Friday, August 22, 2008

RECIPE ~ Monster Salad

Invited to a potluck barbecue this past weekend I thought I'd take a vegetable side that was something between a salad and a side of vegetables, and came up with this really delicious dish! Hearty enough to have on its own as a summer lunch, or added to a meal of rice and whatever else (dahl, samosas, falafels, etc). Use whatever quantities of veggies you like.

1 bagful of green beans, yellow beans or string beans, ends trimmed
2 red peppers, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced in crescents
10-15 new or baby potatoes, halved (or larger potato, cubed)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

Get a large pot and add 2 inches of water, insert a steamer basket and start steaming! Begin with the green beans, steaming until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Remove beans and add potatoes, steaming until easily pierced with a sharp knife. Remove potatoes and steam onions until wilted, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the onions generously with salt. Let sit a few minutes then mix well and rinse under cold water. This is to remove the "bite" of onions so they're just left sweet and tasty.

In a large bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Add all the steamed vegetables, plus chickpeas and cilantro, and toss well to coat. Be gentle so the potatoes don't get crushed and the beans don't break. Check the seasoning, adding more of whatever you think it needs (more salt? cilantro? ground coriander?). I didn't do this but it occurred to me after that it would be really good with a few cups of shredded napa cabbage added. Feel free to try it! If you do you'll have to increase the amount of dressing by about half or double. Serve warm or cold. Yum!

Steam the green beans then the potatoes until tender-crisp, so not quite cooked all the way. Then, in a large pan or wok, heat some oil and saute the raw onion slices (not pre-steamed) until soft. Add the garlic, cumin and coriander and stir a bit, then add the steamed veggies and chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper while sauteing for a few minutes. Serve hot sprinkled with cilantro and a big squeeze of lemon juice! Definitely great with rice -- perhaps some coconut rice with basil? :-)

VATAS replace red pepper with carrots cut in matchsticks; replace potatoes with cubed parsnips or sweet potato; replace chickpeas with aduki beans
PITTAS minimize garlic and black pepper
KAPHAS minimize salt and oil

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