Quick Fix: Edamame and Peas

by | Aug 6, 2008

We are all in a hurry sometimes. I happened to be in a hurry tonight. I won’t bore you with the details, but I got held up at work today and had more things to do when I got home than I could really fathom (including writing this post). I needed dinner, I needed it to be healthy (I’m going out twice tomorrow and for dinner Friday–wish me luck) and, most important, I needed it to be quick.

What to do?
I can’t stress this enough: stock frozen vegetables.
One of my most reliable dinners is sauteed soy beans (edamame), petite peas, pistachios and basil. To prepare, heat some olive oil in a pan, toss in half a chopped shallot or any mild onion like leeks or Maui (you should always have onion, garlic and some kind of fresh herb in the house–this is what weekends are for) and some kind of nut (these also have a long shelf-life). I prefer the roasted, unsalted pistachio “nut meats” from Trader Joe’s, but you can choose whatever you like or have available (walnuts, cashews and almonds are all delicious).
Let the onion and nuts cook for a few minutes until just starting to brown, add sea or kosher salt, then dump in about 1/2 cup of frozen, shelled soy beans (per person). If you are unfamiliar with soy beans, they look like lima beans only a little smaller (and they taste better). Stir them to cover in oil. Once shimmering, add an appropriate volume of frozen petite peas (petite peas are far sweeter and more delicate than regular peas) and mix. While cooking, crush and chop a clove of garlic. Clear space in the center of the pan and add garlic in a single layer. When garlic becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds), stir contents of pan. Add a handful of whole or chopped basil leaves (or any other herb you have in the house), salt and pepper to taste, and mix another few seconds. Remove from heat when beans and peas are bright green and the herbs have wilted. Do not let brown.
Usually I eat this dish on a bed of (1/4 cup) brown rice. Today I threw in some chopped raddichio (with the basil) and served it on a bed of brown rice and purslane, because I had it. This added depth (and nutrients) to the dish, but is not necessary. Spinach is another nice accompaniment that can be added with the herbs. Please do not over-cook, this shouldn’t take very long.
Whole grains should be prepared in large batches and frozen in individual servings in plastic wrap. To thaw, run under warm (not hot) water for a minute or two until you can remove the plastic, then microwave (covered) for approximately 1 minute.
What is your favorite quick, healthy dinner?
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8 Responses to “Quick Fix: Edamame and Peas”

  1. Jed Wolpaw says:

    I once bought fresh broccoli and froze it and it was HORRIBLE when I thawed it out. Do you know why? I now stick to buying bagged trader joes florettes.

  2. Anonymous says:

    OMG that looks sooooo good!!!! How many calories do you think are one that plate?

  3. jeff h says:

    Best quick “healthy” meal I create? Hmm. Probably nothing falls under the category of healthy in my world. But I’m all about beans and rice. I can make a bucketful of mexican rice and cook up some black beans and then I can eat quesadillas all freakin week. Bonus points for guacamole and of course hot salsa.Otherwise, just throw down some spinach salad and grill up some tofu to throw on top with some feta.

  4. Darya Pino says:

    Hi Jed:Yes, you shouldn’t bother to try freezing your own fresh vegetables. As I’m sure you know, water expands when it is frozen. If you freeze living cells, this expansion causes the cell membranes (or cell walls in the case of plants) to burst, leaving vegetables flaccid and mushy. Fresh vegetables that you get in a grocery store are frozen in a different way. Scientists discovered that if you freeze things fast enough (with VERY cold substances like liquid nitrogen) then the water doesn’t have time to expand and so cells can be preserved this way. Industrial vegetable producers have this technology, but you probably don’t have it in your house.

  5. Jed Wolpaw says:

    Okay, listen up readers of Darya’s blog: I broke away from bagged Trader Joe’s meals and cooked this pistachio medley tonight and it was DELICIOUS. Darya, next delicious, easy, fast recipe please? 🙂

  6. Darya Pino says:

    Dear Anon,It was good! I don’t normally count calories (if you eat real food, calories take care of themselves), but I could probably figure it out for fun.Olive oil is probably 120, same for the soy beans (1/2 cup). The peas package says 70 calories for 3/4 cup, but I only used about 1/4, so say 30 cal. That puts us at 270. The rice (1/4 cup, cooked, brown) is probably 60 cal. Purslane, basil and raddichio are negligable. Nuts are about 200.So since most people underestimate their calorie intake, lets round up to 600. That’s good because when I first read your post I thought it would be between 500-600.I hope this helps!! (but don’t get too hung up on calories)

  7. AJ says:

    Came home to a nearly empty kitchen, so I made this recipe. Yum!!

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