Every few months I become vegan for a month or so. Currently I’m in a vegan month: no meat, no chicken, no eggs, and no dairy products (as usual, for allergy reasons). And no meat/dairy substitutes. I hate all those soy/tofu products! I can only enjoy the real thing. Instead I eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. Yes, I do look like a bird by the end of the month.
Usually the first two weeks are easy. There are endless vegetable dishes I can make. I have this magnificent book called Plenty, Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi – it’s all vegetable-based recipes. Written by Yotam Ottolonghi, an Israeli chef/restaurateur/food writer who lives in London, the book is highly recommended. When I go through the pages of this book I think to myself that I could easily become a vegetarian forever if not for my terrible craving for meat. I have nothing against meat if it’s organic and grass-fed, and eaten only once in a while, not every day. My body needs meat every now and then. No matter how much broccoli I eat or how many shots of wheat grass I drink, without meat my body feels weak, as if I’m about to faint. The best grass-fed meat in my opinion is sold at Whole Foods at a reasonable price.
This week I was enjoying all the vegetable dishes I cooked for my husband and me. (Both of my opinionated sons won’t eat cooked leafy greens and vegetables, such as chard and eggplant). Here are two yummy salads/dishes that I quickly made yesterday for lunch and served with quinoa. They can also be made as a side dish.
Baked Eggplant Salad with Red Onion & Tahini
Ingredients to serve 2
- 1 medium eggplant
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ¼ red onion
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 420 and line a baking pan with baking paper.
- Dice the eggplant and put the dice onto the lined baking pan. pour the oil, sprinkle salt and pepper on the diced eggplant and rub them on the eggplant. Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until eggplants is brown and soft. Every now and then flip the eggplants with a spatula.
- Meanwhile, chop the onion and prepare the tahini.
Ingredients for half cup of tahini
- 1 heaping tablespoon tahini
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2–3 tablespoons cold water
Put the tahini in a small bowl with lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water and stir. Gradually stir in the rest of the water until you get a soft and velvety texture.
Warm Mangold Salad
- 1 Bunch of chard
For the dressing
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon hot paprika or ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Soak the mangold leaves in cold water for a few minutes. Drain and cut it into thin strips, about an half inch.
- Put the chopped leaves into a large skillet or wok with a few tablespoons of water and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour it into the skillet. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, continuously stirring, until everything is mixed well..
- Add the lemon juice, remove from heat and serve. This dish is delicious hot or cold.