Real Road Food: Eat Green and Healthy While Traveling (Roti Recipe Included)

Do you know what you’re having for dinner today — or “supper” as we say here in Wisconsin? Don’t panic if you don’t know.  You’re not alone.  Up to one third of Americans don’t know what they will be eating for supper on any given day, an underlying cause of relying on prepared food fast high in convenience and packaging and low in nutrients and local food connections.

However we slice it, our busy, chaotic, modern lifestyles generally leave us low on time and quality food options.  I seem to live on either extreme:  either I’m working and writing from my farm, Inn Serendipity, with a freezer full of preserved garden goodies to eat, or I’m in town all day running through a laundry list of errands or taking a road trip into Chicago, undoubtedly skipping a meal and ending up famished.  And crabby.

A little planning goes along way in keeping well fueled on the road.  Here’s three tips for easy green meals to go, and a recipe for Stuffed Roti (pronounced “row-tee”) with Chickpea Filling, a hearty Caribbean-inspired sandwich stuffed with curried veggies, potatoes and chickpeas that can be readily noshed with one hand just about anywhere:

1.  Pack for Portability

The best to-go meals can be eaten anywhere, no silverware needed or overflowing special sauces needed.  With the dough wrapped around the roti filling, this sandwich serves as the industrial sandwich wrap.  These rotis taste good hot or cold – when possible I do like to microwave them piping hot and wrap in foil to keep them warm “to go.”
2.  Create a Filling Protein/Carb balance

Aim for something with both protein and carbohydrates to keep you nutritiously filled for longer.   The Roti recipe below does just that with a bread-based wrap and potatoes with chickpeas in the middle.

3.  Make Multiples
Recipes like this Roti make easy meals on the run because you get multiple sandwiches in a batch, which easily freeze and can be defrosted and heated one by one as needed.

Recipe: Stuffed Roti with Chickpea Filling

From Edible Earth:  Savoring the Good Life with Vegetarian Recipes from Inn Serendipity
Roti Dough Ingredients:
4 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
¼ c. vegetable oil
About 1 c. water

Filling Ingredients:
2 t. vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced or a few chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1. t. curry (or to taste)
½ t. ground cumin
1/8 t. salt
2 c. diced potatoes, uncooked
¾ c. water
1 c. cooked or canned chick peas, drained
1 T. butter

*  To make the dough, combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Gradually add the oil and water to the bowl, mixing and kneading the dough as you go.  The dough should not be so wet that it sticks to your fingers, but should hold together when pressed into a ball.  Form a ball and set the dough aside for about 15 minutes.
*  To make the filling, heat the oil in a skillet and add the onion and garlic.  Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add the curry, cumin and salt and cook 1 minute more.
*  Add the potato and water and cook for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
*  Add the chickpeas and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the filling is chunky and thick.  Set the filling aside.
*  Divide the dough into 4 to 6 equal-sized balls.  Flatten each ball and roll out into thin 8-inch squares, trying to roll the dough as thin as you can.  Fill the middle of each square with about ½ c. of the filling.  Wrap the dough around the mixture, burrito style, and seal the filling inside.
*  To cook the roti, heat the butter in an electric fry pan or skillet over high heat until it sizzles.  Reduce the heat to medium and, using a large spatula, place a filled roti in the pan.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the crust is a golden brown.  Turn with a wide spatula and continue cooking.  Repeat the process with the remaining roti.

Serves 4.

Photo credit: John Ivanko

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4 thoughts on “Real Road Food: Eat Green and Healthy While Traveling (Roti Recipe Included)”

  1. Hey, thanks! That recipe looks yummy — I’m def’ly gonna try it.

    Hubby & I travel all summer (or as much of it as possible!); in addition to the road-food issue, we often stay with family or friends where an herbivore is hard-pressed to eat well… For those who are interested in make-ahead healthy travel food, I have to say a dehydrator is a god(ess)send! I dry hummus, cannellini spread, bean & salsa dip, etc., and every kind of chopped veggie (except onions: too pungent! just buy dried!)… then on the road, I use gas station coffee-machine ‘hot water’ spigots (meant for tea or cocoa) to rehydrate, wrap it in a tortilla, & presto: dinner!

    I’m definitely gonna try this roti — thanks for the ideas!

  2. Hello there1 I am fascinated about your recipes and the great sounding cuisines that I will be trying the Roti and the filling ingredients tomorrow. I am a busy single person who is trying to keep healthy and eating only home cook foods.
    I do appreciate this recipe.

  3. A past girlfriend used to make me the best roti, I have tried to find a restaurant that can compare but no luck. Looks like it is up to be to try to make it myself. Thanks for the inspiration to try it.

  4. We, my family and I, are not vegans, or even vegetarians. My aging father turns his nose up at anything that even remotely sounds like it would be health food, but he also recently got his cholesterol results back form the Dr. and they were very high. So I need to do something. Looking it up on Wikipedia I see that proteins help lower cholesterol, but that animal fats raise it back up. My dad is addicted to dairy products and Tofu is straight out (unless seriously hidden), but recipes like this I just might be able to get him to eat, especially if they are microwavable. I don’t suppose you’d have a breakfast version laying about do you :)

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