By Ellie Krieger
Everywhere I look, snacks that were once typically sweet are going savoury. In the past few months, I have sampled hickory-smoked and meat-based energy bars at my local grocery store, seen pulled-pork doughnuts and gazpacho sorbet on my Instagram feed, and tasted carrot- and butternut squash-flavoured yogurts.
I suppose this trend is due to a heightened awareness of added sugars in food and more people steering clear of them. But whatever the reason, while some savoury snacks hit the mark and others not so much, overall they offer an exciting, and potentially healthful, culinary arena to explore.
Yogurt could be considered an easy gateway to savoury snacking. As cookbook author Cheryl Sternman Rule noted recently, it has long been enjoyed that way around the world yet has only recently begun to catch on here. I relish my yogurt Greek style, with chopped cucumber, a drizzle of good olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe fresh mint. So I thought, if yogurt is so good like that, why not un-pair cottage cheese from its typical fruity accompaniment and try it in a more savoury way?
Inspired by the season, I topped mine with a handful of cooked, chilled peas (I simply defrost the frozen ones, which I always have on hand) and tossed in a crunch of chopped radishes and some toasted pine nuts. I added fresh basil, a sprinkle of lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper for a bright punch of flavour. A final drizzle of my best extra-virgin olive oil imparted a rich luxuriousness.
The result was every bit as compelling and satisfying as I had hoped. I can’t wait to try it with tomatoes, come summer.
SPRING COTTAGE PEAS WITH BASIL
A finishing drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil gives it a rich luxuriousness that lets you see an old favourite in a whole new light.
From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cups low-fat (1 per cent) cottage cheese
1 cup cooked, chilled green peas (just defrosted if frozen)
1/4 cup diced radishes
2 tablespoons packed fresh basil leaves (about 20 small or 8 to 10 large), torn if large
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently, until they are golden brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
Place 1/2 cup of cottage cheese in each bowl. Top each portion with 1/4 cup of the peas, then top each with one-quarter of the pine nuts, diced radish, basil and lemon zest.
Drizzle each portion with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil. Season lightly with the pepper. Serve right away.
Nutrition per serving: 210 calories, 18 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 360 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fibre, 5 g sugar