tomorrow’s lunch has some super-healthy chard wraps (nutrient-rich steamed chard leaves, filled with zuchinni-eggplant-brown rice gratin) and mini lentil-cashew patties. indulging my last winter ingredient cravings before embracing the change of seasons in my kitchen… recipes and nutritional information below.
zuchinni-eggplant-brown rice gratin (adapted from cooking light recipe and used to stuff greens, as inspired by the tone it up nutrition plan‘s “tempeh collard wraps” and “bikini wraps”) — makes 8 servings
this makes a delicious family-style entree, accompanied by a salad with a tangy vinaigrette and lots of tomatoes. it also freezes well, and can be repurposed as stuffing for grape leaves, cabbage or chard rolls (as i’ve done in the above bento), or even stuffed mushrooms or peppers.
- 3/4 cup dry long grain brown rice
- heaping 1/3 cup short grain brown rice
- approx. 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 large (approx. 16 oz.) eggplant
- 1 medium-large (approx. 8 oz.) zucchini
- 1/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 2 oz. grated parmesan, plus 6 tbsp. reserved for topping
- 6 tbsp. panko
- cooking spray
- preheat your oven to 375 degrees. chop the eggplant — leaving the skin on — into approx. 3/4-inch cubes. quarter each zucchini lengthwise, and then chop into approx. 1-inch pieces. line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, add a light coat of cooking spray, and distribute the chopped vegetables in an even layer. sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender, using a spatula to flip and re-distribute the veggies about half-way through the cooking time. roast an additional 5 at 425 degrees if you want to caramelize slightly.
- while the veggies are roasting, add to your ricemaker the rice and the amount of water specified in your manufacturer’s instructions. (in my ricemaker, the “cup” is not an actual standard cup size — it’s more like 3/4 cup. so, the above rice amounts represent 1 and 1/2 of this model’s “cups”, and for that amount, i fill with water to the “3” line.
- when veggies are roasted and rice is cooked, you’re ready to continue. crack your eggs into a bowl and beat. add the soy milk and 2 ounces of parmesan, and set off to the side.
- next, in a large sautee pan or wok, add the olive oil as well as a light coating of cooking spray. sautee the chopped onion until translucent, and add the minced garlic. add the roasted veggies, and cut off the heat.
- when the pan has cooled a bit, add the cooked rice and mix to evenly distribute the cooked veggies. then add the egg-and-cheese mixture and mix until everything is evenly coated.
- lightly spray a standard casserole pan (i use a pyrex dish that measures 13 x 9 inches) with cooking spray. spread the veggie-rice-egg-cheese mixture into the pan. pack the mixture down slightly (this is what will ensure you can cut clean portions out of it and it doesn’t fall apart like fried rice).
- mix the panko and remaining parmesan in a small bowl, and then evenly distribute over the top of the rice mixture.
- cover in aluminum foil and bake for approx. 20 minutes at 375. for the last 5 minutes, remove the foil so that the cheese-and-breadcrumb topping browns slightly.
i cooked these a while back for a low-cal recipe party. when made as little “slider” size as directed here, they are perfect appetizers, or a nice side dish for a light entree like a bento lunch. the original recipe produces larger patties, which in combination with pita buns or flatbreads make a hearty lunch portion. either size freezes just fine, though the patties do tend to become a little more fragile/crumbly upon defrosting and reheating.
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup green lentils or garbanzo beans
- 1 cup diced peeled carrots
- 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus cooking spray for pan-searing the patties later
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. curry powder
- 1/2 cup panko
- salt and pepper to taste
- 7 1/3 tbsp. (22 tsp.) greek yogurt dip (i like sabra’s onion and herb flavor)
- 22 cherry tomatoes
- combine water, lentils/garbanzos, and carrots into a saucepan and bring to a boil. follow the cooking instructions for your legumes — the different types and colors have various different cooking times.
- in a dry (un-oiled) sautee pan, toast your cashews, monitoring closely to ensure they don’t burn. pour into a bowl or plate and put off to the side to cool.
- add your olive oil to the same pan, and cook the onions until just translucent. add the curry powder and mix until evenly distributed and fragrant. add your garlic and cook for another 20 seconds or so, and then cut off the heat.
- in a food processor, pulse the cashews until they reach a coarse, mealy texture. drain your lentil-carrot mixture and add to the food processor’s bowl, and scoop your onion-curry-garlic mixture in there as well. pulse a few times just until the mixture comes together.
- dump the mixture into a bowl, and add your panko, as well as salt and pepper to taste. you could add any other dried herbs you wish (thyme would be nice!) at this stage.
- with a small bowl of water off to the side, wet your hands and form small patties from the mixture. each patty should be formed from about 2 heaping tbsp. of the mixture, but you need to compress it firmly to get it to hold together — don’t be afraid to really squeeze it! the patties will ultimately look like they are only about 1heaping tbsp. each — that’s how firmly they should be compacted.
- when all of the mixture has been turned to patties, lightly spray your sautee pan with cooking spray (no need to wipe out the oil/curry residue leftover from cooking the onions, unless there are little bits that might burn) and “sear” your patties for about 2 minutes on each side. this mixture is fairly dry, so the patties won’t really “fry” without adding more oil (which you could totally do, that’s just not what this calorie total accounts for). do this in two or three batches of patties — don’t overcrowd the pan. or, just do one batch, and refrigerate/freeze the rest of the formed patties for another meal.
- top each patty with 1 tsp. of the yogurt dip and a cherry tomato.
— ♥ —
here are the stats for this lunch —
- 1 serving of zuchinni-eggplant-brown rice gratin, 204 calories (5.0 g. fat [2.3 g. saturated, 0.2 g. poly, 0.6 g. mono], 62.3 mg. cholesterol, 190.6 mg. sodium, 82.8 mg. potassium, 32.4 g. carbs [4.5 g. fiber, 4.7 g. sugar], 9.0 g. protein, 7.4% vitamin C, 16.3% clacium, 6.1% iron)
- approx. 1 cup (3 large leaves) steamed swiss chard, 35 calories (1.3 g. fat, 961 mg. potassium, 7.2 g. carbs [3.7 g. fiber, 0.7 g. sugar], 3.3 g. protein, 109% vitamin A, 53% vitamin C, 10% calcium, 22% iron)
- 1/3 tsp. red pepper hummus (dabbed on the chard rolls), 7 calories (0.4 g. fat, 23.3 mg. sodium, 0.8 g. carbs [0.2 g. fiber, 0.2 g. sugar], 0.3 g. protein)
- 1/8 tbsp. sesame seeds (another chard roll garnish), 6 calories (0.6 g. fat [0.1 g. saturated, 0.2 g. poly, 0.2 g. mono], 0.1 mg. sodium, 5.3 mg. potassium, 0.3 g. carbs [0.1 g. fiber], 0.2 g. protein)
- 2 mini curried protein patties (this count includes the dip and tomato garnish), 122 calories (5.2 g. fat [0.9 g. sat, 0.7 g. poly, 2.8 g. mono], 1.7 mg. cholesterol, 63.6 mg. sodium, 121.4 mg. potassium, 13.5 g. carbs [2.4 g. fiber, 3.5 g. sugar], 5.6 g. protein, 34% vitamin A, 11.5% vitamin C, 3.8% calcium, 5% iron)
TOTAL: 374 calories — right on target!