“We’ve got sunlight on the sand We’ve got moonlight on the sea We’ve got mangoes and bananas we can pick right off a tree” (Rogers and Hammerstein, “There is Nothing Like a Dame” from the musical South Pacific.
It’s always nice to sit down to a complete meal, but the truth is that most of us often need something quick and easy. Fortunately, plants provide a wealth of foods that require little or no preparation and are really at their best and most nutritious when eaten fresh from the tree, bush, or vine. Just wash and enjoy. Some, you can eat with the peeling. Some, like bananas and oranges, come in an easy-to-remove biodegradable wrapper. If you have just a bit of time, you can combine them in salads or fabulous dessert plates.
It’s a good idea to clean the surfaces carefully to eliminate bacteria that they might have picked up in the process of bringing it from the farm or orchard to your pantry. Here’s a quick guide to getting these natural fast foods ready to eat.
How to clean them
1. If you will eat the peeling, it’s a good idea to scrub it with a vegetable brush.
2. If you’re going to peel it, a good rinse, clean hands, and maybe a clean knife are all you need.
3. For porous foods like lettuce or strawberries, soak briefly (3 minutes or less) in a solution of water and vinegar (plain old cheap vinegar will do the trick)–about 1 part of vinegar to 3 parts of water.
If you are limiting or restricting processed oil, avocado can give you the creaminess and healthy fat you crave in a salad dressing. Or maybe you just love avocado anytime anywhere any way!
PREP TIME 15 min / COOK TIME none / NEED blender or food processor / MAKES about 1 1/2 cups
INGREDIENTS 1 AVOCADO, peeled and roughly chopped / 2 Tbsp LIME JUICE / 1 tsp SALT (or to taste) / dash of BLACK PEPPER (or to taste–optional) / 1/2 cup almond milk / 2 Tbsp water (or enough to achieve desired consistency)
Put all ingredients in blender. Blend on low speed until creamy.
If you like hot stuff, omit the pepper flakes, adjust the salt and pepper, and add as much of your favorite hot sauce as it takes to make you happy!
PREP TIME 15 min / COOK TIME 4 min / NEED non-stick skillet / MAKES 2 servings
INGREDIENTS 1 head of CAULIFLOWER / 1 clove GARLIC / juice of 1 LIME (about 2 Tbsps) / SALT to taste / BLACK PEPPER to taste / 1 Tbsp NUTRITIONAL YEARS (optional) / RED PEPPER flakes (optional) / 1/2 cup chopped CHIVES
Remove stems from CAULIFLOWER, wash, and break into florets.
Heat non-stick skillet until a drop of water sizzles. Add chopped GARLIC and CAULIFLOWER.
Stir and cook over low heat until cauliflower turns light brown.
Add LIME JUICE, SALT, PEPPER, NUTRITIONAL YEAST and PEPPER FLAKES. Stir thoroughly and remove from heat.
I prefer my guacamole without chile, but for a real Mexican, it’s practically indispensable!
PREP TIME 20 min / COOK TIME none / NEED bowl / MAKES 4 servings
INGREDIENTS 2 ripe peeled and pitted AVOCADOS / 1/2 cup chopped TOMATOES / 1/4 cup chopped ONION / 1/4 cup chopped CILANTRO / 1/2 clove crushed or very finely chopped GARLIC / juice of 1 LEMON (about 2 Tbsps) / 1 small serrano CHILE (optional) / SALT and PEPPER to taste
Mash 2 ripe, peeled and pitted AVOCADOS until creamy.
Stir in 1/2 cup chopped TOMATOES,1/4 cup chopped ONION, 1/4 cup chopped CILANTRO, 1/2 clove crushed or very finely chopped GARLIC, juice of 1 LEMON (about 2 Tbsps), 1 small serrano CHILE (optional), SALT and PEPPER to taste.
INGREDIENTS1 Tbs GROUND CHIA OR FLAX SEEDS / 3Tbs WATER (Eggs provide structure, moisture and richness; they act as a leavening ingredient. Chia and Flax gels need help with leavening, but make satisfactory substitutes for eggs in baked goods. If you start with whole seeds, grind the amount you need in a coffee grinder.)
PREP TIME 15 min / COOK TIME none / NEED coffee grinder / MAKES 1 egg substitute
Combine 1Tbs GROUND CHIA OR FLAX SEEDS with 3 TBS WATER.
Stir well and let set at least 10 minutes before using.
Don’t throw that water out after you cook chickpeas!
Aquafaba, the viscous water in which legume seeds like chickpeas have been cooked, can be used as a replacement for egg whites in some recipes, including meringues and marshmallows. It is also recommended for use in mayonnaise substitutes. Two tablespoons of aquafaba are recommended to replace one egg white. The nutritional content of aquafaba has not been well established because the discovery in 2014 of its ability to mimic egg whites is relatively new.