Loaded Veggie Tacos

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When I moved to New York, I learned a whole lot about tacos right from the start. The shredded lettuce, canned corn kernels and chopped tomato add ins of my childhood were all of a sudden nowhere to be seen – instead, the most elaborate combinations were served up and a food concept I had felt sort of “meh” about for a while became a new favorite. I recall this one conversation I had with Mike early on, where I sort of “explained” to him that in Sweden, we approach tacos in a much different way. I went on and on about the standard concept of ground beef, the aforementioned vegetables, the taco sauce or salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese – only to have Mike tell me afterwards that that’s how tacos are normally eaten in America too. Little did I know, back then, that I’d only been taken to these contemporary, trendy Mexican food places, where pickled red onions, thinly sliced radishes and habanero relish had just recently risen to the sky as the “new black” of taco toppings.

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Winter Lasagna

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The epitome of comfort food. The indisputable superstar of hearty, filling, energy-packed meals. And probably the best leftovers ever. Enter: lasagna. In all honesty, we don’t make it too, too often but instead save it for when go on e.g. ski trips and want plenty of food prepared. This particular version got to come with us on our most recent voyage up north, and let’s just say it hit the spot like nothing else after hours and hours of skiing, a sauna session and a shower (that we were hungry for another snack just an hour later wasn’t the lasagna’s fault, but rather nature’s – if it hadn’t been so darn pretty, we wouldn’t have stayed out until sunset and thereby been a tad less famished. But hey, more nature AND double evening snacks? Bring it on).

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Winter Kale Salad

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Yes, yes. Another one. But what can you do, when your garden still produces armfuls of fresh kale, despite constant sub-freezing temperatures and a decent snow cover? We throw together kale salads all the time, and only rarely do we follow any kind of recipe (not even our own, to be honest). Because kale salads are almost like those I-need-to-clear-out-the-fridge-soups – you grab whatever needs to be used up and put it all in a bowl together with massaged kale and a dressing (preferably a simple, creamy one). We usually think like this: kale – legumes – starchy vegetables – onion – something sweet – something crunchy – dressing. Use that formula, and you’ll be golden! This time, the combination looks like this: kale – chickpeas – potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes – roasted red onion – crispy apple cubes – toasted sunflower seeds – rosemary tahini dressing. I can’t really think of any combinations that wouldn’t work… except maybe roasted carrots. Or am I crazy to say that? It might be good. Yes, it probably is (I apologize, carrots).

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Roasted Red Cabbage

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This recipe will (humbly) serve as the first one in our little ‘stay local’ challenge we hope you’ll join us in throughout the month of February. This time of the year – here in the north – it’s easy to think produce options are few and far between and that one simply HAS to rely on imported vegetables to survive. While we always eat this way, we wanted to draw some extra attention to the plethora of storage friendly, amazing veggies we actually do get to choose from this cold, snowy time of the year, and really try to inspire all of you to… well, ‘stay local’. So join in, and opt for sustainable vegetable super heroes the coming month – and leave the asparagus, avocados and snap peas from afar be for bit. Instead, cook with potatoes, parsnips, beets, sunchokes, carrots, rutabaga, celery root, cabbage, kale, onions, kohlrabi, daikon, salsify, winter squash… the list is so long!

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Winter “Spring” Risotto

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Hey, what’s this business about? Well, it’s a risotto that oozes spring (well, at least a little) while only relying on ingredients perfectly available this time of the year (a.k.a. winter). Having a bag of frozen green peas on hand can be a gold mine when time is limited, when vegetables are lacking on the plate or when you feel a little sick and tired of cabbage and root veggies (it happens to us too). They cook in literally no time at all, pack tons of nutrients, cost close to nothing, love growing in Sweden/places where it’s cold… it’s a winner any day of the week. When added to a risotto, they even feel quite fancy and sophisticated. Personally, we feel like peas don’t have nearly as good of reputation as they should – but we’re here to change that.

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Black Bean Brownies

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In all honesty, we were kind of like… really? when first hearing about black bean baked goods. Don’t get us wrong (I doubt you would by now), we LOVE beans and lentils. They’re the best. But we also love our baked goods. Cakes, cookies, buns… you know, the whole spectrum. And around here, we tend to lean towards the attitude of “if you’re going to bake buns, bake buns. Not a ‘health-ified’ bun that no one will really enjoy anyway”. I think you get my point. But we also happen to know that from a sports nutrition point of view, having an evening snack with a touch of protein is beneficial. And one simply can’t have too much of all the good stuff in legumes. Enter black bean-based baked goods.

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Fava Bean Patties

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For those of you unfamiliar with the looks of fava beans (or “broad beans” as they’re also called), they come in long, flat-ish, light green pods when seen fresh, and they’re quite exquisite. They’re also a p-a-i-n to peel. Actually, speaking of peeling them – both Mike and I can still recall this one really funny story our good friend Grant once told us, about when he was out at a nice restaurant and ordered fresh fava beans as a starter. Aware of the hassle of peeling fava beans, he was very excited at the thought of getting to enjoy this early summer delicacy without having to do anything himself. Well, or so he thought. You can easily imagine his disappointment when the waiter put down the plate in front of him, and all he could see was a pile of pods… He had to roll up his sleeves and peel them all himself!

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Lentil Bolognese

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Calling it “bolognese” is… well, not the most accurate description if you would ask the bolognese puritans out there. It definitely doesn’t contain any meat. It doesn’t really taste like bolognese, either (but I honestly can’t even remember what it does taste like? It’s been 19 years now!). But. This is a tomato-based, spaghetti loving, sauce-y, delicious concoction, after all, so what else to call it? It seems like old news by now, but this is yet another dish we LOVE to make a giant batch of, and then eat for leftovers as well as put in the freezer for more dire times. For example, we made a big batch for the ski trip we’re currently on. Ah, what could trump a whole day cross country skiing in the mountains, followed by some sauna time and then a big bowl of spaghetti lentil bolognese? Not much, in our opinion.

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Granola Bars

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Making your own energy bars is a MUST if you’re on a tight budget. Store-bought ones are expensive, and making your own is as easy as it is cheap. We started making our own in 2016, when we had decided we were going to quit our jobs and move to Sweden. We were looking to save up as much money as we possibly could, and our little apartment quickly turned into a DIY studio as a result of that. Granola, yogurt, packed lunches… we had a whole operation going on.

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Winter Minestrone

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The best thing about minestrone is that you can whip it up with things you most likely have at home already. Some kind of pasta, some kind of lentil or bean, random vegetables and a few tetras or cans of crushed tomatoes – that’s it. The heartiness of minestrone makes it one of our cold season favorites. We tend to make it more stew-like than soup-like, and filling enough to not need bread on the side (even though bread is always a good idea). Using both green lentils and cannellini beans ups the protein content nicely, so even hungry athletes can trust this meal to do the trick. All in all, it’s a winner any day of the week.

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