For Valentine’s Day, I was out with the Harboring Hearts team for a fundraiser at the Ainsworth – so the following day, I decided to cook my mom a (belated) heart-healthy V-day special. Since I’ve been involved in Harboring Hearts, and February is heart month, I felt that the best way to show my mom I love her was by serving a dish that was as delicious as it was nutritious.
And it honestly was – I loved the way the freshly-made white-bean puree / ‘hummus’ gave it a layer of great flavor (instead of a fattening sauce), and it served as an extra dose of nutrition with the vegetables & nuts. Plus – it was so easy to make in the food processor!
Remember: even though February (Heart Month) is coming to a close, you can always show your loved ones that you care by making something heart-healthy & delicious! And don’t forget to remind them to take care of their hearts by getting routinely checked out.
For this dish, I googled what kinds of spices are used together in Mediterranean food and went from there. Giving a bit of thought to nutrition for my health-conscious mom, rummaging through the fridge & pantry, and with a little inspiration from Food Network, I came up with this:
Vegetable pitas & white bean hummus
Whole wheat pita pockets
For the ‘hummus’:
1 (15-ounce) can white beans (cannellini) or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 to 2 tablespoons water
handful of grated parmesan (can use manchego or pecorino romano cheese)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
(this is a slightly altered recipe from Food Network for white bean puree)
For the vegetables:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped into quarters
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp thyme (add more to taste – didn’t actually measure it!)
1/2 tsp oregano (“)
fresh feta cheese, crumbled
dried cranberries (“craisins”)
Optional: handful mint, chopped
Heat olive oil on big saute pan with pinch or two of black pepper. Turn heat low to cook garlic till it releases its fragrance (under a minute), then add onions and cook for another minute. Add peppers, cook for a couple minutes, watching it so it softens only slightly. Add zucchini and cook till desired tenderness. Add thyme, oregano, s&p, stir and add more to taste. Add generous handful of craisins and stir. Remove pan from heat and add crumbled feta (and mint if available) to the vegetables, stirring gently.
Combine the white beans, water, cheese, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes in a food processor (I used a blender) and puree until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. While the motor is running, pour in the olive oil and process until fully incorporated and velvety. Season with pepper to taste. (also from Food Network)
Lightly toast the pitas in an oven/toaster. Spoon in some hummus to coat the inside and then add vegetables. Add more hummus and mint to the top if desired, and enjoy! 🙂
Note: You can also see this post and more on my personal food blog, http://itsallfoodlove.blogspot.com. Thanks! -Pareesha