Now that I’ve been gluten-free for ten years, I find it funny to think I ever believed that lunch should be a sandwich. Or pasta. Or pizza. Or anything derived from flour. Why wasn’t I eating this for lunch in 2005?
I know why. It’s because everything in this culture says that lunch should be handheld. I’m still blown away by how many meals in America are eaten in a car every week. (I’ve read 20 to 33%. Yikes.) You couldn’t eat this lunch in a car. It’s true. That’s one of the reasons I love it.
When I first had to give up gluten, I didn’t immediately look for replacements for all the bread, pasta, and pizza I had to give up. Instead, after years of being sick, I looked at the foods that would feed me, the foods that were full of nutrition, far more important than first mouthfeel. (In our house now, with kids, we call it “energy food,” the foods that will sustain you through the day.) And one category of foods came clearly into view for me:
Vegetables are the one category of food that everyone agrees is good. No one seems to shout about arugula, red cabbage, mizuna, yellow onions, sweet potatoes, or zucchini being bad for you, somehow. (It might be the only category of food that quietly keeps feeding us.) Fruits are great too but some people think they have too much sugar and avoid most of them. (Not here.) The role of great produce is pretty indisputable.
That’s why we joined up with Pink Ribbon Produce as sponsors. This program, which you can read about more in our earlier post about them, promotes produce in Harris Teeter retailers to promote awareness of breast cancer. Who can’t support that effort?
We’d like to offer you one of our favorite lunches around here: a baked sweet potato piled with more vegetables and a special green sauce.
Roast a medium-sized sweet potato at 400° until the skin is crisp and the flesh soft, about 45 minutes.
Cut it open and top one half with microgreens, pickled red onions, goat feta, and sunflower seeds. (Of course, every time we make this, we use whatever vegetables we have on hand.)
Here’s the unexpected touch. Danny poured 11 ounces (the entire container) of Evolution Fresh’s Emerald Greens juice into a saucepan and put it on low heat. (Evolution Fresh is one of the sponsors of Pink Ribbon Produce.) He let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, swirling it around in the pan every now and again, until the juice was reduced to a thick 1/4 cup. This was our green vegetable sauce, the flecks of which you see around the sweet potato. It was such a lovely hint of greenness in the dish.
We often reduce green juice to a sauce like this. It’s a good way to go when you want to top more vegetables with a bit of green. Leave some in the refrigerator for the next time you bake a sweet potato for lunch.