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Pork Loin Chops with Fava Beans Caramelized Onions, Slivered Tomatoes and Wilted Arugula

By Cheryl Forberg
Image of fresh fava beans
As the winter nights get chilly, I, like everyone else, am feeling the crunch of rising fuel costs across the board. It’s taking big bites out of my grocery bills too. Even on a good day, a nutritionist hears complaints about how much more expensive it is to eat healthy. I decided this is the perfect time to share ideas on how to eat healthy without breaking your food budget. Incorporating a few of these tips into your weekly routine can really save you some dough-re-mi.
  • Buy in Bulk Bulk items are usually cheaper. That’s because there’s no expensive packaging included. Those savings are passed directly on to you. You also have the freedom to choose how much or how little to buy each time. Best buys include whole grains, dried beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and cereals. Some health food stores sell spices in bulk as well.
  • Go seasonal Out-of-season fruits and vegetables are sometimes imported, expensive and often tasteless. Plan menus and choose recipe around what's currently in season. You’ll enjoy better flavor AND lower prices, especially at this time of year.
  • Grow Your Own Slash your spending even further by supplementing your produce purchases with homegrown items. If you don’t have space for a garden, you can at least grow your own herbs. Plant your favorites in small pots near the kitchen. Take a snip or two as needed.
  • Make it from scratch. Yes it takes more time, but preparing a dish at home rather than picking up a pre-made version can save up to 50% or more. It also ensures your dish is healthier because you dictate the amount of oil or salt it contains. And best of all, this guarantees no hidden preservatives.
  • Shop the outer aisles In most markets you'll find the healthiest ingredients on the perimeter of the store -- fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins including fish and chicken, and fat free and low fat dairy products. The inner aisles contain most of the processed foods including soda, candy, chips and snack foods. Aside from the fact that they contain empty calories, they also take a big (and unnecessary) bite from your food budget. Fava Beans
  • Load up with legumes: beans and legumes offer a myriad of health benefits as diverse as their varieties. Black beans, favas, garbanzos, pintos – they’re all excellent sources of fiber. They’re also rich in folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and antioxidants. The complex carbohydrates they contain provide steady energy that lasts well beyond mealtime. A stellar source of protein, legumes may be the biggest money saver of all as they cost a fraction of the price of most animal proteins.
The downside of eating beans is occasional digestive problems, especially if we don't eat them regularly. As complex carbohydrates, beans contain a variety of complex sugars such as stachyose and raffinose. These sugars require special enzymes to break them down. If the enzymes are absent in the digestive tract, the sugars begin to ferment, creating gas and intestinal distress.

When preparing dried beans, it helps to soak the beans overnight. This initiates the process of dissolving the complex sugars and thus minimizes their uncomfortable side effects. Before cooking the beans, they should be drained, rinsed, and covered with fresh water.

Supplemental enzymes that ease digestive problems are available on the market, and they can be taken just before eating your first bite of beans. Most of these enzymes cannot be added to the beans as they are cooking, because the high heat inactivates them.

Fava Beans
Ancient Romans had so much respect for delectable legumes; their nobility derived their family names from them. The Fabius family moniker is a testament to reverence for the fava bean. And in France, the fava, also known as the broad bean, is celebrated for an entire season. In the Middle Eastern diet, fresh, dried, and canned fava beans are a mainstay of everyday fare.

One of the bean families' prized claims is its unbeatable amount of soluble fiber. A daily serving of cooked beans may lower blood cholesterol by as much as 18 percent, decreasing the risk of heart disease by more than 50 percent. In addition to high protein and fiber, the fava bean has a unique water-soluble protein that has shown remarkable ability to scavenge free radicals, acting as an antioxidant. Try the irresistible flavors of this celebrated legume in this month’s recipe.

Pork Loin Chops with Fava Beans Caramelized Onions, Slivered Tomatoes and Wilted Arugula
Serves 6
Image of Pork Loin Chops with Fava Beans Caramelized Onions, Slivered Tomatoes and Wilted Arugula
6 4-ounce Loin Chops, trimmed of visible fat (1 1/2 pounds)
1 teaspoon Grapeseed Oil or Olive Oil
1 large Onion, peeled and diced
2 cups Low Sodium Fat Free Chicken Broth, divided
4 ounces Melissa’s Sun-Dried Tomatoes, cut in slivers
1 package (8 ounces) Melissa’s Steamed Fava Beans, rinsed and drained
6 ounces Arugula
Melissa’s My Grinders Mixed Peppercorns
  1. In a large non stick sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add pork chops and brown for 1 to two minutes. Turn and brown the other side. Remove pork from pan and keep warm.
  2. Add onions to pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Add a couple tablespoons of the chicken broth if necessary to keep from sticking. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Do not brown.
  3. Add fava beans, tomatoes and 1 cup broth. Cook for two minutes or until heated through. Stir well.
  4. Add the pork chops back to pan and season to taste with salt and My Grinders.
  5. Add Arugula to pan and additional broth. Cover. Turn heat to low and simmer, turning pork once, for about eight minutes or until pork is just cooked. Remove from heat.
  6. Transfer arugula to shallow serving bowls. Top with pork and veggies. Serve hot.
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