Mung Bean Stew. (gluten free, vegan & delicious...oh my!)
Stew season is still upon us here in the great North East. Wait, let me start that off on a brighter note: Less than 30 days until spring! Eureka! However, until then, I feel a slight obligation to keep you well nourished during these dreadfully cold winter months. Or at least to continue to feed you soul warming recipes until detoxing spring veggies find their way back into the wellness hq kitchen.
Beans. There is a little jingle my Grandpa Ace used to sing to us (please, feel free to join in, I have a feeling you know the words): Ahem..."beans, beans, the musical fruit: The more you eat the more you...toot!" Yep. Gotta face the blush worthy reality sometimes sweet cheeks. Beans or not, rumor has it it's actually normal to pass gas 13-21 times a day. You'll never enter a crowded metro the same way again. Yes, I know, adding this soluable fiber do your diet doesn't sound all that sexy, but fiber is a key ingredient in colon health.
love note: It is SUPER important that beans are cooked correctly, in order for our beautiful bodies to property digest them. Soaking them over night (about 8-10 hours) not only cuts down on cooking time, it helps to remove the indigestible complex sugars (oligosaccharides) from the outer coating of the beans. It also preserves the most nutrients, so you get the benefits of all the proteins, vitamins and minerals in the beans and maximize their food value.
These little dudes are a crucial part of a plant based lifestyle - so all you veggie vixens listen up! Being that they're jam packed with protein and soluble fiber they give a filling touch to any meal. The fiber in beans is what gives them the "musical fruit" nick name. Now, I'm not insisting, nor do I recommend, you veg out and ladle in the beans at lunch (neither your gut nor your co-workers will appreciate that). If you're not one with the soluble fiber crowd, take it easy. As with most things in life, slow and steady is best. Add a little bit here and there (soluble & insoluble) to your daily routine and you'll be up to fiber par in no time!
How much fiber are we talking? The recommended intake is at least 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women. Most Americans are only getting HALF the daily recommendation. Eek.
love note: Up the fiber, up the fluids! Dehydration goes hand in hand with bloating and constipation.
Ummm...what is this thing you call "mung bean?" I'm so happy you asked! This mighty little mung bean originated in India. Being that they are rich in soluble fiber, when mixed with a hydrated body, they are shown to help lower LDL ("L" is for lousy) cholesterol. Being low on the glycemic index (the sugar index in other words) means they are a diabetic friendly food. These little emeralds are also chock full of protein, which, when coming from a vegetable has far less saturated fat and cholesterol than certain meat proteins. Triple whammy right there!
Ah, one of my all time favorite herbs: cilantro. I fell in love with cilantro around the same time I fell in love with Mexican food. I mean it makes sense - it adds that dose of vibrant color, fresh flavor and a slight hint of citrus to any dish. Although this recipe isn't quite inspired by Mexican cuisine, I try and slip in cilantro whenever I know it will marry well with the rest of the flavors.
This stunning herb is actually a powerful natural cleansing agent (which is perfect to pair with fiber rich dishes). Adding a handful to any kitchen master piece of yours, even your next morning smoothie, is a fool proof way to fire up your antioxidant levels. Viva cilantro!
2 cups sprouted mung beans (or dried and soaked for 8 hours, or over night)
1tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
400g frozen spinach, thawed and every drop of h2o squeezed out
6 cups low sodium veggie stock (or good ol' h2o)
sea salt to taste
1 can full fat coconut milk (390/400ml)
a hefty handful of cilantro, chopped + a bit more for an extra special presentation
cooked grain of choice (a hearty rice or quinoa are great gluten free options)
Heat oil in a dutch oven or stock pot. Add onion, garlic, spices and a generous pinch of salt. Saute until onions are transparent, stirring occasionally.
Add the drained spinach, mung beans of choice and veggie stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and let cook (covered) for about 40 minutes, or until the beans are soft.
Turn off the heat, stir in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve over a freshly cooked, warm grain and garnish with a generous hand of cilantro.
And so it is. A delicious, simple, vegan, gluten free meal!
love note: Ay yi yi! Stew overload? Psch, not an issue in the slightest! Spoon into freezer bags and store in the ice-box for a quick dinner when you're a bit pinched on time.
Damn, am I right? Cheers to stew season!
love + music making magic,