Every January, Joey and I give up something. It started as a detox plan 13 years ago, initially only with alcohol, and has slowly grown into an elaborate restart to the year. So on top of being dry every January, we also give up things that we feel may not serve us as well as they used to. Some things stick and become a life-long habit (like sugar), and others are temporary (like coffee). Some make us realize how precious our time spent together is (like TV) and others remind us to be present and empathetic (it’s not only tactile things that we give up!). So this Jan, we’ve added red and white meat to our list of omissions. We still eat fish and eggs but will forgo meat until Feb. That does put a bit of a strain on my cooking abilities so I am spending more time finding ideas than actually cooking! This veggie summer salad is a version of a lunch dish that I used to buy from a little healthfood take-away when we lived in Hong Kong.
This is an amazingly balanced and filling meal and the combinations of flavours are just stunning. The sesame seeds add a bit of crunch and the dressing has a lovely tanginess that balances the sweet veggies. You can of course also use it as a side dish with a braai 😉
Wholesome and Scrumptious Veggie Summer Salad (serves 6)
You will need:
- 2 cups of cooked and cooled brown rice
- 1 cup of cooked and cooled brown lentils*
- Coconut or olive oil to fry
- 1x Red Pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1x Yellow Pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1x Large Aubergine, cubed
- 1x Red Onion, finely chopped
- 1x tsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 handful fresh Coriander (Cilantro), finely chopped.
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Juice and rind of 1 lemon
- Toasted sesame seeds
- 1x cup double cream yoghurt
Use dried lentils, soaked overnight if you can. But if you don’t have time, then tinned lentils will work just as well!
Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok and fry the garlic for a couple of minutes. Then add the rest of the veggies and fry until the aubergine is soft – but not squishy. This will take about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Mix the rice and lentils in a large bowl and mix in the cold veggies. Scoop it out into a large serving dish.
Toast the sesame seeds in a pan without and oil. Once they turn a lovely golden colour, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Sprinkle the salad with the sesame seeds and half of the lemon rind. Then squeeze over half a lemon and finish with the chopped coriander.
To make the dressing:
Put the yoghurt in a small bowl, squeeze the other half of the lemon over it and sprinkle with the rest of the lemon rind.
Serve each helping with a dollop of the dressing.