The politics of food and agriculture has been a hot topic recently. More than ever, consumers are paying attention to the ingredients in the food they buy, realizing the benefit of eating fresh produce, and supporting local farmers. It shouldn't be this way, but sometimes eating better is more expensive. You must make a conscious decision to buy local, organic, or grass-fed, even if it means sacrificing in other areas. But, if you're passionate enough, this decision will be good for both your body and the environment.
Andrew and I have become more conscious eaters over the past year. We've always been focused on fresh, seasonal ingredients, but now make the effort to buy grass-fed beef, organic, free range chickens (like the one used in this recipe), and wild caught fish. It's more expensive, so we eat it less often--averaging one of these proteins once a week--and get protein from other sources like beans and quinoa.
When I browse the meat counter and notice how much more expensive the grass-fed beef is, I remind myself of my power as a consumer. One of the thoughts in the documentary Food, Inc. that resonated with me is that each time we go to the grocery store, we're voting, and have the power to let companies know that we prefer organic or local. We are only one couple making these small changes in our life, but the more of us who do, the sooner wholesome food will be more affordable.
And to be honest, we don't miss the meat. We didn't eat it in excess before, but reducing our intake to once a week, on average, hasn't been very painful. If the organic chicken breasts are more expensive, I'll buy four and make four servings per person out of it (two evenings of freshly prepared meals plus two sets of leftovers for our lunch the next day), for a total of eight servings. Plus, when it comes to red meat especially, we enjoy it more when we indulge. Our recent grilled steak with chimichurri sauce was one of our favorite beef meals in recent memory, and we savored every bite knowing it was a special meal.
If you have thoughts on the subject, please share them in the comments. I'd love to hear the ways you and your family are making changes (however small) to your diet and lifestyle.
CHICKEN SALAD WITH CHICKPEAS AND CUMIN-SCENTED GREEK YOGURT
Adapted from Food & Wine
To make this salad a heartier main course, I added shredded chicken to the chickpeas and arugula. Greek yogurt makes a healthy alternative to calorie-rich dressings like Ranch or Caesar.
CHICKEN AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH CUMIN-SCENTED YOGURT
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 cups arugula or spinach
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 375. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts, and rub them with olive oil. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the inside of the chicken registers 165 degrees. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin, shred, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the yogurt with the cumin, garlic, lime juice and vinegar. Add the chickpeas and season with salt to taste. Add the chicken and gently fold into the bowl.
Arrange the arugula on a long platter, then spread the chicken and chickpeas alongside. Garnish with the scallions and serve.