Convene’s own Chef German joined Kidd O’Shea of ABC-7 in D.C. this evening to share easy, healthy lunch recipes you can bring to work this spring. See the recipes below and upgrade your work lunch!
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Virginia Berry Salsa Fresca
Early warm weather means lots of spring fruits are popping up at your local farmers market and at your grocery stores. Look for plum fresh berries that are not over ripened for this recipe.
Make sure to wash all berries and dry them to prevent from bruising. Cut all berries in half and set aside. Continue to measure rest of ingredients and add to a medium mixing bowl. Once all of the ingredients except the berries are in the bowl slowly fold in the cut berries and toss evenly with a spoon so as not to mash the berries. Seasoning to taste and add to whatever protein or vegetable you are cooking. I prefer this salsa with fresh roasted or grilled chicken breast.
Healthy Tomatillo Tabbouleh with Extra Bulgur
Serves 4 to 6 (vegetarian and vegan friendly)
Traditional tabbouleh is really a parsley salad with some bulgur wheat scattered in to bulk it out. Herbs like mint, cilantro and lemon also play an important role. The more American version we see here in the west tends to have a lot more bulgur and often includes cucumber. I was tempted to leave the cucumber out, but I like the crispness here. I also use tomatillos instead of tomatoes because I enjoy the acidity instead of the normal tomato. Let’s just call it an optional ingredient… Enjoy !
At my local Whole Foods store, which is both very well-stocked and frequented by a serious cook, I could only find the bulgur in the bulk section. I did find quite a few boxes of tabbouleh mix on the shelves, but it seemed like these mixes all had flavor packets of dried spices and herbs included. I suspect you can find bulgur in most natural food stores and probably in the bulk section, too. If not, the mixes are pretty common, and you can just toss the flavor packet and use the bulgur by itself. When you are ready to prep the bulgur, place the bulgur in a small bowl and cover with very hot (just off the boil) water up to about a 1/2-inch. Set aside to soak until softened but still chewy, about 20 minutes.
As with all herbs, be sure to wash and thoroughly dry the parsley, cilantro and mint before chopping, as wet herbs will turn to mush when chopped. Since tabbouleh is so much about the herbs, this is especially critical here. I like to give the herbs a medium chop—not too fine and not too rough.
When chopping the parsley and herbs, don’t be too concerned if some of the smaller, tender stems make their way into the mix. In the case of my bunch of parsley, the stems were rather thick and large, so I quickly picked the leaves from the main stems before chopping. I like to use flat leaf parsley for this recipe because I don’t care for the texture of curly parsley. At your local grocery store look for fresh bright green tomatillos (you can also substitute tomatoes as well). I used Persian cucumber for this recipe, but you can also use hothouse cucumbers as well.
When the bulgur is done, drain off any excess water and place in the large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat the grains. As you finish prepping the herbs and vegetables, add them to the bowl with the bulgur, but reserve half of the diced tomatillos to use for garnish. Season to your liking with more olive oil and salt… Enjoy!
Easy Lemon Garlic Chicken
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.
Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. To make this dish more healthy you can use skinless chicken breasts. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in six wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skinless chicken breast is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for two minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.
This recipe goes well with a savory grain dish or just simple roasted seasonal vegetables. We like to serve this over our tomatillo tabbouleh with a fresh berry salsa fresca.