Being a vegetarian in the diverse locales of Oklahoma, Montana, and now semi-rural Oregon, I’ve learned that if I want to eat something at a party/social gathering, I should bring it. It’s just a lot easier than explaining, “No, I don’t eat fish.” “Chicken stock isn’t exactly vegetarian.” Further, being active and healthy, I cannot subsist on starches alone. That is, even though I can eat white rice doesn’t mean that’s all I want to eat or that a cup of white rice constitutes a full meal.
Further, I don’t have to endure the added bonus of surprise! ingredients added by people who don’t necessarily agree or understand why I choose not to eat meat, hiding meat into dishes just to “prove me wrong.” For example, “hiding” anchioves into the pasta sauce or a piece of chicken in the tofu stir-fry. It’s not that I have a moral objection to people eating meat. It’s not that simple, while I admit trying to explain or describe it can be unnecessarily complicated and illogical.
That said, I typically bring some kind of hearty salad to events that everyone is likely to enjoy but that I’m able to eat unilaterally without being devoid of nutrients.
Last Sunday, I chose a couscous salad that included blanched vegetables, couscous, and a dill dressing. I found it in the Moosewood’s Low-Fat Favorites cookbook.
It was fairly easy: Cook up one box of plain couscous, “rehydrate” 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, blanche 2 zucchinis, 2 carrots, and 2 red/yellow peppers, combine these with chopped celery, red onions, and tomatoes, and top with a dressing made of fresh dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a dash of olive oil. Voila! Next time I might add some garbanzo beans to up the protein, but for the time being, it’s pretty tasty and a great leftover.
And, I also supply a spinach salad. Call me Popeye, but I’ve strangely always loved spinach. At age 8 I would only eat it cooked and drowned in melted butter, but these days, I prefer it fresh in a salad with onions, a bit of feta cheese, tomatoes, and candied walnuts.
For a dressing, I use my own: a combination of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, crushed garlic, lemon juice, brown sugar, and a drop of mustard.