One of America's hidden gems and my personal favorite restaurant is the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, N.Y. Nowhere is the collaboration between delicious, clean foods and vegan cooking more apparent than at this restaurant. In fact, Moosewood was named one of the 13 most influential restaurants of the 20th century by Bon Appetit magazine.
The food at Moosewood is prepared with the freshest produce (organic whenever possible), whole grains, beans, soy, quality herbs and spices and the finest domestic ingredients available. In addition, the restaurant has made a commitment to promoting local and sustainable agriculture. On my most recent visit, I enjoyed a large salad, topped with homemade salad dressing, roasted vegetables over brown rice and homemade local ice cream with large chunks of dark chocolate. I also could not resist tasting the vegan crumble!
Vegetarianism as a lifestyle choice was a strong influence on the development of the restaurant's repertoire, as well as its commitment to offer the best ingredients in healthful, imaginative whole foods cuisine.
Over the past few years, I have begun reading extensively about the environmental and humanitarian treatment of animals and have decided to make a conscious commitment to a more healthful diet. The dishes and recipes at Moosewood are simple, fresh and delicious. As a budget-conscious, busy high school student, the key to eating healthy is packing my lunch daily and always having an abundant supply of snacks on hand. Below is one of my favorite dishes from the Moosewood Restaurant. Bon appetit!
|Mediterranean Lentil Salad
|Serve this nutritious salad on a bed of lettuce, topped with feta cheese and olives and surrounded by tomato wedges and cucumber slices.
Total time: 30 minutes
1 cup brown or green lentils
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme,(½ teaspoon dried)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced red or yellow bell pepper
½ cup minced red onion
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
⅓ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 rounded teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Rinse the lentils. In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils, water, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally.
While the lentils simmer, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Combine the celery, peppers, onions, and parsley in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients until smooth. When the sun-dried tomatoes have softened, drain and mince them, and add to the vegetables.
Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaves. Remove the garlic, mash it, and mix it back into the lentils. Toss the lentils with the vegetables and dressing, and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
Serve immediately, or cover and chill to serve later.
Reprinted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks At Home, Copyright ©1994 by Moosewood, Inc. Simon & Schuster/Fireside, publisher.