Lockdown Salads- the Levantine Style Bean Salad
Levant and its food culture
The Levant region in the Middle East is a conglomerate of 5 countries-Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Syria and Jordan. The region has a Mediterranean climate and the agricultural land reaps a resplendent variety of fruits , vegetables, grains, pulses and nuts all of which are tastefully used in their cuisine. It is surprising to notice that salads are an important part of their daily meal. Every Levantine cuisine restaurant has a long list of salads to boast on their menu.
To make the lockdown less boring and add pizzaz to the otherwise ennui of sitting at home my childhood family friend Shekhar and I started exchanging interesting food creations crafted out of our individual kitchens. The activity heightened to eating very high calorific food in the competition of making it tastier- until I decided I was going to go on a diet and I was not going to eat anything that had oil or butter. When I declared No food with fats or oils anymore! Shekhar took the challenge of whipping out a fat free salad each day based on his travel experience to different continents around the world. He definitely endorsed the Middle Eastern region as the land of delightful salads. A new activity sprung up! I had a salad delivered every day as I delightfully- documented each artistically crafted fat free salad. In lockdown your physical activity is reduced to just plain home exercise. You need to alter your diet with foods that have high fiber content, minerals and vitamins. Salads seem like an irrefutable choice meeting all the nutritious criteria at hand. The Levantine Green bean salad is concocted from the produce available in the mediterranean region of Levant. It is simple, fat free and exudes taste when garden fresh produce is used.
the Levantine Bean Salad
3 cups of french beans julienned and steamed
1 cup of feta cheese crumbled
1 tsp powdered mustard
1/tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup finely diced almonds(soaked almonds overnight are skinned and diced)
salt and sugar to taste
1 Tb fresh squeezed lime juice
Toss the above ingredients in a large bowl. Garnish with cilantro or parsley.(optional)