Last Friday, Divya from Flavour Fiesta invited me over for another cooking date – so fun! We threw around some ideas for new ‘Beauty Eats’ posts and then Divya made a light, yet still wonderfully filling lunch filled with vibrant colours. It’s true what they say – eat fruits and vegetables with lots of colours and you can be sure that they are loaded with antioxidant goodness! Today’s featured legumes? Beets and peas – made with style!
Last week, I experimented with one of the popular summer food trends -grilled fruit. The grilled nectarine tarts turned out really well, so I’m ready to experiment some more with something I’ve never tried before! Connie returned from her trip to Europe a few weeks ago and she came back with a lot of inspiration for me. She was actually able to get me a gorgeous menu from a tapas-style restaurant in Barcelona. It has pages and pages of scrumptious tapas items worth drooling over, so this week I’m experimenting with tapas-style appetizers.
I actually bought a tapas/amuse bouche set a few months ago, but never got around to using it. It has a beautiful slate base and modern shooter style glasses with ceramic serving spoons. I was able to finally use it for this week’s duo of appetizers! I wanted to keep things simple and healthy, so opted to use peas and beets for the appetizers. I know, it’s an unusual choice to serve peas with a beets dish, but it works! And best of all, the colours are gorgeous, especially the beets. The first appetizer, which can be served in shooter-style glasses, is a hearty pea soup with a drizzle of cayenne-garlic oil. No cream required! The second appetizer is beets tossed with garlic and lemon juice and served with a creamy goat cheese and thyme dressing.
This was actually my first time making beets at home, and I’m happy to say they turned out well! No need to fear beets again – they aren’t as messy to deal with as I thought. Just make sure you use a sharp knife – less juice runs out of the beets that way. I wanted to keep this dish vegetarian, but feel free to toss in crunchy bacon for texture if you’re a meat-eater. After all, doesn’t everything taste better with bacon!
For the the pea soup
2.5 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 red onion, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
3 cups frozen peas
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
For the beets
2 medium beets, peeled and diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp goat cheese
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
6 tbsp greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Prepare the cayenne-garlic oil for the pea soup. Heat 2.5 tbsp of oil on low heat and add 1 tsp of the minced garlic and the cayenne pepper. Fry to 1-2 minutes and let the mixture cool down. Strain and set aside.
Step 2: Add 1/2 tbsp of the oil prepared in step one in a medium saucepan and heat on medium. Fry the onions for 3-4 minutes. Add 1 tsp of minced garlic and continue to heat for 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Toss in the frozen peas and salt and cook for 4-5 minutes. Cool down slightly and blend the mixture using an electric blender.
Prior to serving the soup, add the lemon juice and pepper (if desired). Serve in shooter style glasses and drizzle the cayenne-garlic oil from step 1 on top of the soup.
Step 1: Steam the diced beets for 15-20 minutes or until they are cooked through. Set aside once cooked.
Step 2: Blend the goat cheese, yogurt, thyme, salt and pepper until even mixed.
Step 3: Prior to serving the beets, fry them for 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat with the oil and garlic. Turn the heat off and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Serve the beets in soup spoons or amuse bouche style serving spoons with a dollop of the thyme dressing.
I’m sure it’s fairly obvious why this delicious, vegetable-filled lunch is good for you, but here is a couple more interesting facts that you may not have known…
Beets: Their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities are stellar. A rock star blend of betalains (a powerful antioxidant), vitamin C and manganese makes beets a triple threat against our body’s harmful toxins. Fill your diet with beets, calm inflammation, and reduce your chances of turning ‘beet red’.
Greek yogurt: Studies are being released documenting probiotics and its ability to strengthen one’s skin barrier. Translation? Your skin becomes more resilient to potential irritants. Say goodbye to inflammation because a regular dose of probiotics will keep your skin calm and serene.
Goat cheese: Seems like a misnomer that cheese is listed as a healthy ingredient? I know what you’re going to say – it’s high in calcium, but also really high in fat, right? Well yes, you’re correct… unless you substitute with goat cheese. Not only does goat cheese contain 40% less fat than cheese created from cow’s milk, but it also boasts much higher percentages of vitamins A, B2, and selenium – all elements needed for pretty complexions. You’re welcome. I just gave you a perfect excuse to consume cheese…
Peas: “Good things come in small packages” and peas are no exception. With a slew of vitamins, minerals and even omega-3’s, peas may help give your skin that extra nutrition it needs to stay healthy and vibrant.
Let us know how it goes – leave a comment!