The white bean cassoulet at a local French Bistro, Martel, is one of my favorite dishes. Even the guarantee of garlic-breath does not deter. And though I like to think it’s healthy – what with the white beans and escarole or spinach – I know in my heart (sorry, pun intended) that this oil-butter-laden dish is, in truth, not a healthy choice.
Fast forward to our annual New Year’s Eve pot luck dinner. A friend whose teenage daughter is coping with very high cholesterol brought a vegetarian white bean cassoulet that was scrumptious. And healthy. Totally amazing.
So…the White Beans with Cabbage, Pasta, and Ham. How was it for lunch? Well, um, OK I guess, but unlike most leftovers it was not better the next day. In fact this was, if anything, blander. Not an easy achievement.
That said, for a quick, no-plan lunch this recipe worked well enough that I downed it 2 days in a row. And its Tupperwared existence in my fridge saved me from having to think about lunch: a big bonus, as I was on conference calls through lunch both yesterday and today. (Yes, I mute the call while chewing.)
So I don’t really know yet what I’m really supposed to DO to lower my cholesterol (I like a plan, with steps!), but I know that eating more fiber and less animal fat is important, so I looked through Mark Bittman’s fabulous book, How to Cook Everything, and decided to go with his White Beans with Cabbage, Pasta and Ham recipe for our first lo-co dinner.
Yes, it had ham. I get that doesn’t make sense. But here’s what I figured — though this recipe does not fit with the NO animal fat plan, it has to have way LESS FAT than a regular meat and potatoes kind of meal.