I watched Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food on PBS earlier this week, and I thought that part of what we need to do is revise this style of thinking that calls veggie dishes either a “side” or a “salad.”
In the new style of eating recommended by people like Dr. Joel Fuhrman, in which 80% of your diet should be veggies, there is no longer such a thing as an entrée or a main part of the meal. I like to eat Middle Eastern style, with a collection of veggie concoctions, all equally significant on my plate, for nutrition, for eye appeal and for taste.
But old habits die-hard, and I’m not sure what to call these lovely dishes … so for the time being, they will have to remain, like the dishes on those extraordinary Middle Eastern Mezze tables, salatim or salads.
That picture at the top of this page…that’s a dish I made for Thanksgiving, simple and delicious. It contains Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cranberries and pecans, an unlikely combination.
I roasted the butternut squash and pecans separately, each with some cinnamon and maple syrup. I also roasted the Brussels sprouts and when they were almost finished, threw the cranberries onto the Brussels sprouts roasting tray for a brief moment. I folded all four ingredients together and added a little more syrup, cinnamon and a bit of salt to taste. It was the perfect Thanksgiving dish — or anytime.
This Italian Style Potato Salad and the Thanksgiving Medley above were both inspired by recipes I found on Pinterest. The Potato Salad is one I made as part of an Italian style vegan Shabbat dinner, the same one that featured that amazing vegan pesto and Tuscan Bean Soup.
I used three kinds of new potatoes in the salad: purple, yellow and red, cut them into quarters and cooked and cooled them separately. I also cooked some 2″ cut green beans and set them aside to cool along with the potatoes. When all were cool, I put the potatoes and green beans into a bowl, added some chopped Italian parsley, sliced red onion, pitted Calamata olives and quartered grape tomatoes. I folded all together with a little extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt and Italian seasonings (oregano, marjoram) and a bit of crushed red pepper.
Yes, this kind of food makes it easy to be vegan.