Yesterday, I semi-successfully completed my third weekend in a row of alcohol-free amusement. This one was a bit tougher than last. As it turns out, I’m a lot better at sober dance parties than sitting around a table with friends while they drink lambrusco and eat chocolate cake. The FOMO is just too much to handle.
For this next stage of my liver spring cleaning, I’m adding on a few more challenges. My acupuncturist Heidi (who you’ll meet this Wellness Wednesday!) happened to post this on her site last week about liver cleanses, and it made me realize that there were a few more things I should probably weed out if I want my excruciating month of vice-free living to actually be effective. In addition to alcohol, caffeine and sugar, Heidi also recommends removing dairy and meat.
I don’t eat a ton of dairy, since for years before I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, I thought I was lactose intolerant. (Oops.) But I am very much a carnivore. So the idea of going vegan on top of everything else is definitely daunting. To ease into it, I’m trying to go vegan during the daylight hours. (Though I’m still eating organic eggs).
I wrote this post about Bittman’s VB6 diet in the fall, along with a delicious recipe for his roasted ratatouille. I think this is a smart way to go about things, and it’s pretty close to how I eat on a weekly basis anyway. I try to eat homemade lunches to cut down on my seamless habits and also because it’s an easier way to stick to my budget and still have fun with friends out on the town. Most of the time 75 percent of these dishes come from my pantry and are vegan just by way of the fact that I don’t keep a whole lot of frozen meats on hand.
I always recommend to people who are new to integrating cooking into their daily routine that they try blocking off a chunk of cooking time on Sunday. I don’t always stick to this schedule myself, but usually one day or night at the beginning of the week I’ll prepare a couple make ahead things to have on hand for my lunches. A few weeks ago, this quinoa was on the menu. I had a handful of different veggies that were shriveling away in my crisper drawer, so I threw them on a sheet pan and gave them some olive oil love.
My rando fridge scrap creations rarely get any face time on the site. But this red quinoa salad recipe ended up being so delicious that I might just make it again on purpose. I also had some fresh green herbs and a jalapeno that were about to go bad. So I added them to my standard tahini dressing for a fresh and spicy version that tasted amazing with the sweet and caramelized veg.
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Carrots, Parnsips, and Green Tahini Dressing
- 1 small yellow onion halved and thinly sliced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 medium parsnips peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup red quinoa
- Green Tahini Dressing
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- On a parchment lined baking sheet, toss the onions, carrots, and parsnips with the olive oil and salt until evenly coated. Arrange in an even layer and top with the thyme sprigs. Roast the vegetables in the oven until golden brown and caramelized, about 30 minutes, redistributing once.
- Meanwhile, bring the quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the roasted vegetables to the pot and toss until combined with the quinoa. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with 1/4 cup tahini. Serve warm or at room temperature alongside the remaining tahini dressing.