Green is Good

Garden hobby-ing aside, I'm trying to eat more plant-based meals these days.

After taking on a six-week fitness challenge earlier this year that included a vegetable and protein-heavy meal plan,  I'm working vegetables into my diet in ways that I never did prior.

Example: this alien-colored smoothie. 

A recipe from McKel Hill's Nutrition Stripped, the Creamy Ginger Green Smoothie has a few unpredictable ingredients. Sure, bananas are common. But throw in an avocado, spinach, ginger, lemon, dates and this curveball - tahini, usually reserved in the Adams household for batches of hummus -- and this ain't your average blended beverage.

I didn't have dates so I swapped it for a few dashes of stevia for sweetness. I also included some extra grated ginger, as I am a ginger freak. We bought a whole root of ginger from the Charlotte Regional Farmer's Market from a vendor selling primarily Asian produce. I've frozen it and just take it out and grate it on my Microplane (thanks again Peaches & Curry for the great hostess gift way back in the day! I use it all the time.) 

I wasn't expecting to fall in love with this recipe but I loved the texture and the refreshing ginger and citrus flavor. I'll make this one again soon. 

Another dreamy green recipe I made last night came about, thanks to someone who is always looking out for me and our shared culinary interests, my BFF Eric. You know you have a good friend when they text you menu photos while at a restaurant. Maybe that's a little tacky but if he hadn't I probably would have a mess of rotting shishito peppers in my crisper drawer right now.

Thanks to Eric and the ingenious Vivian Howard at Chef & The Farmer of Kinston, NC (and star of the PBS show A Chef's Life),  I now know that having an abundance of shishito peppers growing in your garden is a good thing. While I don't have Vivian's recipe, her menu inspired me to hunt around the Internet for the same good idea, leading me to Food & Wine's Shishito Romesco sauce 

I went easy on the olive oil, so it was more of a paste than a sauce. But I was so eager to try it -- and to use up some peppers while they're still fresh -- that I doubled the recipe and whizzed it up easily in my food processor, formerly known as "the Hummus Machine." Sidebar: I should learn how to properly use the processor for other things like chopping and shredding. If you have tips please send them my way.

But wow - who would think that charred peppers + roasted almonds + lemon zest and juice + breadcrumbs would amount to such a creamy condiment? I knew about red pepper romesco but this is less sweet and more vegetal-tasting. Hard to describe, but very easy to enjoy on your plate. Later this week I plan to use it to top sautéed shrimp and rice with fresh diced tomatoes for a fairly simple weeknight dinner. Also a favorable serving suggestion: dip your finger in the sauce, and then into your mouth. Voila, or as Scott's former GIS instructor said, "VOE-LAH!" (That just kills me every time I hear it. You try saying it.)

Have you found a different way to add veggies to your meals? I'd love to hear about it, or any other adventures in food you'd had lately. Feel free to comment below, or email me.