My body craves change right now—double the amount, to be exact: due to the new season and craving being released from lockdown. I ditched all my favorite winter comfort foods to crunchy veggies, fresh herbed sauces, and sweet fruits, and try to bring something new to my table whenever I can so I don't feel that monotonic routine.
I find it so wonderful, despite all that is going on, that as vegans we can thrive. We can turn literally any dish into vegan, which when I first turned vegetarian 18 years ago was an enormous challenge for me.
For this saslik recipe I used soy pillows, they are my favorite way to replace meat; but feel free to use any kind of meat replacer (store bought vegan gyros meat, chick-un shreads or even portobello mushroom slices) you fancy, which is in a shape that can be pulled on a skewer.
Lebanese Style Chick-un Saslik with Charred Lemon Cauliflower Salad
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 a lemon zest and juice of
- a pinch cayenne pepper
- to taste salt, black pepper
- 200g soy pillows
- 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 large lemon, quartered
- 1 large lemon juiced
- 1 big bunch fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup olives, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 medium (Persian) cucumber, chopped
- 2 tbsp pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- 1 cup vegan yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
1. Prepare your meat replacement as advised, depending on your choice.
2. I cooked the soy pillows in water, as they come dried.
Prepare a marinade:
3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil with tomato paste, paprika powder, garlic powder, zest and juice of the half lemon, cayenne pepper, and a season with pinch of salt and black pepper. Add the soy pillows/meat replacer and toss well to coat. Let them marinate for 15 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 180°C.
5. On a baking sheet, combine the cauliflower florets with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, squeeze some lemon juice over them. Arrange the lemons around the cauliflower and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until they become tender and slightly charred.
6. Once done, remove the charred lemon slices and finely chop them, rind and discarding the seeds. Add the chopped lemon to a salad bowl. Add the parsley, olives, white wine vinegar, and remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the cauliflower, cucumbers, and pumpkin seeds, toss to combine.
7. If the soy pillows are marinated enough, thread them on 2 skewers and grill them in a grill pan or skillet, over medium-high heat, until slightly charred on each side and cooked through.
8. For the sauce mix together the vegan yogurt with salt, crushed garlic and lemon juice, make it as picante as you like.
9. To serve place the skewers on plates with the cauliflower salad and top them with the yogurt sauce. Season with more fresh parsley.
10. If desired you can serve it with papads as I did or with naan bread.
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Photo: Imola Toth