#FiberFebruary 2021: High-fiber dishes from around the world

You may not be able to physically travel the globe because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and all, but you CAN experience global cuisine from the safety of your own kitchen. And while you’re at it, why not feed your gut microbes by choosing high-fiber recipes full of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains?

Now in its third year, #FiberFebruary is an annual celebration of delicious high-fiber dishes and a challenge to make 28 high-fiber recipes in 28 days. For more inspiration, check out my recipe lists from 2019 and 2020.

I was initially trying to compile a list of all the traditional high-fiber dishes in every country, but this turned out to be much more of an endeavor than I anticipated. The half-ish complete spreadsheet can be found here. Maybe I will get around to completing it next year.

What I’m eating

Day 1: Feijão Tropeiro (Brazil)

This hearty, protein-rich dish is made with collard greens, beans, sausage, and bacon. At first, it felt very (American) southern with the beans and collards, but the addition of eggs and yucca (manioc) flour at the end really transform it. This will be my lunch for the next week.

Day 2: La Bouillie (Chad)

I’m a big fan of wheat berries and their chewiness, so I wanted to try this breakfast using them. The sour element is interesting (not typical of cereals I’ve had) and is balanced nicely by just a little sugar.

Day 3: Kartoffelknödel (Germany)

These are simple boiled potato dumplings, traditionally served with meat dishes and gravy. They tasted pretty bland to me, but I was also eating them pretty plain, without any rich gravy.

Day 4: Borani Banjan (Afghanistan)

In this dish, eggplant slices are fried, then stewed in a spiced tomato sauce and served with a garlic-yogurt sauce. It was very easy to make, and very flavorful. Serve over rice or bread (pita or naan) for added textural variation.

Day 5: Buckwheat Crepe (France)

I didn’t quite get my crepe thin enough, but that’s alright. It was still a satisfying breakfast-dinner. If you have buckwheat but not buckwheat flour, it’s really easy to flour-ize it with a coffee grinder – that’s what I did.

Day 6: Ajiaco Colombiano (Colombia)

Ajiaco is a chicken, corn, and potato soup. I had never made soup before today, and it was pretty easy to make, although it did take two hours. But it was a very satisfying 9pm dinner. I wasn’t able to find the specific Andean potatoes the recipe called for, but I did find a different, purple, Andean potato that I decided to use.

Day 7: Foul Mudammas (Egypt)

Foul mudammas is a spiced fava bean stew often served for breakfast. I had tried to make it once before with dried beans, but couldn’t get them to soften. This time, I was much more successful with canned beans. Delicious with warm pita.

Day 8: Gado-gado (Indonesia)

This Indonesian salad consists of mixed vegetables and often hard-boiled eggs or tofu, dressed with peanut sauce. It’s really tasty and easy to make. The peanut sauce really does it for me; it goes especially well with the sweet potato.

Day 9: Stamppot (Netherlands)

A total comfort food, stamppot is mashed potatoes mixed with other things of choice, and topped with sausages. Hard to go too wrong here. I chose a recipe featuring kale because fiber.

Day 10: Shakshouka (Tunisia)

This dish of eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce is popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa, but probably originated in Tunisia. There are many variations on this dish, such as adding lamb, potatoes, or fava beans.

Day 11: Bessara (Morocco)

With yellow split peas as a base, bessara is often eaten for breakfast, and may take the form of a soup or a dip. Easy to adjust spice to taste.

Day 12: Dholl Puri with Gros Pois (Mauritius)

Dholl puri is a flatbread stuffed with a layer of yellow split peas. Honestly I think it’s great and high-fiber on its own, or you can have it with a common pairing like gros pois, a white bean curry. Cooking both will leave the kitchen smelling great.

Day 13: Pholourie (Trinidad and Tobago)

For my third yellow split pea dish in a row, I decided to fry them up. They’re spicy deep-fried bean nuggets, so of course they’re good.

Day 14: Msabbaha (Syria)

Msabbaha is a variant on hummus with two key differences. 1) half of the chickpeas are served whole, and 2) the dish is served warm. Obviously hummus is delicious, and I really like the added textural variation in this version, and how it really showcases chickpeas.

Day 15: Miso Soba (Japan)

Soba are buckwheat noodles. Turns out it’s not too hard to make them from scratch, along with a miso broth to cook and eat them in. I added some greens, edamame, and a fried egg to make it a complete meal.

Day 16: Parmigiana di Melanzane (Italy)

It’s eggplant parm. Fried and smothered in tomato sauce and cheese, this has to be one of the tastiest ways to eat eggplant.

Day 17: Tortillas (Panama)

Panamanian tortillas are very different from tortillas you may be familiar with – they are thick to the point that you might call them cakes. They’re easy to make, and are a great breakfast component.

Day 18: Kizaka (Angola)

Peanuts and greens go really well together. I also made funje to go with this, which is a sort of doughy bread made from cassava flour and boiling water.

Day 19: Mote pillo (Ecuador)

I had never had hominy (mote) before, except ground up in the form of masa harina. Mote pillo is a creamy mixture of hominy and scrambled eggs. Will definitely have this breakfast again.

Day 20: Harira (Mauritania)

There are many variants of harira across northern Africa. This Mauritanian version centers meat and chickpeas cooked in a bone and tomato broth over the course of an hour. Recommended to serve with dates, which do go really well with it.

Day 21: Pastel de Choclo (Chile)

This Chilean casserole is primarily made of ground beef and corn, with other optional mix-ins. I think getting a good crisp on top is important to balance the softness of the corn and beef and make it a texturally well rounded comfort food.

Day 22: Dal makhani (India)

Dal makhani means buttery lentils. This is the best Indian dish I have cooked, and I think also the best lentil dish. This recipe called for black lentils, which I had never tried before. I made naan to go with it, but it’s delicious on its own too.

Day 23: Mercimek Köftesi (Turkey)

Still in a lentil mood, I made these red lentil kofte that also feature bulgur. They were very easy to make. Maybe too easy? I feel like mine aren’t quite holding together like other ones I have seen in photos.

Day 24: Batar Da’an (Timor-Leste)

Squash, beans, and corn are always a great combination. I tried to make a single serving, but it still ended up being way more. Delicious though, so I won’t mind having leftovers.

Day 25: Dhokar Dalna (Bangladesh/India)

This Bengali recipe features cakes made from split chickpeas simmered in a spiced tomato-potato gravy. It uses a really nice warm spice mixture.

Day 26: Kelewele (Ghana)

Many countries in western Africa have their own variants of this street food made with ripe yellow/black plantains. The critical spices are ginger, hot pepper, and salt. One of my favorite ways to eat plantains.

Day 27: Peixinhos da horta (Portgugal)

You wouldn’t know it from my extremely French last name, but I’m also 1/4 Portuguese. I know nothing about Portuguese cooking, though. This fried green beans dish was introduced to Japan, became the basis of tempura.

Day 28: Three Sisters Stew (Chickasaw Nation)

The three sisters – squash, beans, and corn – are three major agricultural products of many North American indigenous nations. They grow well together and taste great together. As a result, there are many variations on this dish across North America. This recipe comes from Chickasaw Nation, which is currently located in south-central Oklahoma, and in what is now Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee prior to colonization.