I used to be a very picky eater. I was also a self-proclaimed vegetable-hater. Funny though that I actually did like some veggies that I’ve heard a lot of people have a pure hatred for, such as cauliflower, cabbage, and lima beans. So I never really hated ALL vegetables, I just preferred not to eat them!
But ever since getting down to business on this whole getting healthy thing and trying to meet my 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, I am starting to venture out and try new veggies that I have never tried before. Hell, I even took on this challenge of going meatless on Mondays… talk about having to eat your vegetables!
So last week I was strolling through the produce area of Trader Joe’s (and I say area instead of department because my Trader Joe’s is not that big and neither is the part where you get produce), and I saw some baby bok choy. Since I like cabbage, and bok choy is a Chinese cabbage, I figured that I might like it, so I decided to add it to my basket. Ok, so it’s not the exact same as what we know as cabbage in America. If you are not familiar, it is more like a short little celery like white bulb, but less fibrous, with green leafy tops. (Yeah, I should have taken a picture before I cooked them. Oops. So check out some amazing pictures of baby bok choy on Use Real Butter, where Jen actually talks about their food photography workshop…so yeah, the photos are uber-good.) Turns out there are like 20 varieties of bok choy over in Hong Kong! All I’ve ever seen is regular bok choy and baby bok choy here in the states though. And baby bok choy has a sweeter flavor than adult varieties.
So there began the search for baby bok choy recipes on the internet. Since Meatless Monday was coming up, I decided to look for some main course recipes that involved baby bok choy. And I am seriously trying to get more protein into my Meatless Mondays (it’s kinda hard!), so I came across a recipe with baby bok choy and beans (that means vegetarian protein!) from Susan at FatFree Vegan Kitchen. SCREEEECCHHHH. Hold on, did I just say vegan? If you know me, you know I like meat. Meatless Monday is a stretch for me already, and now vegan? Well, don’t get too excitable “vegan-ites.” My version is not vegan, cuz I also love cheese… real cheese, not soy cheese.
And then there are just my personal updates… 1) I don’t own a pressure cooker, nor have I ever made polenta, and I needed something quick and easy, so I used prepared polenta, 2) I still hate bell peppers, so I left those out, 3) I’m still not a fan of onions either, so I used shallot basically puréed, and 4) I need to get in some healthy oil, where as Susan leaves out added oil (hence fat free), so I added olive oil. So check it out, here’s my version…
Baby Bok Choy, Beans & Baby Bellas Over Polenta
adapted from Fat Free Vegan
4 tsp olive oil, divided into 1 teaspoon and 3 teaspoons
1 small shallot, finely grated on small holes of a box grater
1 clove garlic
8 oz baby portobello mushrooms (“Baby Bellas”)
1/2 cup “chicken” flavored broth (I used Imagine Foods Organic)
6 oz (2 heads) baby bok choy
1 15-oz can dark red kidney beans, no salt added (I used Eden Foods Organic)
1 tsp dried basil
400g (4 servings) Basil & Garlic Polenta (16 1/4-inch slices) (I used San Gennaro)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 oz shaved Parmesan cheese (although you could use vegan soy “Parmesan-style cheese” to keep it vegan)
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil. Sauté the shallot and garlic for a minute, then add the mushrooms. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occationally, until mushrooms soften. Add the broth, bok choy, beans, and basil, stir well, and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes, until bok choy is soft.
While the vegetables cook, heat a cast iron skillet on medium high. Brush polenta slices with 3 tsp of olive oil. Add polenta slices to pan in batches to heat on both sides until slightly brown.
Stir vinegar into vegetables. Divide polenta slices among 4 plates, and top with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. (I actually needed to!)
Weight Watchers Good Health Guidelines Per Serving:
1 Serving Healthy Oil
1 serving Fruits & Vegetables
(find this recipe on the Weight Watchers Online Community here)
Low in Cholesterol
Good source of Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C & Vitamin K
265 calories, 8g fat, 3g sat fat, 10mg cholesterol, 558mg sodium, 35g carb, 11g fiber, 15g protein (see additional information as calculated on Nutrition Data)
NOTE: Entering this recipe in the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder comes out to 7 PointsPlus. Entering ingredients directly into the Weight Watchers Tracker also comes out to 7 PointsPlus. Entering the same ingredients into Nutrition Data, the nutrition information produced comes out to 6 PointsPlus. I can’t figure out where the difference lies, so I assume it is right on the line, and I went with 7 PointsPlus on the Weight Watchers site. This is now the second time that there has been a discrepancy, so it just goes to show, that it’s never completely exact, right!?!