Monday, October 22, 2012

Fava Beans and Pumpkin Seed Pesto- In Her Lunchbox

Fava Bean and Pumpkin seed pesto
I've had a fun , adventurous and blessed childhood. I grew up in a small town. The kind where almost everyone knows each other, if not by name then at least by face. One of the most important part of my childhood memories is the time at school. I went to a Christian missionary school. It was a great school, some would say the best in town. Sisters were strict and made sure we paid attention to our academics. Sir Michael would drag us to the field for our PT exercises every afternoon, miss Rashmi would let our imagination go wild in the craft class and Father Joseph, our Principal would monitor everything from a distance. There were rules, a number of them and the students as well as the teachers knew they had to follow them.

Untitled
I can say that those were good times and the best part was the time I had with my friends at school was over lunch. Though lunch time in our school was a little different. It might be a part of the "small town charm" but in our school the parents were allowed to bring or send in fresh food for their kids during lunchtime. So for several years mummy would cook, pack two lunch boxes, one for me and one for my brother and Ganga (our house help) would come riding his bicycle to our school everyday sharp at 12 pm. The lunchtime bell would ring and as we peek out the window, sure enough Ganga would be standing there with two stainless steel lunch boxes. And we would go sit under a huge shady Gulmohar tree with our friends, talk whatever the heck kids that age talk about and eat steaming hot rice with lentil soup one day or flaky parathas and stir fried vegetables with some tangy lemon pickles the other. Though I never realized this until today but it was such a blessing to have hot home cooked food everyday, AT school. I just loved my small town. There was no rush to get anywhere, no adulteration of any sorts and no deadlines to catch up on. Just pure, organic, closer to the roots joy!

Untitled
Unfortunately I am not that lucky anymore. Now I need to be at several places at the same time and I just cannot meet the deadlines if I do not follow a schedule. Now I need to be up at 5 in the morning and pack lunch for my daughter just to make sure she doesn't have to eat reheated frozen pizza at school. Doing that day after day, everyday takes a lot of planning and creativity in the kitchen. And still many times I run out of ideas on what to put in her lunch box and I am told by my friends that they too get clueless many times.

Fava Beans for the pesto
So after being pushed by them for almost an year I finally gave in and hence starting this new series on Indian Simmer. Nothing fancy, just an attempt at sharing what I send "In Her Lunchbox" every morning. I do not promise the food will be "traditional" or "Indian" all the time but I do promise it will be healthy and something that my kid loves and will be hoping that yours loves it too. I'll try to share a few tricks here and there about how I work in advance so that I am not rushing in the morning to pack lunch. How sometimes I am amazed how the same food becomes "edible" by the kids just by adding some fun element and how healthy doesn't always means packing a bowl of salad. But just for the record, I in no way am trying to say that I am an authority in kids nutrition. All I will try to do is tell you what I plan to pack "In Her Lunchbox".

Collage-2

One of the things that always helps me in making sure I am able to survive through all the chaos in the morning and still get the lunch box ready and have them out of the house in time is some advance prep work. Do as much as you can in advance or a night before so that all you need to do in the morning is to put things together. Kids (at least the ones I know) love pasta so I always make several varieties of pesto whenever I have time in hand. Store it in the refrigerator and pull it out whenever you are in a hurry and can't be very creative, mix it with pasta, spread it on bread or add as a dip for veggies. My daughter loves Fava beans and Fava Bean Pesto  is always available in my kitchen. I added some pumpkin seeds in this recipe just in the spirit of fall and Halloween. Also if Fava is too bitter for your taste add extra lemon juice, that helps cut the bitterness and brings in a fun tang to the dish. Here's the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 cup fava beans (blanched and skinned)
1/4 cup green pumpkin seeds
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

Method:
Put all the ingredients (except oil) in a blender or food processor and turn it on.
While the blade's still moving slowly pour the oil into the food processor through the opening on the lid.
In the end you should get a smooth (or a little granular, depending on your taste) pesto. Spread it on the toast or mix it with pasta.

