Healthy for January

January 11, 2016

After all, it’s what resolutions are made of, right?

In the event you haven’t given up in the first two weeks and chunked your resolution to eat healthier, lose weight and exercise onto the 2016 trash heap, here are a couple of things you can put together on a Monday morning for quick lunches that are your friend on the calorie/carb scale.

Healthy stuff for the New Year.

Healthy stuff for the New Year.

First, hummus. You should always, always, have a can of chickpeas in your pantry, because when you’re desperate for something for an appetizer, you can whir up some hummus and feel quite sophisticated and international. Plus, it’s good stuff, and it’s healthy. While you’re about it, you can cut up several different kinds of raw veggies and stash them in plastic baggies in the fridge, so all you have to do is spoon out some hummus and lay out some veggies for a snack or to go with lunch.

Not much is easier than hummus, which is what you want to make of it. Drain your 15-oz can of chickpeas. Dump them in the FoPro. Add about 1/3 cup of tahini (sesame paste), which, as far as I can tell, lasts indefinitely in the fridge.  Add some garlic — garlic confit, in my case, given my aversion to raw garlic. I used about 6 or 8 cloves. Add some lemon juice — at least three or four tablespoons, and leave it out because you may want more.

Then toss in, if you feel like it, some roasted red pepper. Or some chopped Kalamata olives. Or some capers. Or whatever else you may have that strikes your fancy. Add a good glug or two of the best olive oil you can lay hands on, and whirr that all up together until it’s as smooth as you like. You may need to add more oil, or a little of the liquid you drained from the chickpeas, to it.

Taste and see what it needs, and go off in whatever seasoning direction strikes your fancy. I’ve had very good hummus, that I’ve been unable to replicate, that alleged to be seasoned with allspice. Paprika is good. You’ll need a surprising amount of lemon juice to give it some bite; you can add a dash of sherry vinegar if you have a notion. Keep tasting, seasoning and whirring until you get it where you want it.

That, and carrot sticks and cauliflower, will stand between you and starvation when you’re standing in the refrigerator door wondering what you’re going to eat.

You should also always have in your pantry (a) a can of cannelini beans, and (b) a can of tuna packed in olive oil, and (c) a bottle of capers. A most excellent lunchtime tuna salad is those beans, drained and rinsed; the tuna, not drained, but with its oil plus a glug; a tablespoon or so of chopped capers (if you’re out of capers, in a pinch you can use cornichons or sour gherkins), and a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice. Finish it off with some freshly ground pepper. Toss all that together, being sure the tuna is flaked up and distributed well, and let it sit for a bit to let the flavors blend. You can add herbs if you want — some fresh tarragon does not go amiss, nor do chives.

M’mm h’mm. Yeah. Like that. It makes enough salad for about three lunches for me. One word of advice, though — I don’t like mine chilled, so I try to either remember to set it out long enough to come to room temp, or nuke it for just a few seconds to take the chill off.

With some sweet pickles and maybe a slice or two of cheese, this makes an excellent lunch. Plenty of protein from the tuna and the beans and chickpeas. Vitamins from the veggies. Barely a carb in the house. It’s plumb healthy. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em make you up some and keep it in the refrigerator; it’ll at least make you feel virtuous about doing something toward those resolutions.




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