I'm always talking about how I'm trying to eat more vegetables or even claiming that I am eating more vegetables - it is a continual struggle and alternately a source of pride for me. By which I mean, if I do manage to get an impressive amount of veggies into my diet for a day, or even a week, I feel damn proud. Proud enough that, if I had the tools, I'd make a T-shirt to celebrate: I ATE MY BROCCOLI AND LIKED IT. Printed in big, bold capital letters. It would draw attention to my chest. Which is not the end goal of eating vegetables, but if you wear a shirt with large print on it, this is what happens. I'm going to move on now and pretend that last bit didn't get written.
Right. VEGETABLES. Are awesome. Really, I mean it, even though you'd think from all the whining I do on this subject that I despise them or am working through some kind of phobia. No, this is not true at all - I really do love vegetables, I'm just on such a weird eating schedule all the time that I find it difficult to have vegetable-themed meals, unless I stick them in a smoothie. See, I have this thing about vegetables: they are for lunch and dinner, but never breakfast, unless they're potatoes in the form of hash browns, sweet potatoes or carrots cooked in oatmeal, or spinach in a smoothie. Or omelettes, too. Okay, yes I can eat vegetables in the morning, but I prefer not to. And I definitely can't bring myself to eat crunchy, fresh vegetables first thing - I mean come on, who ever ate a salad for breakfast? If you're eating a salad for breakfast there's something wrong with you.
But lunch and dinner - these are the times for fresh, crunchy vegetables, of which there are so many still around at this time of year, though the time for garden vegetables is fast coming to a close. Alas! But, the days are still hot, the farmers' markets are still open, and so I can still load up on crunchy freshness. I love salads that are full of crunch; they hold up better to dressings and don't get soggy if you store them in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
The simplicity of this salad is what makes it so wonderful - it highlights the freshness and flavour of the ingredients, which you can switch up according to the season and your own tastes. I like to add chickpeas to bulk it up, but spelt or wheat berries would be a nice addition as well if you want this for a main dish rather than a side.
Adapted from David Lebovitz
This recipe is hardly set in stone; just about any fresh, crunchy vegetables will do. Beets, kohlrabi, jicama, red onion - whatever you have on hand!
1 cup Diced English Cucumber, de-seeded
1 cup Diced Carrots (2 - 3 carrots)
1 cup Diced Radishes
1/2 cup Diced Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
1 cup Chickpeas
2 tbsp Minced Herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint)
1/4 cup Toasted Seeds or Nuts (sesame, sunflower, almonds) opt.
3 - 4 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.
1. In a dry skillet, over medium heat, toast the seeds and or nuts of your choice (if using) until fragrant and slightly golden in colour. Set aside and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt & pepper. Set aside.
3. Clean and prep all your vegetables: de-seed the cucumber, peel the carrots, etc. Dice them into small cubes about the size of chickpeas. Add to the dressing, along with the minced herbs and toasted seeds/nuts, and toss together until well mixed and evenly coated with dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Enjoy immediately, or store in the fridge for later.