The Power of Leafy Greens
Here’s the truth: if you aren’t consuming enough raw, leavy greens on a regular basis, you will eventually experience health problems. Lettuce, kale, coriander, parsley, mint, spinach, chard are not only delicious, they are essential to maintaining your health. In today’s overly polluted world, everyone needs to help the body remove toxins that inundate our bodies. Leafy greens are one of the most important ways to do this.
I’m sure everyone has heard about the importance of keeping the body alkaline. When a body becomes acidic (and it’s hard not to in our stress-filled, coffee-induced culture) it is ripe for disease to occur. In comes parsley. When it comes to super-herbs, it is in a class of its own.
The Double Duo of Parsley and Mint
Parsley has specialized mineral salts that bind onto unproductive acids, pesticides and herbicides and help drive them out. An all-purpose pathogen-fighter, parsley is amazing for any type of mouth disease,. Full of nutrition, too, it has tons of B vitamins such as folic acid, traces of B12, and vitamins A, C and K.
And then there’s mint. This sweet, mild herb, with its calming, antibacterial qualities, is wonderful for digestive ailments such as nausea, indigestion, ulcers, halitosis, and flatulence. It can provide relief from headaches, sinus congestion, sore throats, fatigue, stress, anxiety and is known to help irritable bowel syndrome.
A Recipe with Both
So you can imagine my excitement when I came across a recipe that is uses these two herbs. Khoresh Rivas is a savoury Iranian rhubarb and bean stew that has as a base 3 massive bunches of parsley and 2 massive bunches of mint, plus rhubarb. The idea of using herbs as a base, plus rhubarb, intrigued me so much I rushed out to buy the ingredients and made the dish for my last dinner party before leaving the UK. It was labor intensive, but divine–every mouthful a bite of spring. It was so good I had to share it with you.
3 large rhubarb stalks, cut diagonally in 1 inch pieces
1 juicy lemon, plus more if required
3 tins either butter beans or cannelloni beans (I mixed the two)
1 large yellow onion, diced
Large pinch saffron threads
3 large bunches parsley chopped finely with tough stems removed (3 cups),
2 large bunches mint chopped finely chopped (2 cups)
1 tbsp sugar (I use coconut sugar; honey can also work)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
½ tsp ground turmeric
Remove the tough stems of the parsley and mint and pulse with a food processor or a high speed blender. Do not mix the two herbs as you will be cooking them separately.
Grind the saffron with the sugar in a mortar and pestle, then add a few tbsps hot water, stir and set aside and let steep
Add a few tbsps oil to a pan and cook the parsley until slightly darkened, about 8 mins. Then remove and place aside, then do the same with the mint. Mint burns easily so only 5 mins.
In a large pot with a lid or a Dutch oven, heat 1/8 cup oil (or water if you don’t want to cook with oil), then add the diced onion, a little salt, then reduce the heat and add the turmeric and stir till fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beans, season with salt and pepper, and stir gently about 5 minutes.
Add parsley, mint, 2 cups water and half the saffron mixture and partly cover, reduce the heat and let simmer 30 minutes until the flavors mingle.
Add the rest of the saffron water, the lemon juice, and the sugar, stir and simmer and adjust the taste. There should be liquid in the pan but it shouldn’t be soupy. This part can be made in advance – I’m sure if you make it the day before the flavors will intensify.
When you are ready to serve, toss the rhubarb over medium heat in a pot (with or without a tsp of oil) and cook 2 minutes or so, stirring frequently. Gently place the rhubarb into the stew and cook, partly covered, for 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is soft. Don’t stir the rhubarb; you don’t want it to fall apart or turn mushy. Taste the stew as it simmers, add more lemon juice or water or sugar or salt so that it is tangy and delicately sweet.
Serve with rice, yoghurt (I used coconut yoghurt to avoid milt products), and I added a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts on top. I served it with a salad of fresh sliced oranges sprinkled with salt, pepper, olive oil and shaves of red onion. Springtime with every bite. Absolute heaven!
Eating food that heals is only one part of the S.H.E. program which gives you the tools you need to live a healthy and happy life, no matter what is happening in the world. Being at peace with oneself brings peace to the world, and cooking a delicious, healthy meal nourishes both the body and the mind.
I’ll soon be traveling to the USA for May and June to launch my new book, The Magical Reality of Annabel Jones, and will be giving taster sessions of my SHE program from New York to Florida. If you are interested in my coming to give a talk to you or your friends, please let me know by pressing the return button on this email or visiting my website www.andrenawoodhams.
Enjoy this recipe – you’ll be able to taste springtime with every bite.