strawberry-avocado green salad with chickpea relish and fresh basil.
do you ever have one of those dinners where you realize you are shoveling your food frantically into your mouth as though you’ll never eat again? that’s what happened to me tonight. i had to stop myself, put my fork down, and breathe a little. i think this was a combination of not having eaten since my morning smoothie and my meal being mouthgasmic.
one of the big perks of my co-op job is that there’s often produce that can’t be sold for whatever reason and is free for employees to take. sometimes they really are past their prime, but most often you can either work around a bruised spot, or it is simply a perfectly ripe vegetable ready to be eaten within a day or three. a couple of days ago i got a free pint of strawberries, and today i unburied a few avocados and a bunch of cilantro. when i have strawberries and avocado, i think of them as perfect mates for a green salad, rather than separating them for sweet and savory individual purposes. a sprinkling of fresh basil and a sudden inspiration to use my recently soaked and cooked chickpeas as well made for a giant salad perfect for one person’s dinner, or two as a considerable side salad.
strawberry-avocado green salad with chickpea relish and fresh basil (serves 1 as a meal, 2 as a side):
1/2 head red romaine, chopped
6 strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 c chickpeas
2 tbsp red onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
splash white balsamic vinegar
splash lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 leaves basil, shredded or cut into chiffonade
dressing of choice (optional – i used goddess dressing)
place romaine on a plate or in a wide shallow bowl. top with sliced strawberries and avocado (you can sprinkle a little lemon juice on the avocado to prevent browning). make the chickpea relish by combining the chickpeas, red onion, olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl, tossing to coat. sprinkle over the salad and top with basil leaves. serve as is or with optional dressing.
the second half of my meal was inspired by pondering cauliflower. i’d thought about making a raw coconut cauliflower “rice” dish with green peas, or a soup, or just roasting it. today ended up being rather dreary and gray, and crispy roasted cauliflower sounded just right. but not just with olive oil and a couple of spices. i wanted something spicy, flavorful, and different. how about chilies? how about cilantro? how about chocolate? yes. chocolate. mole-roasted cauliflower it was.
i’m certainly not a mole expert; i’ve had it a few times to varying degrees of likeability. one of the world’s “master sauces,” i read somewhere that authentic mole uses 100 ingredients and a bit of time to prepare. but since my cauliflower didn’t need a thick sauce for roasting, i improvised more of a simple marinade. it’s far from 100 ingredients (and probably authenticity), but full of flavor and a nice kick from the cayenne. go ahead and make your roasted cauliflower a little sexy.
mole-roasted cauliflower (serves 2-4):
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp epazote or oregano
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tsp cocoa powder
2 cloves garlic
3 tbp canola oil
1-2 tsp lime juice
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
chopped fresh cilantro to garnish
preheat oven to 425F. in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except cauliflower and cilantro. add cauliflower and toss well to coat, then place in a wide, oven-safe dish. roast for 25-35 minutes until edges are crispy, and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. serve hot. (you could also use any leftovers pureed with vegetable stock for a quick and easy soup.)
i was generously awarded the excellent award blog awhile back by lisa of show me vegan. i am meant to award this to five other bloggers whom i find excellent, but this task overhwhelms me as i feel there are so many amazing blogs out there(and i know i only know a small fraction of them) and i have seen this award floating around on several within the past few months. i try very hard to keep up with all the blogs on my blogroll as well as a handful of others, but i’m not always a visible visitor (i don’t comment very often). therefore, in order to prevent double-awarding/repeats (which i was guilty of causing with my last meme), i am forgoing passing this award on to only five blogs, and going to leave comments on the blogs i visit regularly instead of being shy. and again, if you have a blog or know of a blog i don’t have listed here, please let me know!