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April 22, 2006

Anti-Pythagorean Salad

This makes a nice quick and simple no-cook lunch or light supper. It does take a fair bit of chopping, though. (I find chopping veggies quite relaxing, but the ever-expanding collection of pre-chopped vegetables available in supermarkets strongly suggests to me that not everyone feels the same way.)

I call it "Anti-Pythagorean" salad because of the fava beans, which Pythagoras counselled his followers to avoid. (This article gives a good summary of the potential reasons one might want to avoid fava beans.) I used canned fava beans, which are kind of odd beasties. For one, I've only ever come across them in one grocery store (Mollie Stone's in Palo Alto), and for another, they're utterly unlike the fresh fava beans that I've had. They have dark purplish-black skins, and none of the "green" taste of fresh favas. If you can't find canned fava beans, or if you're feeling Pythagorean, I'd substitute chick peas or cannelini beans. Or you could probably use fresh favas, but that would give the salad a different taste.

The Ingredients

The Steps

  1. Dice the onion first, and put it in a small bowl with the sumac (if using) and lemon juice. Stir to coat, and allow the whole thing to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients. (15 to 20 minutes or so.) Marinating raw onions in lemon juice makes them considerably less pungent, and less prone to causing indigestion.
  2. Dice up the other veggies as described, and put them in a large bowl. Add the feta, and dried oregano to taste. Add the onion mixture, and some extra virgin olive oil, and mix everything up. Taste, adjust the seasoning with oil, salt, and pepper.

Serve stuffed into warm whole-wheat pitas with a dollop of baba ganoush or hummus on top. It gets the Mr. Spaceling "You can make this again!" seal of approval.

Posted by spaceling at April 22, 2006 01:42 PM

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