Meatless Monday February 8th: Project Watercress

Are you a fan of Meatless Monday? It's a great practice to take one day out of your week to eat meatless. And, there's no sacrificing taste or nutrition. 

Granted this time of year veggies at the market are somewhat scarce, but you can always count on Old Homestead Farm having watercress. Love this leafy green and it's spicy flavor, nice and peppery. Don't let these tiny little leaves fool you; nutritionally, they pack a punch. They are low in calories, high in phytonutrients, and excellent source of Vitamin K, and a darn good source of Vitamins C and A!

One of these bunches of watercress finds it's way home in my market bag after every market and is usually destined for a salad, mixed up with some arugula and other leafy greens. The challenge this week - to see what else I could make with watercress other than a salad.  I came across an interesting recipe for Watercress Barlotto, basically a twist on risotto, but using barley in place of the arborio rice commonly used in risotto. Comparatively, barley packs more bang for the buck nutritionally than rice - high in fiber, antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Plus barley has a nutty flavor and chewy texture perfect in this dish.

I followed the recipe exactly as written - it was very easy to make for a week night dinner. I also had some beautiful oyster mushrooms on hand from Down to Earth Harvest which I decided to use to top the barlotto. These mushrooms have a lot going on nutritionally as well - high in antioxidants and a host of vitamins and minerals. To prep the mushrooms I separated them into individual lobes, tossed with a tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkled with salt and roasted at 425 degrees till browned and crisp. WARNING: these are addicting - just like potato chips, you cannot eat just one. 

Give this recipe a try, you'll realize you simply don't miss the meat!