A couple weeks ago, I mentioned my top 3 Macro ingredients to try.
I chose these three because they are fun to add in, and don't take much effort. You can simply plunk an umeboshi down on top of any grain. You can throw seaweed into most things, and miso can be added to dressings and dips without much work.
These 3 ingredients have tons of nutritional benefits, but they are obviously not the backbones of a real meal. Uh, duh. I mean, sure, you could dip a seaweed wrapped umeboshi in miso...but you'd be left feeling way too salty and not very satisfied. So while they don't form a meal in and of themselves, seaweed, umeboshi, and miso are quick & easy ingredients to add some Macrobiotic flavour into any cooking.
So then, what are the real backbones of a Macrobiotic Meal?
Macro Mondays (MM):
Top 3 Core Macrobiotic Meal Ingredients.
I love grains. Any and all, prepared in every way imaginable. Brown rice, quinoa, millet, whole oats, rolled oats, whole-grain sourdough bread, noodles, rice cakes, porridge, popcorn, mochi etc. All delicious. I want to eat them all. Perhaps it's my digestive system, or blood type, or ancestral heritage...or whatever term it is that's currently buzzing around the health food industry...but my body absolutely needs grains. Give me a hunk of meat, and I don't feel so good. Give me a bowl full of soba noodles, a giant hunk of bread, or a plate of quinoa salad, and my stomach feels happy. Give me a grain based dessert, and my body & soul feels happy. Each person needs/requires different things...I feel lucky that my body likes grains because they sure are tasty!
Again, I like pretty much all of them. Except eggplant. Ick. It tastes gross to me. Other than that, I like everything. And so far I have never heard of a vegetable that is bad for you. So, try them all, and try preparing them in different ways. Winter squashes (kabocha & butternut in particular) are probably my favourite kind vegetable, and they can be so sweet it's like you're eating a mega-treat. But I thoroughly enjoy all sorts of greens, mushrooms, and many of the root vegetables including plain old carrots as well. Blended veggie soups are really yummy. Try the root veggies (like carrots and daikon), ground veggies (squash/broccoli/onions etc.), and leafy greens (kale, lettuce, etc). You can also make veggie sauces and gravy. Roasting vegetables makes them all taste insanely good, and roasted cauliflower is surprisingly delicious. Try it.
3. Beans & Legumes
Yum! I really enjoy them, and again, they are insanely good for you. You just need to cook them properly (i.e., often they require soaking and cooking for a longish time), and chew them well to derive all the positive things they offer while minimizing the digestive party they sometimes create. My favourites are: black beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans, and red and french lentils. I love cooking them into stews, because they get creamy. Nothing beats a hot lentil stew on a cold dreary day. But if you have no time for cooking your own, try high-quality canned beans or refried beans on a rice cake. Preeeeeeeeetty tasty. Eden Foods brand carries BPA-free canned beans, and they often cook their beans with kombu to make them easier to digest.
Nothing revolutionary here; open up any macrobiotic cookbook, and these are the major categories of recipes. When I try to decide what to eat, I usually start by thinking about what grain I want, then look at what veggies I have, and if I need some more sustenance, I add in a bean or legume. They can be cooked individually, or all three combined together, rounding out your macrobiotic plate.
Quick & Tasty Mexican Macro Meal
Using all 3 Core ingredients in one dish, you can whip up a delicious meal, such as this Mexican-inspired one, in no time (especially if you have some leftover grains in the fridge).
*1-1.5 cups cooked brown rice (quinoa is great as well in this recipe). You can cook brown rice on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker.
* 1 can of black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed really well.
* 1 TBSP unrefined sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil (just be careful it doesn't smoke)
* 1 green onion, or part of a regular onion, diced
* 1/2 - 1 cup fresh salsa or a chopped tomato (optional,not strictly Macrobiotic, but fun!)
* fresh parsley or cilantro (as much as you prefer! I use about 1.5 cups)
*optional spices: cumin & coriander, 1 tsp. each
* 1/2-1 whole lime
* splash of water (add if stuff is sticking to the pot, or you can use more oil)
1. Put oil in a skillet or frying pan and warm over medium-high heat.
2. Toss in the onions or green onions, add a pinch of salt, and let them cook for a few minutes until clear, or sweating. You can put a lid on if you like.
3. Stir in the beans.
4. Spices away! I usually add about 1 tsp. of cumin and 1-2 tsp. of coriander to begin with. Add more to taste. Stir well into the beans and onions, letting it all simmer away for a few minutes. You can add a splash of water or some more oil if things seem to be sticking to the pan.
5. Add the rice in, breaking it apart and stirring. Let cook a few more minutes.
6. If using the salsa or chopped fresh tomato, add in now, stirring.
7. Stir in the lime juice.
8. Stir in the parsley/cilantro. Turn heat off and let sit a few mins.
9. Serve while warm. Delicious in a tortilla...or scooped up with some blue corn chips.
*If you're lazy, tired, or like to keeps things simple...once the onions are sauteed add everything in at once. Stir around, & when thoroughly warm, eat up. Even straight out of the pan with a fork. No one's judging.