Be Brave and Creative in the Kitchen
One of the most rewarding attributes of the Vata dosha is creativity and as we enter Vata Season, Mother Nature demonstrates the creative force within and accessible to us all. Finding your personal unique diet and lifestyle requires some openness and creativity. You have to stay curious and eager to experiment. A big part of experiments with happen on a kitchen counter. Some will be successful and tasty, others will be good learning experiences. All of them can be fun, however! :).
This weekend I hosted a dinner party for a group of omnivores. By omnivores, I mean people who don’t follow any particular diet and regularly eat meat. Inspired by Lifethyme’s kitchen and not particularly interested in dealing with raw meat, I decided to prepare an all-vegetarian meal without telling my guests. If only they knew what they got themselves into… Besides serving no animal proteins, I completely improvised with recipes to create 6 vegetarian dishes. Fortunately, it turned out amazing!
Butternut Squash and Black Bean Casserole with Goat Cheese
Sauteed Sesame Tofu with Sprouts and Chard
Sunflower Spouts and Baby Spinach Salad with Lemony Miso Dressing
Roasted Fennel and Asparagus
Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame, Mushrooms, and Peppers
Baby Beets with Walnuts and Goat cheese
Surprisingly, guests didn’t notice that something was missing on the table until I brought it up. It was inspiring to see meat-eaters happily fill up on simple vegetarian fare! The best part was that preparing the entire meal took less than 2 hours and no planning whatsoever! Here is a recipe for one of the dishes that everyone loved:
- 1 cup quinoa (I used white quinoa)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed (10 ounces)
- 1/2 cup cubed carrots
- 1/2 cup cubed bell pepper
- 1/2 cup oyster mushrooms (optional. Mushrooms can be quite heavy for digestion so listen to your body here)
- ¼ cups toasted sesame
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or sesame oil for more intense taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Toast quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it becomes aromatic and begins to crackle, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly.
- Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook gently for 8 minutes. Remove the lid and, without disturbing the quinoa, add edamame, carrots, peppers, and mushrooms, if using. Cover and continue to cook until the vegetables and quinoa are tender, 7 to 8 minutes longer. Drain any remaining water, if necessary.
- Whisk lemon zest and juice, oil, sesame and salt in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
What do you think about surprising your guests with a vegetarian meal one time?