We’d like to invite you on a culinary journey beyond kefir and pancakes with caviar. In a spirit of clean eating these traditional dishes from Eastern Europe take a center stage. Some of the dishes might look a bit too adventurous at first. Fear not as they’re nutritious filled and office-friendly lunch options. You can buy some of these ready-made in your around the corner Polish deli or check out NetCost Market location near you. This supermarket chain carries the largest selection of Eastern European foods in New York and offers over 45,000 products–from daily-made soups like borscht, to veil schnitzels, pickled veggies and even pickled fruits.
Without further ado
Vareniki with cherries
What is it: Vareniki is a classic Ukrainian dish. Think light ravioli, made of unfermented dough. In Ukraine vareniki are steamed more often than not.
Why you should try it: Steamed or boiled vareniki are naturally fat & cholesterol free and the wild cherry feeling is incredibly juicy. It makes delicious lunch entree that keeps mid day sweets craving in check. Wild cherries and tart cherries are exceptionally rich in health promoting antioxidants (lutein, zea-xanthin and beta carotene) that play protective role against harmful free radicals.
Serve: With tablespoon of sour cream. Or drizzle with honey and add shaved almonds to transform this lunch entree into hearty dessert.
What is it: No holiday table is considered complete without this dish in many Eastern European countries. Bone broth has been trending this past two years thanks to its promoting healthy gut, radiant skin and nails growth properties. Essentially, holodez is a bone broth meets jelo.
Why you should try it: Holodez is satisfying low calorie entree. Only 140-230 cal per 3 oz serving. It’s served cold and thus is great for hot summer days in New York. It nourishes your body with long list of beauty and well being benefits of the bone broth, including protecting your joints and supplying your body with collagen that adds radiance to your skin.
Serve: Garnish with fresh cilantro and teaspoon of horseradish.
Eastern European Style Sour Cream
What is it: Sour cream popular in Eastern Europe has more of a homemade taste to it. It’s much creamier, almost like a heavy cream and sour cream mix.
Why you should try it: It’s natural, tasty and rich in calcium alternative to mayonnaise. It’s also much lighter in terms of calories–about 25 cal per tablespoon vs about 90 cal per tablespoon of mayonnaise.
Serve: Add fresh dill and pinch of salt.
Hot Smoked Mackerel
What is it: Mackerel smoked at 120°F to 180°F from 4 to up 12 hours. It’s cooked through and has a flaky texture. This item is quite hard to find in regular grocery stores. You’re better off trying artisan and specialty stores. You might want to also try Net Cost Market I mentioned earlier as they offer the widest selection of hot smoked fish I’ve come across in New York so far. Tip: While you’re there check out the market’s bakery department. They have desserts from all over Europe: From French crepes and Greek baklava to Turkish delight and Russian homemade style pirogki (yeast-leavened dough pastries stuffed with fruits and berries in season).
Why you should try it: Hot smoked mackerel is very flavorful, high in protein and low in saturated fat.
Serve: Great on it’s own! You can also serve it with mush or steamed baby potatoes, scrambled eggs and creamy pasta. Or else take you devil eggs to a whole new level of flavor by adding hot smoked mackerel to boiled yolks filling–just make sure you removed fish bones.