What I plan to send "In Her Lunchbox" this week:
Healthy Millet Patty by Spices And Aroma - Try using whole wheat or even whole gram flour for this recipe. Works well. I prepare the rolled dough a night before so that in the morning all I need to do is pan fry them.
Spicy Corn Fritters by Sunshine And Smile- Again I prep it a night in advance which saves me time in the morning. Omit strong spices if the kid can't handle it. Sweet corn is always a selling point for my 3 year old.
Quick And Easy Bento by La Fujimama - I loved the idea of adding beans with rice. I also tried adding a zing of lemon juice in the mixture and it was a hit.
Vegetable Poha- This again is a very forgiving recipe. Use whatever vegetable you have in the refrigerator or you can even try adding grilled chicken or eggs.

25 comments:

  1. I love this pesto girl. Will try this sometime soon. I bought some quinoa pasta and will mix in your pesto and take it for lunch one of these days. Neat, pretty pictures as always.

    Thanks for mentioning my finger millet patty. Finger millet is so healthy, they are whole grain and low glycemic too. Yes as you rightly said, mix it the previous day and cook till in the morning.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love how much traditional pesto has evolved with so many interesting and delicious varieties. Fava beans must tastes good in this :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have tried making pesto with several greens but never with beans. You reminded me of my school and Aloka Mam ( our hindi teacher) Will tell you her story next time we meet!
    Thanks for the shout out sweetie. I am so glad you liked the fritters!

    ReplyDelete
  4. A healthy pesto! What a gorgeous lunchbox. Your daughter is lucky to have a caring mother like you.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's such a sweet thing to say Rosa. Thanks!

      Delete
  5. I was wondering what to do with the brand new pumpkin that arrived in my CSA box this week. There's only so many variations of toasted pumpkin seed one can consume. Thanks for posting this. It's definitely one for my lunch box.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharmila just to be clear you do not use the whole pumpkin seed with the hard outer covering. Its just the green goodness inside :)

      Delete
    2. No way! Now you tell me. ;)
      I looked at the photos but thanks for the clarification.

      Delete
  6. It absolutely healthy lunch box full of jewels of berries :) gorgeous picture Prerna, as always!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love everything about that lunchbox and I loved reading about your schooldays, weren't those the best days!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a healthy pesto! And a gorgeous lunchbox. Lovely picture Prerna!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a great idea. I look forward to seeing what's in your lunch box!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your daughter is so lucky. I think most kids get sandwiches in their lunchboxes and maybe a cookie or oiece of fruit. This pesto sounds delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lovely! I am sure this will be of great help for lots of parents :)
    We are homeschooling our daughter so no packing lunch here and she is also not at all a fussy eater which helps.

    Pesto looks great. My daughter also loves pasta so will definitely try making this. Might have to use peas instead of lava beans though.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lucky daughter, i am like you no sandwiches for lunch here. I usually take leftovers.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your post took me back to my school days when we girls would share our 'dabbas' and get to taste something new every other day. This pesto looks so delicious and its so nice that you make such a lot of effort to give healthy fresh food to ur daughter, she is lucky to have a great mom :)) All the best for all the creativity that ur going to need ;p

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have never worked with fava beans... it looks amazing all creamed up like that in a pesto!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Interesting pesto, Prerna..
    I know how lunchbox madness can be, especially with my finicky little eater!

    The one time that I cooked with dried fava beans, wasn't a pleasant enough experience to re-try. It was so bitter, had to throw it all out. Guess, fresh fava beans are different.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Pesto is the best thing in the world! =)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I’ve been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thanks ,

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yum! So creamy and delicious, this looks like the much needed upgrade to my usual, old hummus recipe. And I love the idea of adding in a bit of pumpkin seeds!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm thrilled to have this recipe as we love pesto and since fava beans and pumpkin are staples of Peruvian diet, these ingredients are easy to come by. I look forward to try this! How nice that you enjoyed a peaceful, small town upbringing. I can vouch for the happiness that comes from a simple life! : )

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, great. I always wanted to give something new to my daughter in her lunch box. Now I know where to go and look for inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love lamb. Your recipe looks delicious and got my vote. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love this pesto girl. Will try this sometime soon. I bought some quinoa pasta and will mix in your pesto and take it for lunch one of these days. Neat, pretty pictures as always.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails