Quick and Crunchy White Bean Salad

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In all honesty, this wasn’t meant to become a share-worthy recipe. We were making dinner a few weeks ago, and the scene was really a whole mishmash of leftovers, summer veggies pulled from the freezer and some potatoes from the pantry. We were lacking sufficient protein, so I decided to whip up a side salad with beans as the main ingredient, while Mike was managing the rest of the pots and pans. The outcome exceeded our expectations, reminded us of a dish we used to cook often back in New York, and left us if not hungry for more that day, as least interested in making it again. So we did. And then a third time. And after that, we deemed it recipe-worthy, so… here it is.

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Root Vegetable Grain Bowl

Ah, wheat berries. Again. You’ll have to excuse us, but we love them! Nuttier and chewier than rice and about a million times more eco-friendly, it’s a winner any day. Another fun grain alternative is naked oats (Swedish: nakenhavre). Have you ever tried it? Really good as well, and actually even more of a nutritional power house than wheat berries, with higher protein content among other things. We’re working on developing some recipes with naked oats too, so stay tuned! But anyway. I think the first time wheat berries ended up in our home was back in New York, when Mike bought some with the intention of making his own wheat flour. Only, his coffee grinder surprisingly didn’t do the trick (it was hysterically funny) so the box was forgotten about for a while until one of those let’s-clean-out-the-cabinets cooking endeavors took place, and those wheat berries were put in a kale salad of some sorts. Since then, they’ve become a staple, and I’d say we eat wheat berries at least once a week.

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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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Wheat Berry “Fried Rice”

If it wasn’t for the fact that “fast food” has the world’s worst connotation, I’d go ahead and call this top-notch vegetarian fast food for athletes (and others too, of course). It packs in protein, slow carbohydrates, vegetables, plenty of flavor AND comes together in literally 20 min, start to finish. We often have this for lunch, in order to be ready to go for an afternoon run a few hours later. This time of year, we often crave something warming for lunch, while summertime often sees a sandwich, wrap or salad bowl come midday. Traditionally, it’s obviously made with rice, and while rice is delicious and all, we tend to opt out whenever we can, in favor for more eco-friendly alternatives. Swapping rice for wheat or oat berries is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint, which we of course try to do as much as we possibly can. Carrots and peas are among the superstars when it comes to food and emissions – primarily field grown and lovers of the Nordic climate, these are staples almost all year round at our house.

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Carrot-Ginger Soup with Sweet Potatoes

How many recipes for carrot-ginger soup do you think there are out there, spinning around in cyberspace? Many, for sure. Can we agree the reason probably is because it’s pretty darn delicious and everyone wants to take a stab at making their personal favorite? That’s what we’ve been thinking, at least, and here we are. Carrot soup is probably one of the lighter meals you’ll ever serve yourself (unless you add a generous amount of heavy cream, which some people do), and it sure doesn’t hold us over for very long. Therefore, we took it upon ourselves to make a little heartier of a version. Maybe not hearty enough to make up a full meal for the active person, or for the runner who just kicked off their wet shoes after hours worth of training in the November rain (we hear you), but enough to make up the base for a dinner (or lunch). We recommend serving this with pita wedges (which you can make from making this flatbread) and some sort of bean spread (such as the white bean “hummus”), or simply as a starter.

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Yellow Pea Soup

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Yellow pea soup might not be oozing cool factor or feel very hip – but it should! You can’t really ask for more bang for your buck than what you get here – we’re talking nutrient dense and gut mobilizing yellow peas (how about 22 grams protein and 11 grams fiber per 100 gram dried?), simply cooked with leek and carrots and blended into a warming, hearty, fall-friendly meal. Peas deserve a lot more (positive) attention than they get. Besides being great for us, they’re also quite awesome for our planet. See, peas (together with all their other legume friends) possess the ability to fix nitrogen, i.e. converting nitrogen from the air into ammonium in the soil, which is needed for plants to grow big and strong. Or, it’s actually not the legumes themselves that do all the work – they need to cooperate with a bacteria (the rhizobia bacteria) that (symbiotically) live in their root systems. Peas are also well suited for field growing – meaning no green houses needed whatsoever – and can easily be cultivated even here, far up north. All in all, peas are awesome for everyone and everything, whether we have two or four or however many legs, grow in the ground or spin us all around the sun.

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