Meatless Monday: Early Spring Green Meal

Although our Farmers Market opens in April (with proper social distancing precautions), and North Carolina April weather is quite springy, during the early weeks a lot of crops haven’t started producing so we are still mostly getting the winter greens. Today’s recipes are based on two green items I can count on getting at the early spring market–kale and green onions.

I based the main course on a dish that I learned from an former work colleague who came from Boston and introduced to what she called “spuds and curds.” Basically, it is just a baked potato with cottage cheese instead of butter and/or sour cream. I actually had never tried it. But my grocery store had a really good sale on a new variety of organic cottage cheese from milk from pasture-raised cattle not treated with rBST with no artificial ingredients but with some probiotic cultures (similar to yogurt). So I decided to try it.

I did some research and found that cottage cheese was SO MUCH healthier than butter and MUCH healthier than sour cream. Cottage cheese has many more vitamins and minerals than butter does with four times as much calcium and protein and only a fraction of the fat and calories. Similarly, it has five times as much protein for half the calories and fat as sour cream. The biggest issue with cottage cheese is that it has a lot of sodium. However, I compensated for that by not adding salt to my potatoes.

This is a super easy recipe. I just baked the potatoes, cut them in half, and scooped out the flesh. I ended up mixing one half potato flesh with one half cup of cottage cheese and one good-sized green onion chopped (including white and green portions). I added some pepper and then scooped it all back into the potato skin, and heated it up again for a short time. For our family, that turned out to be a good ratio, but obviously you can play around and adjust proportions to your tastes.

With the kale, I just did a simple stir fry. Our farmer happened to have some green peppers from the greenhouse that week, which helped a LOT to vary the taste and color of the dish. The week before I had gotten some baby bak choy for a recipe but hadn’t used all of it, so I threw that in as well, along with some non-Farmers Market celery that I had. After adding a little oil, a little garlic, a little soy sauce, a few other spices, it cooked up in just a few minutes.

It ended up being a simple, satisfying, largely-local meal that’s TONS healthier (as long as you watch the salt) than our traditional potatoes. Plus, it has honestly taken me longer to write up this post than the hands-on time it took to make the meal. That makes it a Meatless Monday winner all around!

PS–We had strawberries for dessert…spring delights!

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