically lived on those things for lunch and dinner the other two nights, with either leftover veggie frittata or a salad on the side. I also made lemon lavender shortbread cookies for work, and my usual serving of oatmeal for breakfast.
In short – by the weekend I was completely carbed out, and in desperate need of more fiber and less cheese and fat!! So for this week’s meal plan I made sure to include a meatless option for lunches, plus some good veggie options to go with the dinners. It’s me, Michael, and his teenage daughter Mia this week, so I still had to come up with things that a teenager would eat. I chose Chicken Parmesan Meatballs for dinner tonight — that I could serve over traditional (albeit whole wheat) spaghetti for her and her dad, but eat without pasta and with a large salad on the side for myself.
I’m planning a traditional summer feast for Wednesday, because Mia is picking fresh sweet corn with her uncle on Tuesday, and my grandma gave me some garden cucumbers and bell peppers too. So we’re going to do some turkey burgers with corn on the cob, cucumbers and sliced tomatoes from my garden.Tuesday and Thursday are leftover nights, and Friday is one that I’m excited for — Shrimp and Veggie Lo Mein. It’s basically like a stir fry with brown rice noodles, and that is one of my favorite things!
I also like to plan at least one thing for lunches each week in case there aren’t enough leftovers, and that leads me to the topic of today’s post! I made a Salmon Quinoa Salad a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it would be easy enough to swap out the salmon for some chickpeas, and switch out a couple other ingredients to create a new summer salad that centers on a major staple right now — corn on the cob! I know, I know…still a carb! But it’s in season right now so it’s sooo good! And it pairs really well with tomatoes and avocado!
I have tomatoes growing at home in my back yard, which are looking much better since I’ve been using the copper fungicide to control the anthracnose fruit rot. I have some much better-looking tomatoes! The rest of the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find in the store (that’s my beef with some vegan recipes — you have to go to specialty stores to find some of that stuff and we just don’t have that many options in a town of 40,000 people).
Corn and Avocado Salad with Chickpeas
- 4 cups of kale, leaves torn
- 2 ears of corn on the cob, cooked (grilled will have the best flavor!)
- 2 avocadoes, cubed
- 1 large or 2 smaller tomatoes, diced
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 2 TBS finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- juice of one lime
- First things first — sautee kale in a bit of olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper until lightly wilted and bright green (don’t overcook!). Put in a large bowl and set aside.
- Next, run a sharp knife down the corn cob lengthwise to slice away the corn from the cob. Place the corn into the bowl with the kale, then refrigerate to cool before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- The rest is pretty simple — throw the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and toss together! The lime juice will top off the flavor, and also keep the avocado from browning so that it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.
How is that for a simple and tasty recipe?! Lots of veggies, a little carbs without being over the top, and so good for your heart and your waistline without all the unhealthy fats and cholesterol that come with meat and cheese!
Which brings me to a new goal I’m setting for myself — limiting my dairy intake. I don’t drink milk, and never have since I was lactose intolerant growing up. My stomach can take it now, but milk is just gross to me after years of it making me sick. I’m not a big ice cream eater either — although I think I’ve eaten more of it since I’ve been with Michael than I have in the last five years combined because he gets it free from work! But when it comes to cheese…I just can’t seem to say no to the stuff. I used to be good about eating it in moderation, but now I’m eating it every single day.
I’ve completely run away with myself on the cheese front, and it’s time to get it back under control. It may not raise your body’s acidity like milk does since it’s fermented, but it has one of the highest fat percentages of any food coming in at about 70% fat on average. About the only thing worse is butter, which is 80% fat. That really isn’t a good thing for the arteries! There is also a pretty strong link between cheese consumption and an increase in cancer risk, especially prostate cancer in men. Granted I may not have a prostate…but that doesn’t make me feel any better about eating it every day!
With that said…recipes like this one are going to be more frequent for me this month, as well as for my kids. They’ve continued their tradition while away this summer of eating way too many chips and drinking way too much soda, packing on 10-20 pounds that they now need to loose. Lots of healthy eats and lots of time sweating it out at the skate park is in store for them!
If you have any recommendations for good plant-based dishes, please feel free to share them below. I am always looking for new things to try! Happy eating 🙂