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Ethnic Inspiration

Posted Jul 19 2011 3:56pm

I apologize for the lack of posts and recipes, dear readers! My life has been exceedingly hectic as of late, so I’ve been relying on random clean-out-the-refrigerator salads to save time and energy—not that my salads are boring, they’re just not necessarily recipe-worthy.

Additionally, despite my salad-concocting prowess, eating out has been a necessity a couple of times—and fun, too, of course, don’t get me wrong, especially when one visits an old favourite. In this case, last Friday night, my boyfriend and I had a date at Sanaa’s 8th Street Gourmet , a Lebanese restaurant and bakery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is everything a restaurant, Lebanese or otherwise, should be—fresh, healthy, eco-friendly, vegan-friendly, even gluten-free! Friday dinners and Saturday lunches feature a 10-course buffet that is, oh, I’d say 70-80% vegetarian or altogether vegan, with only 2 or 3 of the offerings containing meat.

My plate was PACKED! The buffet included a fresh spinach and cabbage salad tossed with chickpeas; eggplant moussaka (amazing!); rosemary roasted tomatoes, zucchini, and potatoes; barley pilaf with black-eyed peas and collard greens; hummus; green olive tapenade; muhammara; zucchini-mint relish; and freshly baked pita bread. EPIC WIN.

After my meal, I thanked Sanaa (the owner, if you didn’t already guess) for her delicious food and especially for catering to vegans. She was so touched by my compliment that she offered me a free vegan dessert—rice pudding made with coconut and almond milk, glazed with apricot preserves and candied orange peel (no photo, though, sorry!). It was amazing! Just goes to show that it’s worth it to express your gratitude and genuinely thank restaurants (and, yes, even those that are 100% vegan!) for recognizing diet diversity by offering vegan meals on their menus. That way, the chef knows his or her work is appreciated and the ever-growing awareness of veganism will continue spreading! Hoorah!

Although I have been ridiculously busy, I am finally here today with an easy, Lebanese-inspired recipe.

Deconstructed Hummus with Roasted Vegetables

My boyfriend and I are hummus FANATICS, and the sauce for this dish is TO DIE FOR—my boyfriend says that, once combined with the chickpeas, it’s like “deconstructed hummus,” hence the inspiration for the above title.

Adapted from this recipe

Serves 4


1 large red onion, halved, then quartered

1 head of cauliflower, florets torn into bite-sized pieces

1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch segments

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

2 cups of cooked chickpeas

¼ cup minced fresh parsley

Pepper, to taste

Toasted sesame seeds, to serve

For the sauce

2 Tbs. tahini

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. olive oil

1-2 Tbs. minced garlic


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Toss prepared vegetables with olive oil and salt before spreading them evenly on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender and browning slightly.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl, adding about 1-2 Tbs. water to thin the sauce to the desired consistency.
  3. In a large bowl, add chickpeas to roasted vegetables and toss with the sauce, parsley, and pepper, as desired. Serve immediately, garnished with toasted sesame seeds.

Served with couscous (to which I added some raisins at the last moment) and simple steamed collard greens. Delicious! And look at the new and wonderfully GROOVY tray I discovered at a local thrift store! Love at first sight. <3

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