Friday, June 29, 2012

Greek Veggie Wrap

I am going to tell you a story about my journey with food.

Let's start with my parents.  Growing up, especially when I was young, my mom did a lot of cooking.  She made all the 80s and early 90s favorites like beef stroganoff, tuna casserole, swiss steak, tuna salad, cream chipped beef, meatloaf, roasts, goulash, etc.  But my mom is also 50% Italian, so she also made family recipes like huge vats of homemade marinara with ribs, meatballs, and sausage, stuffed artichokes, salads, sausage and peppers, stuffed peppers, stuffed squash, etc.  Like most families at that time, mine was influenced by popular food culture and marketing.  I think we were all brainwashed into thinking that buying fresh produce was somewhat of a luxury.  Therefore, we ate plenty of canned veggies.  Did the cream of mushroom soup thing.  Plenty of velveeta.  Margarine happened (it is healthier, duh!)

But my mom's core food knowledge was real food.  My family definitely followed the pre-made, packaged, canned food trend, but didn't stray too far and for too long from the real stuff.

My dad also did a lot of cooking.  I remember him making things like drip beef sandwiches, chicken and dumplings, stir fry, etc.  Also, I think for a good 5 years of my life, my dad ate a large, fully loaded salad for dinner.  Every night.  And I share many of my dad's taste buds.  We both like spicy food and now that I am an adult, I realize I share my dad's lack of a sweet tooth.

As a result of mostly positive food influences, I was never in too bad of shape with my general food knowledge.  Especially since my extended family and friends have taught me a lot too.

However...I, too, fell for much of the crap (aka "food") out there at your typical large supermarket.  When I went off to college and started 100% feeding myself, I started with what I knew.  Diet drinks and Sweet N' Low were a part of my regular diet.  Thought it was healthy.  Once I came to my senses and stopped (it was easy), I started noticing it was in EVERYTHING.  Anything labelled "light", which at the time, I thought meant "light on the sugar".  For example, light yogurt, I thought just had less sugar...but no, it just had fake sugar.  I was so mad.  Furious.

And probably my saddest realization was "coffee creamer".  I bought it thinking it was just cream.  Like what comes from a cow.  At one point I was looking at my Coffeemate bottle and noticed it said non-dairy.  WHAT!?!?  Non-dairy?!?!  That is when I decided to start seriously looking at labels and not be tricked again.  This was about 10 years ago.

As I have been continuing to grow my food knowledge and trying more and more types of foods and recipes, I (like so many others) have come a long way.  I never thought I would eat homemade granola for breakfast (and not be able to buy it from the store...)  I never thought I would prefer whole grain wraps to white wraps.  I never thought I would eat a pound of beans each week and only eat meat on occasion.  I never thought I love kale and other dark greens.  I never thought I would be such a...hippie.

Ok, that is a lie.  I always hoped I would.

The point is...I started out with a good relationship to food.  With reasonable knowledge.  With a decent diet.  But it wasn't easy to sort through all the crap that is thrown at us at the grocery store.  You almost have to have a PhD in Food to understand what food trends to follow and what marketing is actually true.

This is the reason that you should never let any package tell you what is good for you.  If food needs to convince you to eat it, they are probably lying.  Have you ever picked up a head of broccoli and pondered whether or not it will do your body any good?  No.  Broccoli has dignity.

Everyone has a journey with food.  I just thought I'd share mine.  Maybe you are at a different stage in your journey.  And I hope you are enjoying it!  :)  My journey is partly being recorded on this the archives hold my deepest and darkest secrets.  Don't get too excited though.

Now, here is another "burrito" for you.  This time, I went with a Greek-ish filling.  We have baby spinach, a warm chickpea mixture, a greek salsa and some feta cheese all wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla.  It is summer in your hand.  I will remind you one last time (ha...), buy the feta that comes packed in a liquid.  It is about 7 times better.

Greek Veggie Wrap

2 14.5 oz. cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ tsp of coriander (heaping)
a pinch (or more) of cayenne
½ of an English cucumber, diced
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
¼ of a medium red onion, finely minced
handful of kalamata olives, chopped
2-3 tbsp of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1-2 tbsp of white/red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
1-2 tbsp of olive oil
2 burrito-sized whole wheat tortillas
feta cheese, crumbled
several big handfuls of baby spinach
salt and pepper

Prepare the bean mixture:  put the chickpeas, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper, and a good splash of water in a skillet.  Cook over medium high heat until water evaporates.  Taste, adjust seasonings and repeat process (add more water, cook until evaporated, taste), until desired texture is reached.  I usually do the process twice.

Prepare the Greek salsa:  combine cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, olives, parsley, vinegar, and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare wraps:  warm a tortilla over an open flame, the microwave or in the oven.  Put a healthy layer of baby spinach down.  Top with bean mixture, feta cheese and salsa.  Wrap, burrito-style. 

(Servings:  2, Prep time:  20 min., Cook time:  20 min., Difficulty:  Easy) 

Printable Version

foodforscot Ratings:  

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  1/5


  1. Thanks for sharing! It's always fun to learn where are others are coming from and how that might have shaped our food styles today. And of course, that wrap looks totally yum :)

  2. Yes yes yes! I love this so much. I love food journeys and seriously these days, our food culture can make the journeys really long and confusing. But I agree 1000%. Broccoli DOES have dignity.