Sunday, 13 May 2012

So a vegan walks into a bar ...

After a weekend of pure indulgence (mini-foodie-fueled-vacay to Niagara on the Lake) hubby and I needed a little break from decadence and sheer (over?) indulgence.  My liver also needed a day or so sans-wine, which came as a surprise to me - who knew I could have 'enough wine'?  I think it may have been the 5 hour winery tour followed by the 5 hour 5-course wine-inspired dinner that finally did us in.  (More on THAT amazing dinner to come ...)  "We need CLEAN EATING!" I shouted.  Hubby's face dropped.  Fear.  Followed by panic.  Followed by more fear.  Then finally he agreed. 

I know that he envisioned his dinner being a bowl of water with some lemon bits floating around in it.

So before he could change his mind, I sprang to the pantry - what treasures are buried within?  And the fridge - what do we have on hand?  I'm certainly not leaving the house to go to the grocery store.  Not after a weekend away!  I'm still trying to eek out the last possible hours of 'vacation mindset' before the work week begins ...

A while ago I picked up some brown-rice couscous.  As someone who is wheat-intolerant ("I will NOT tolerate it!") I'm always on the look-out for new grains to try ... so why not 'new' couscous?  And thankfully good old cucumber and tomato were also on hand.  So, armed with my trusty trio of ingredients, I grabbed a tin of lentils and set about making our dinner.

Brown Rice Couscous and Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing
Harness your inner vegan-goddess!  Vegetarians unite!  We're going meat-free.  We're going WHEAT FREE!  We're going gluten free ... and we're loving it!

You will need:
A bowl, a can opener, a magic bullet (all hail the Magic Bullet)/or a blender would also do the trick, spoon for stirring, knife and cutting board, measuring spoons/cups.  Normally I would say glass of wine, but tonight, dear friends, perhaps a tall glass of water with a wedge of lemon will suffice.
  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice couscous SEE BELOW for this amazing discovery!
(Honestly, I think any cooked grain would work in this salad.  You've got leftover bulger?  Use it instead.  Basmati rice from last nights curry?  Throw it in.  Even our ancient friend Kamut would work ... you get my drift?  It's Sunday night, and we're looking for 'simple' and if you can save yourself from having to wash a pot, all the better!)
  • 1x 19oz can of lentils
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (or roughly 1/2 a big lemon)
  • 1/4 cup of GOOD olive oil (really, good olive oil makes a difference, none of that $4.99 bottle of generic garbage, bust out the good stuff ... it's worth it!)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (if you don't have tahini hiding in the pantry, this would work well with any nut-butter ... try for tahini 'cause it just marries itself so nicely with the grains)
  • 1/4 lukewarm water
  • 1 garlic clove roughly chopped (again, aim for locally grown garlic whenever possible 'cause the stuff that is "imported" just doesn't pack the same nutritional PUNCH as the local stuff)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups quartered grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped English cucumber (so like, slice the cuke in half, then those halves in half and then chop 'em so you get "little triangles" that are roughly the same size as the quartered tomatoes)
  • 3 or 4 green onions roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • Handful of fresh mint (if you don't have fresh mint on hand, throw in some dried mint as a substitute ... go for 1TBSP and see if it's minty enough for ya', if not ... add more!)
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
What to do next ...
  • In a salad bowl place your brown rice couscous (or whatever cooked grain you've got on hand), lentils, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, parsley and mint ... mix 'em all around.
  • Grab yer' Magic Bullet or blender.
  • Put the lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, warm water, garlic clove, cumin and salt n pepper.
  • Blend it up!  It is going to look 'thick' (see below) and that's OKAY 'cause the liquid from the veggies is going to thin it out once they all mingle together.
  • Put the blended dressing in the salad bowl and mix it together with the veggies.
  • Set aside, or eat right away.
We also had this salad as leftovers the next day.  We added a little feta cheese, black olives and a tin of tuna.  TADA!  Easy dinner for Monday night after a long day back at work. 

Happy wheat free noshing ...
Seriously RUN DON'T WALK to find this stuff! 
It is AWESOME good ...
I got this at organic Garage in Oakville, but I'm SURE it's elsewhere ....
The "spoon licking" after taking this photo was OUTSTANDING ...


  1. Amazing! I made this the other night with white coucous and chickpeas, lots of broccoli and some other leftover veggies! GEE!! So good, love the dressing! Thanks :-)

    1. AWESOME! You know how I love a good 'bean substitution' - super happy that it worked out. I love a recipe that can be 'tinkered' with :) Thank you so much for sharing your 'tinkering'!!!!