Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Just eat it, don't make me repeat it

I can live on salads, fruit and juices for the whole duration of summer. In Greece, that’s about 5 months. Sometimes, I consider myself lucky that as a vegetarian, I live in a Mediterranean country where there are lots of vegetables and fruit, but when I am in a bad mood, I just miss the variety I could find at british supermarkets. Being a vegetarian is so much easier in Britain. There is no convenience food for vegetarians in Greece. Veggie burgers are really difficult to find, and I haven’t even mentioned the lack of soya milk or tofu. I am not vegan, but if I were, I don’t know how I’d manage. You can’t always rely on health food shops to buy basic things like tofu. Not only are they sparse, they are ridiculously expensive too.
So I am constantly trying to find tasty things that can be made quickly. This salad is one of them because couscous is so versatile and you just need to boil some water to make it. And then, you just chop the vegetables. You could sauté them, I prefer to roast them when I have time.

Couscous, cherry tomatoes and roast vegetables salad
For 6 servings

* 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
* 15 cherry tomatoes
* 2 courgettes, sliced in 3
* 1 aubergine, sliced in 3
* 1 red bell pepper, in strips
* 5-6 garlic cloves (don’t peel them)
* 4 tablespoons olive oil plus some more (about ¼ cup)
* 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 6 tablespoons herbs:

-2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
-2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
-2 tablespoons oregano, chopped

* 2 ½ cups water
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 300 gr. couscous
* 1 cup pitted olives, cut in two
* 4 tablespoons caper
* 6 tablespoons lemon juice
* 4 tablespoons chopped basil

Preheat grill or oven at 200 C.
Prepare vegetables, except tomatoes and onion. Place them on a baking tin and drizzle them with 4 tablespoons olive oil, herbs, garlic, salt, pepper. They should become tender but not too much. Make sure they are evenly roasted from both sides. Remove garlic cloves and we leave vegetables to cool.
Boil the water. Place the couscous in a big bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let it absorb the water for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the roasted vegetables to pieces that should be the size of a mouthful. When the couscous is ready, add the vegetables, the tomatoes, the onion. Add the olives and caper. Next come the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and basil. Toss the salad and serve.
If you want the salad to be served cold, refrigerate it for a while, but in that case you should add the tomatoes at the last minute before serving. They really don’t behave well in the fridge.


Mindy T. said...

I,too, could live on salads during the warm moths. I'll be visiting you more often, because we have such similar veggie sensibilities.


Anonymous said...

one of the reasons that the people in my area are over weight is that fruits and veg are so expensive. Most people are hard working blue collar and they have trouble paying. I do the best I can to eat them when I can afford so. Winter is the worst.