Baked Summer Ratatouille
One of the first local recipes we made for the Oregon Food Bank's Eat Local Challenge!
I’m trying a new thing on the blog today. I’ve been trying to take my recipes in new directions, and there are a lot I’m interested in – learning how to make the big-guns cool stuff, obviously the delicious confections, brunch (which we’ve been doing almost every weekend for a while) and also health food. It’s about time there was some kind of order! So to begin with, I’m going to try to do a weekly health food piece.
Why starting with health food? Because I love cupcakes, and I love puff pastry, and I love handmade pasta. But I don’t eat any of those things every single week. The only food requirement I stick to constantly is that most of the food we eat (much of it doesn’t appear on the blog, because it’s a weeknight, etc) is fresh, healthy and works toward our fitness goals (namely: running lots, running well and running fast).
Here you won’t see any fake sugars, reduced-fat whatevers or weird substitutions in the name of lower calories. You’re going to see healthy ideas in realistic serving sizes that are good for your body and will help you meet your fitness goals. You will also see cupcakes, sour cream, brown butter and more, because I firmly believe that if you are working your butt off and eating healthy most of the time, you deserve a cupcake and it won’t kill your goals. And if you run more, it means you can have more cake (so I run 5 days/week ).
So that is the extremely shortened version of my fitness/food soapbox. And here’s the first of what I hope is many fitness-friendly recipes: White bean hummus.
When it comes to fitness, I preach the gospel of legumes. There is no better source of protein, and yes, I am including meat in that statement. Why’s that? One word: fiber. Meat and beans are very similar when it comes to calorie content, and both are great sources of protein.
But no fitness or weight goal will be reached without a healthy fiber intake, and no meat contains fiber. It keeps you feeling full, and it keeps your digestive system healthy (mini-soapbox: I hate it when headlines/articles say “sweat off pounds!” You don’t sweat off pounds! That is called dehydration. Sigh).
Here’s what you need for 4 half-cup servings, ish:
Put all of these things in your food processor and puree. You can play with the amount of oil to change the texture. If you like thicker hummus, start by using just splashes of the liquids and running the processor. Taste, observe, and add more if you need.
One half-cup serving of this hummus has 150 calories. Any number of freshly-cut vegetables would still keep it as an under-200 calorie snack. With slices of tomatoes and bread, you are probably talking more like 300 calories (When using it as a spread, I use less hummus as a serving).
Anyway, I hope this has been useful and is something you guys enjoy reading. I spend a lot of time thinking about fresh, healthy dinner and snack ideas because I sit at a desk during the day surrounded by Girl Scout cookies (best job in the world!). It’s better for all of us that I don’t eat those all the time.