by Naomi Grewan
Up until recently, most vegetarian meals I’ve made have been more suited to colder, winter weather. But with summer here and the heat draining any joy from my being, I’ve managed to find some wonderful, healthy, cost-effective alternatives that are fit for the summertime sadness.
Turns out couscous is not as weird as I initially believed. Couscous is a great alternative to heavier fillers like pasta or potatoes. Couscous salads are excellent for lazy cooks like me who don’t like the effort required to prepare meals multiple times a week, especially in the summer heat. The best part about the two recipes below is that they are just as good cold. If that isn't enough to persuade you to try them, they also freeze really well and the flavours intensify overnight.
The Moroccan spiced vegetable couscous from Erren’s Kitchen (see here) is what changed my mind about couscous. The blend of turmeric, cumin and cinnamon creates a depth of flavour I didn’t think was possible. Think of Remy in Ratatouille when he tries strawberry and cheese – absolute bliss.
However, the best couscous salad ever is from The Wanderlust Kitchen (see here). This one is the best mainly because of how the flavours develop over a couple of days. You could make this dish on Monday, leave it in the fridge, and by Thursday it would be better than it was on Monday. It must have something to do with the apple cider vinegar and honey dressing, I’m almost certain.
Kidney beans are my favourite beans (just in case anyone was interested). Not only do they taste amazing but they are an excellent source of iron and protein. Either as a meal or a snack, the benefits of kidney beans are endless. If you’re curious, feel free to read more here.
The Mediterranean kidney bean salad from The Mediterranean Dish (see here) is a dish meant to be eaten cold. This one I would recommend you make and eat entirely on the same day. Cucumber goes soggy if you leave it alone for too long and honestly that ruins the entire salad. Rather make a smaller quantity and finish it off in one go. Unless of course soggy cucumber doesn’t bother you.
This next one is by far my absolute favourite. It is the delicious high protein kidney bean salad from Hurry the Food Up (see here). You can easily substitute any of the vegetables for ones you prefer or mix and match them as you please. However, I would recommend making smaller portions of this salad because it doesn’t keep as well as the others and is ridiculously filling. You do not need a big bowl of it to feel like you’ve eaten enough for the year. I suppose this makes sense considering it is a high protein salad.
As a child egg-fried-rice was always my parents go-to whenever we had rice leftover from a previous meal. It’s a really easy thing to prepare and no exact recipe is needed. This is just as enjoyable with any selection of veg. I recommend frying it in coconut oil, it adds a subtle extra flavour without overpowering the dish. The trick to this is frying the egg separately first. I know that may sound obvious, but I thoughtlessly chucked the raw egg in with the rice and veg my first time. Not a smart choice, don’t do that. You can find an easy recipe here, but like I said, you can wing this one and I guarantee it’ll be just as tasty.