The African American diet is traditionally comprised of food that is full of flavor, fat and calories, but it seems this trend is changing.
Today’s African American community is more health conscious, and although many of recipes have been passed down from generation to generation, we now know they must be eaten in moderation. I love food that originated in Africa, such as okra and black-eyed peas. There are many ways to enjoy the flavor and health benefits of these traditional items.
In honor of Black History Month, join me at the Leesburg Public Library Saturday as I present the Taste of African Heritage class. It’s great for anyone who wants to explore the healthier side of soul food. I will make some traditional dishes from Africa, including mafe stew, which is full of flavor and good for you. I will also prepare black-eyed peas, but not in the traditional way. Read further for the complete recipe.
Participants will learn about the African heritage diet food pyramid and end class by sampling the dishes I prepared, while eating at a traditional community table. The class is free and is presented by the Friends of the Leesburg Library. Call 352-728-9790 for information and to reserve a seat.
BLACK-EYED PEAS AND WALNUT LETTUCE WRAPS
2 cups canned black-eyed peas
3/4 cup water
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup diced butternut squash
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
16 leaves of iceberg or butter lettuce
On medium-high heat, warm a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add the onion, pepper, and squash. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and continue cooking around 5 to 7 minutes, until the squash is tender. Stir in the walnuts.
Place peas, walnut mixture, vinegar and parsley. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let cool slightly.
Spoon about 1/4 cup of the pea and walnut mixture into each lettuce leaf. Fold the leaves in half and eat like tacos.
NOTE: You can serve this mixture on top of a bowl of brown rice, instead if in lettuce wraps.
Ze Carter is a food columnist for the Daily Commercial. Email her at [email protected]