Lean protein

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HERE’S HOW

2 cups soaked chickpeas (canned will do as well)
1 red bell pepper, roasted (fresh, or store bought)
1 jalapeno pepper, roasted (if not roasted, you may not need the entire pepper)
1 cup fresh spinach
2 cloves fresh garlic
2 tablespoons pesto (fresh, or store bought)
2 tablespoons olive oil (more or less depending on desired consistency)
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt (more or less to taste)

Throw ingredients into a food processor and pulse until evenly blended.  Serve with tortilla chips, as sandwich spread, or with vegetables (I prefer snap peas and grape tomatoes).

ROASTED PEPPERS

Roasting develops the inherent sweetness of bell peppers. Once roasted, peeled, and seeded, the peppers are easily torn into strips.

To roast peppers, place them on a baking sheet in a 500*F oven.  Roast until their skins are evenly blistered and browned, about 25 minutes, turning them 2 or 3 times so they roast evenly.  Remove them from the oven and cover them with a kitchen towel.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, pull out their stems; peel away their blackened skins; open the peppers up; and remove their seeds, using a teaspoon to pick up any stray ones.

Place roasted peppers in a bowl, submerge them in olive oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap before storing them in the refrigerator.  If sealed properly, roasted peppers will save for quite some time.

PESTO SAUCE

Yield: one cup
1 ¼ cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Squeeze of fresh lemon
½ cup olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves peeled
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted until golden (bake at 450*, or toss in dry frying pan)

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse the ingredients several times until coarsely chopped. Continue this process until  sauce is smooth.

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