So you’re just about to sit down to dinner and your brother’s new girlfriend announces that she’s a vegan. Do you:
A. Smile, pretend you didn’t hear her and serve her the ham anyway.
B. Point to the mashed potatoes and green beans.
C. Have a vegan side dish in your back pocket that can be ready to serve before she finishes her glass of pinot grigio?
HINT: the answer is C.
We live in Los Angeles, which is basically ground zero for every kind of food fad and legit dietary restriction. Hosting a dinner party here requires a certain fluency in vegetarian, pescetarian, dairy, wheat, soy, and gluten-free options. There are fruitarians here, too, but they are still mostly regarded as fringe weirdos (at least until a Kardashian takes it up) and then it will be all the rage. Peel me a grape!
My Husband became a Vegan for health reasons four years ago, but my boys regard anything involving kale as radioactive. I had to quickly adapt and find meatless dishes for Mr. Handsome that could also serve as a healthy side for my little carnivores.
Thankfully, living in California, we also have access to Trader Joe’s. TJ’s has saved my (turkey) bacon more times than I can count with healthy, affordable, prepared food that everybody loves. Even if you don’t have one nearby, this dish is so simple that you can re-create it from almost any supermarket deli section.
• 1 punnet of Tabouli salad
• 1 punnet Balela (chickpea + tomato + onion) salad
• 1 bag Quinoa Duo from the frozen section
1. Pour the quinoa into a big ceramic bowl, cover with a plate and slam it in the microwave for 5 minutes.
2. Allow quinoa to cool and mix in the tabouli and Balela salads. If you don’t live near a TJ’s you’ll have to make the quinoa (I use a rice cooker). Buy a can of garbanzo beans, season with Italian dressing and add chopped onion and tomatoes. Easy.
3. Boom. You’re a Vegan chef and have just created a healthy, filling dish that will delight your guests no matter what they’re into eating (or not eating).
FYI: It’s especially good with grilled Tofu, Beef or Lamb kebabs and served with some hummus and pita bread.