A New Year’s resolution to diversify our diet
Each year, around this time, we reflect on the year that’s ending and prepare for the next. At the Food Forever Initiative, we’ve been thinking about—what else?—food diversity.
The new year gives us a chance to begin afresh and commit to a more adventurous diet. One way you can contribute to a more secure, nutritious food future is by choosing to seek out diverse foods, especially ones that support local livelihoods and crop diversity.
By substituting a lesser-known variety of the key ingredient in a favorite recipe, you can transform it into something new and exciting. Take these apple pie recipes using new or heirloom apple varieties, for example. Or if you’re a fan of quinoa and rice bowls, give fonio a try. Have you had sunchoke? We highly recommend it, especially in this delicious soup from Chef Helena del Pasco.
Get cooking: new recipes from our partner chefs
To kickstart our commitment to eat more diverse foods in 2021, we asked our partner chefs for some inspiration. Food Forever champions Erik Oberholtzer, the co-founder and chairman of LA-based Tender Greens, and Pierre Thiam, the Senegal-raised, New York-based co-founder of Yolélé Foods, offered up two fresh takes on New Year’s favorites that incorporate a handful of often overlooked ingredients.
Chef Erik shared his recipe for turning a familiar classic into a celebration of ancient grains with amaranth, hemp and teff pancakes. “With so much time spent at home and the uncertainty of where to get lunch when out, breakfast has truly become the most important meal of our day,” says Chef Erik. “The occasional treat of pancakes invites the introduction of wheat flour alternatives.”
Amaranth, hemp and teff harmonize in an unexpected flavor profile, giving these pancakes a toothsome lift and a nutritious boost of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Chef Pierre Thiam offered up a recipe for replacing your canceled travel plans with a delicious stay-at-home experience. “According to an ancient tradition from the African diaspora, it is auspicious to prepare black-eyed peas on the first day of the new year.”
His light, fresh black-eyed pea and veggie salad is the perfect dish to start embracing overlooked ingredients and give your stomach a reprieve from heavy holiday feasting.
“2020 has been a very difficult year for the world.” says Pierre. “We are all bracing to tear away those dark pages and welcome a brand new year that, we hope, will bring healing, more empathy and comfort to a world that so badly needs it.”
After a challenging and at times painfully monotonous year, we all need a change. And the more we value diversity in our diets, the stronger our food systems can become. That’s exactly the kind of change we need. Let’s make 2021 a year for food diversity.
Happy New Year from all of us at Food Forever.
AMARANTH, HEMP AND TEFF PANCAKES SERVED WITH FRESH FRUIT
SERVES 2 (double for 4—6)
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1/4 cup hemp flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp melted butter or neutral oil
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup crushed pepitas
1 organic egg
1 cup organic milk
Fresh seasonal fruit
- Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.
- Add wet ingredients and stir gently without overworking.
- Add butter or neutral oil to a nonstick pan or cast iron griddle, and heat on medium.
- Spoon the batter into the pan without allowing the pancakes to run into each other.
- As bubbles form and the pan-facing side seems cooked, flip and finish on the second side. The batter is dark so be careful not to overcook.
- Serve immediately with fresh fruit and your preferred toppings.
Black-Eyed Pea Salad SALATU NIEBE
1/2 pound black-eyed peas, soaked in water for 1 hour
1 quart water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tomato, peeled and diced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Juice of 2 limes
1 habanero pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Lettuce leaves, for serving
- Boil the black-eyed peas gently in 1 quart water for 30 minutes. Add salt toward the end of the cooking time. Strain and set aside.
- In a bowl, mix the tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, scallions, parsley, lime juice, habanero, salt, and pepper. Gradually pour in the oil while whisking. Pour the dressing over the black-eyed peas, folding gently. Allow to sit for 1 hour. Serve nestled in lettuce leaves.
From Yolele! Recipes From the Heart of Senegal by Pierre Thiam, Lake Isle Press, 2008 © Pierre Thiam