A couple of weeks ago, I read a post from Cooking Light's facebook page that asked if people did a meatless Monday and, if they did, why they chosen to do it. After reading a lot of the responses (good for the environment, want to cut costs, have been vegetarian for years, their family will only allow them on meal a week that's meatless), I realized that our transition (and by our, I mean my husband and I) into more meatless meals has been less about making a conscious choice. Whenever we make vegetarian or vegan meals, I don't think "I'm going to have a vegetarian or vegan meal", I think "this looks good for dinner, I think I'll go with that".
We've just kind of naturally bent into it. When I think about it, I think this attitude (at least on my part) can be attributed to the parents of an ex of mine who were very much flexitarians. His mother was the first person to introduce me to the joys of eggplant, tomato and black olive stew (a recipe I've since lost, so if you ever read this Penny, I'd love to have it again!) about a decade ago. In their house, it wasn't about the fact that meat was missing from the table, it was about celebrating whatever was there.
And that's where the idea of Meatless Mondays doesn't work for me. There's this implication that some integral part of the meal is missing. I'd say, for us, there is no integral part of the meal. As long as there's protein in there, I don't care if it's black beans or flank steak. If it's prepared right and tastes good, I'm a happy camper. I just don't think we appreciate non-animal forms of protein enough, you know?
You're probably tired of hearing me ramble. Let's get to the point.
This recipe, like yesterday's, was born out of a need to empty out the cupboard and the laziness of avoiding the grocery store.
Chickpea and Swiss Chard with Wheat Berries and Tahini-Lemon Dressing
(adapted from Oh She Glows)
1 cup wheat berries
1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cups sliced washed swiss chard, stems separated from leaves
1 cup washed, stemed spinach leaves
Lemon-Tahini Dressing (recipe below)
1. Cook wheat berries in 4 cups water (the ratio for cooking wheat berries is 1:4) for 60-70 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic for 6-7 minutes, or until onion is tender and beginning to colour slightly.
3. Add cherry tomatoes and Swiss chard stems. Sauté for another 5-7 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to burst. Add Swiss chard and spinach leaves. Let cook for about 1 minute. Add in Lemon-Tahini Dressing and stir to coat. Mix in cooked, drained wheat berries and chickpeas.
¼ cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, bitter stem removed
juice of one lemon (about 1/3 cup)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp water
optional: grated Parmesan
1. Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste.
That was easy, wasn't it?