January 8, 2012

Subversive Veggie Stir-In Recipe-- quick, versatile base

I created a healthy convenience food marvel this week: a super-versatile vegetable stir-in base that can be eaten many ways, didn't take too long to prepare, and lasted all week.

I call it the "Subversive Veggie Stir-In" because you'd never guess how many random vegetables are in it from the taste.  It tastes just like a freshly handmade mild garden salsa but it's mild and crispy enough to eat straight from the fridge or stirred in warm dishes. Once made--it lasted in a covered bowl in the fridge for the week and  this is what we used it for:

I put it on soft 6-inch flour tortillas over a spoonful of hummus for a 30-second vegetarian soft taco (microwave a single small tortilla about 7 seconds to warm up, if desired)
In an omelette with some wild mushrooms topped with a pinch of parmesan on top
Stirred into a side salad with a little lite Ranch dressing
Used as a chip dip for tortilla chips
With corned beef brisket strips as fajita veggies
As a chutney with fish

And I'm sure there are plenty of other things that you could do with it.

Trying to increase vegetable intake in a household with a toddler and a burger-and-fry guy is not an easy task.  And nobody wants to wash, chop, and prep loads of veggies all the time, especially if there's only one eating them.  But this mix of vegetables, carbs (corn) and proteins (beans) is a satisfying vitamin-packed energy booster and hunger thumper.  After the initial mixup (maybe 30 minutes of prep) it takes but seconds to scoop out and stir in.  Choose your own set of veggies and tailor to your tastes, but cramming several kinds in there (even if you can't quite taste them all) broadens the vitamin content.  Use fresh instead of canned if you like, but canned is quicker.

Recipe for Subversive Veggie Stir-In

canned goods (combine)
1 can whole kernel corn, 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (important to get rid of extra sodium and improve flavor! Just dump in a colander and run under cold water)
1 can diced tomatoes
fresh produce
1 green pepper
1 hot red pepper (I used a very hot type, so only added one, but adjust as needed)
2 serrano peppers
a handful of baby carrots
1/2 a medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
generous amount of cilantro
the juice from half a lime
1-2 stalks celery

Coarsely chop all fresh produce and run through a food processor until desired texture--I like mine minced but still quite chunky.
Note:  If you want your beans and corn to be a little more paste than whole, you can run them through a food processor for just a couple seconds as they break down quickly.  Not having a bunch of whole beans makes it easier to add to warm dishes such as omelettes.

Add to bean-corn-tomato mixture.  Stir well, squeeze lime juice (or lemon if preferred, but citric acid will help maintain the color in addition to going well with the flavors) into mixture, and stir very well to combine.  Store in air-tight container or wrap a glass bowl with plastic wrap tightly and store in fridge.

Tastes best after flavors have "mingled" overnight, but tastes fine freshly made too.

After you're done with the prep, you can just spoon some out  for a healthy, convenient, low-fat quick snack (my favorite was on a soft taco shell with some hummus) or use in other recipes, or eat raw!

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