The research I did for one of my articles on nutrition and prostate cancer made me write this post. There is evidence to support processed tomato products’ role in lowering its risk. The studies that found a link tracked men for years and saw that they ate tomato products in the form of pizza and tomato-based pasta often.
Dishes made with tomato sauce in the American diet are pastas, pizza, and tomato soup. Often, they are loaded with fat, short on vegetables, and low in fiber.
Since I grew up eating many tomato-based Middle Eastern Cuisine dishes that feature other vegetables, such as beans, peas, okra, bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, and eggplants, I’m excited to share those with you.
Here’s the first of many to come!
White Kidney Bean Stew
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb lamb pieces, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tsp ground all-spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes, with juice
- 3 cans white kidney beans (cannelini), rinsed thoroughly in a strainer to wash out the salt
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large pot and saute the onions until soft and clear. Add the meat and spices, and saute until brown from the outside. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes.
After 15-20 minutes, stir in the diced tomatoes (with juice), the white beans, and tomato paste. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes until the meat is soft. The stew must be somewhat thick. If runny, add more tomato paste and let it simmer for a little longer.
The last part is making the “Qadha” or “Adha.” This is the name of a standard flavor-boosting step in most stews. For crushing garlic gloves, mortar and pestle is the traditional tool in the Middle East. Another alternative is the garlic press machine. Either way, after you have crushed garlic, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan. Saute the garlic until gold, then add the chopped cilantro. Continue to saute for another minute then mix in the stew.
Now you’re ready to eat!
Usually, this type of meal goes with plain rice–like Indian curries. While it works well with the stew, it might be too much carbohydrates (rice plus the beans), so watch your rice portion.
And that’s an easy meal, made with tons of tomatoes, and lots of fiber from the beans. It can’t get any better.
And as it’s said in Arabic: Sahtein o Afiyeh (bon appetite!)