January in the Southern Hemisphere is always the same deal: it’s too hot, “this year I’ll eat healthier, I swear,” “did I mention it’s hot in here?,” etc. So, nothing better than starting the year with Summer Tertulias – a series of light recipes that go hand in hand with the hot weather! 😀
Today’s recipe is a very very tasty LETTUCE-FREE salad (I don’t really care for lettuce). The coolest thing is that you only get the cutting boards and the plates dirty, no need for a salad bowl! Deb’s original recipe called for feta, but I’ve never found it here in Uruguay – I used hard ricotta and it worked great. You can also use goat cheese, it’s excellent!
For two people, you’ll need:
1/2 green bell pepper
1 cup of cherry/grape tomatoes
1/4 cup of black olives – you can skip it, if you want. I won’t understand it, but you can do it, it’s your salad after all!
1/2 medium-size red onion – mine was big, so I used 1/4.
Thick slices of feta, ricotta, goat cheese, or grilled tofu for a vegan version
juice of 1 lemon – I got carried away and used 2, but the original recipe calls for just one 😀
olive oil, salt, black pepper, oregano (fresh oregano would be the ideal thing here, but I only had dried leaves, so that’s what I used)
Assembling this salad is super easy.
If you think that raw onions are too strong, you can slice it thinly and let it soak in the lemon juice while you chop the rest of the ingredients. I love raw onions (mom will tell you all about how I used to steal raw onions from the fridge when I was five), so all I did was slice it thin! 😀
Cut the cucumber into medium-size bits, the bell pepper in small cubes, and the cherry tomatoes in half. I placed the ingredients on the plates as I chopped them, to spare one dish! #lazypeoplehack
Place the olives and the cheese slices on the salad, and dress it with the lemon juice (even if you’ve soaked your onions in it), olive oil, salt, pepper, and the oregano leaves.
Eat and feel virtuous that you are sticking to your new year’s resolution (for now…) 😀
A very important part of moving is the massive clean-up – use everything you can, throw away useless stuff, so there are less boxes to carry! When it was time to clean up the fridge, I found half a can of tahini in there – certainly, a hummus leftover. I also had some frozen cooked chickpeas (we tend to avoid the cans, as they are pricey here!). The obvious thing would be to make hummus again, but I also had plenty of carrots in the fridge, so I was reminded of a gorgeous-looking recipe I had seen on smittenkitchen.
This was easily one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten! It’s also a complete meal in itself (who says that vegan food won’t keep you full?). I made the recipe below for lunch – we both ate until we were couldn’t possibly eat another bite, and there were leftovers!
I could talk for hours about how the tahini sauce goes perfectly with the carrots, how the warm and spicy chickpeas give this salad a comfort food status, etc… but I’ll stop.
To be amazed, you’ll need:
For the chickpeas:
1 can of chickpeas, drained – I used 2 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika – not in the original recipe, but I love paprika 🙂
½ tsp salt
For the salad itself:
450 g (1 pound) grated carrots
¼ cup chopped parsley – aka “a lot”
¼ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped – I don’t really like pistachios, so I didn’t use them.
For the dressing, the real hero of this story:
1 garlic clove, chopped – I used more. I always use more!
¼ cup lemon juice
3 (generous) Tbsp tahini – mix it well before measuring.
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Start by coating the chickpeas with a mixture of the olive oil and seasonings, making sure they are well coated. Place them on a large baking sheet (but don’t pile them!), and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes, until they are golden brown and crunchy. During the bake time, shake the baking sheet every now and then, so that the chickpeas bake evenly.
With a whisk, mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add the carrot and the parsley and set it aside.
When it’s time to serve, add the pistachios (if you’re using them) and the chickpeas. Dig in and wonder why you haven’t made this recipe sooner! 😀