Naan-O-Panir-O-Sabzi

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They say that smell is the strongest way to remembrance. The smell of Barbari bread, a traditional fluffly Persian bread topped with sesame seeds still takes me back to the memory of waking up every morning to my mother screaming “Bolansho bacheh! Madreseh Dari! Sayate Hashdeh!” Meaning, Wake up! You have school! It’s already 8 o’clock! I would look over at the clock every morning to see that it was still 7 am and I still had plenty of time to sleep. However, I knew better than to roll back over because the minute I did my mother would barge back in my  room, yank the blankets off of me, and start beshgahn zadan or snapping her fingers and singing a persian song that made absolutely no sense to me. Every morning consisted of breakfast with my family; my father would always sit at the end of the table reading his newspaper while spastically yelling out math problems for my sister and I to solve while my mother would continue to worry and ask us if we had done all of our homework, remembered our books, and brushed our teeth.

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Growing up, I had to deal with this ruckus every morning but what kept me sane was the delicious traditional persian breakfast of naan (bread), panir (cheese), sabzi ( mixed herbs), and sometimes morabaye albaloo (sour cherry preserve), with a cup of hot earl grey tea. The mixture of salty feta cheese with the savory basil, parsley and spring onion made a delicious combination folded between the barbari bread. Another delicious combination was the warm barbari bread coated with butter and feta, drizzled with sweet morabaye albaloo. Unfortunately, as you can probably guess the bread, butter, cheese, and sour cherry preserves were not the healthiest options especially for breakfast. However, the use of basil is not just nutritionally beneficially but also holds amazing health benefits such as powerful antioxidant properties which can help premature aging and even stop some cancers. Basil also holds strong antibacterial capabilities, as well as anti-inflammitory properties. So who’s to say that the delicious combination can’t still be enjoyed for lunch, dinner, or an afternoon snack with some slight variations.

If you are interested in seeing more benefits of eating Basil please check out :http://www.motherearthliving.com/natural-health/amazing-health-benefits-of-basil.aspx and for more benefits with results from research performed please check out: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=85 

First, lets talk about naan Barbari- Every 3 inch slice consists of 150 calories and is fat free making it a decent option if using the herbs, however, if  you are also adding feta(80 calories for 1 oz.),  and butter (102 calories for 1 tbsp.) you are looking at about 330-400 calories for a very small snack.  If we choose to use the sour cherry preserve (50 calories per tbsp.) with butter on barbari we are looking at about 300-350 calories making this a unhealthy and unsatisfying snack for the amount you get. Since I still really enjoy naan-o-panir-o-sabzi I have come up with a low calorie alternative below

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Ozzie’s Low-Cal Naan-O-Panir-O-Sabzi

Ingredients

  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • 1- 2 oz. French sheep’s milk feta cheese in brine
  • Wasa whole grain cracker

Directions

First, take the feta and place it in a bowl of cold water for 1 minute, afterwards rinse the feta and set aside. This will help reduce some of the unnecessary sodium which may cause water retention. Next, spread the feta onto the Wasa cracker and top it off with basil, parsley, sliced tomato and cucumber to make a delicious low carb, low calorie snack of 140- 220 calories which is more filling than the original recipe since Wasa is filled with fiber and grains. You may also do this using the sour cherry preserve and feta on a Wasa cracker cutting it down to a 148 calorie snack. Enjoy!

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