I have come to the realization, much to my own chagrin, that I have little to no interest in trying the healthiest, rawest, detox-iest recipes that are floating around in herds right now on the interwebs.
I’m talking forest green smoothies, kale-based salad with no dressing, raw shaved cauliflower with pistachios… Allllll the healthy things. Let me proclaim that there is nothing wrong at all with these dishes – quite the opposite. They are whole and pure and full of the health benefits I can’t convince myself are worth giving up dairy for.
Of course, with the start of the new year I am trying to be a little healthier, just like almost every other human being. But my level of commitment to it is not as strong as it should be. I have bought leafy greens in large quantities twice in the past 16 days of 2015, hoping it would be the beacon of nutritious deliverance from my Christmas-food-calorie-hangover. But no. Noooo, the leafy greens have gone bad, soggy, and smelly. And in the trash.
So I struck a deal with myself. A compromise, if you will. I’ll take something healthy and fibrous, let’s saaaaaaaay…. a spaghetti squash. And I’ll add a few veggies. Perhaps tomatoes, corn, and a jalapeno (because you can buy 100 for about 27 cents in Austin, Texas). Take a peek in the pantry, peruse a bit, ah yes. Black beans.
I’ll roast all the healthy things, then I’ll add the guilty things. Hmmmmm…. what is residing in our fridge in bulk? Oh yes, cheese. Several kinds? Not you, feta, parm, or provolone. Aha! Let’s do cheddar and Cotija. Wait – what’s that lurking behind the 20 pound bag of baby carrots and tub of hummus? Bacon? Is that you? Get your handsome self out of there and into a skillet!
Mymymy. Would you look at that? The chic skinny girls just became friends with the funny fat girls in the school cafeteria. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate this beautiful marriage of veggies and cheese. Counting calories and YOLO. Wholesome and live-a-little. Gwyneth and Paula.
But for realsies, this dish is delish. I wanted to take some of my favorite Southwestern flavors and roast as many as I could so I could get that earthy, crisp, and surprising sweet flavor. Then, I tossed those veggies in with garlic, black beans, and a wee bit of bacon for protein. And because bacon. Top it with a cheddar for a sharp bite, and Cotija cheese for the creamy reminder of the Mexican cuisine that turns mere food into an experience. Serve with tortilla chips for an added nomnom factor.
You could adjust this recipe to fit a few different dietary needs. Vegetarian? Leave out the bacon. Vegan? Leave out the bacon and (takes deep breath…) the cheeses. Even with the veggies alone, the dish is packed with flavor, protein, and the hearty goodness you need from food in this horrible, dreary month. Seriously, even our dog is depressed by all the blah weather and lack of sunshine…
But that’s why we have cheese – to pick us up when we’re down. So let’s all let go and let cheese.
And add vegetables for your conscience.