“What the heck do I serve with this?” isn’t a question I ask myself often, given my preference for one-pot meals and things that just need rice to make them complete. But when I finally got to make the Eggplant Chickpea Kibbeh out of Vegan Planet last week, that’s exactly what I found myself wondering.
I’ve been eying that recipe for I don’t know how long, but I rarely had bulgur in my collection of grains. Then I didn’t have the pine nuts I needed for the eggplant bit. It seemed like there was always something missing around my kitchen, so I kept on passing it by. At last, though, I was able to bring everything together and make a half a batch for Mom and I to share.
Before I did, I had to work out what to serve as a side. Asking around Twitter, I got a lot of responses involving green veggies. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of the particular veggies that people were suggesting! What I did have was broccoli; more so, lots and lots of broccoli stalks. I only recently started saving the stalks after trying them in the Appetite For Reduction Pasta Con Broccoli recipe. I can’t believe I never ate them before then! They have a great texture that makes them lovely for putting on salads. I’ve also been known to add thin slices to sandwiches too!
The salad recipe is more of a guideline than an actual recipe, but I’ll share it anyway. You can use pretty much any hard veggies you have on hand–broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, parsnips–as long as the combination tastes good together and you’ve got a handy dressing or dressing recipe that complements your main dish. I went with the tahini-dill dressing from Veganomicon, leaving out the dill for straight tahini flavor. Anything tangy would complement the veggies nicely!
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 large head of broccoli, including stem
- ½-3/4 cup dressing of choice
- black pepper (optional)
- Chop the tops of the broccoli into small florets and set aside.
- Using the shredder blade of your food processor, shred the carrots and broccoli stems.
- Place all the veggies in a bowl, pour on the dressing, and toss. Add a little black pepper, if desired.
The kibbeh itself was interesting, both to make and to eat. Cooked bulgur and chopped chickpeas were mixed together to form a sort of “crust.” I chopped the chickpeas in the food processor to get them nice and small. Then eggplant, pine nuts, onions and a couple of Middle-Eastern-style seasonings were cooked up in a skillet to make the “filling.” More bulgur and chickpeas went on top, forming a sort of filled loaf, or perhaps a giant sandwich. Into the oven with the whole deal and about half an hour later, it had crisped up and gone brown on top and the filling was nice and hot.
I’m not sure what I thought of it overall. Mom and I drizzled leftover tahini dressing on it, which made a nice complement, but I didn’t find that it had all that strong of a flavor in and of itself. It certainly wasn’t bad, but I think the salad stole the show. What Mom and I didn’t eat of that, I gobbled down the next day as a side to my sandwich at lunchtime. It was far superior to chips or pretzels, and now that things like beets are starting to appear at the farmer’s market, I may very well be making some batches of similar shredded salads to have around during the summer!
What’s your favorite raw veggie to make the “star” of a salad?