When I first became vegetarian, at the end of my baccalaureate, I made the classic mistake of overdoing every dish: salads, soups, stews and cakes had too many ingredients and too strong seasoning. Later I recognised this gluttony on my part as a leftover act from the meat-eating days. Meat dishes are often over-seasoned either out of a habit or to mask the mediocre quality of meat used. This habit spills over to vegetables, grains and pulses, which too often meet the same heavy-handed fate. Over time over-seasoning lowers the taste buds' ability to recognise flavours that are subtle. It took me a few years before I realised that a carrot has a sweet and tender taste that does not need to be killed off with strong seasoning. Or that a salad dressing does not necessarily require a list of ingredients stretching into double digits.
Nowadays I cook intuitively. Instead of following recipes I trust my eyes and intuition, buying only what looks fresh and smells good. I use less ingredients in my dishes than when I ate meat and I try to nourish my body, rather than fill up the stomach.
My salads tend to be assembled with only a few ingredients. This time I used mung bean sprouts, which have a cleansing effect, salad leaves and curly parsley, added a few strands of soaked Wakame seaweed and dressed the salad with soya sauce and piquant-tasting extra virgin olive oil. Some varieties of soya sauce have a sharp vinegary taste, others are smoother. A few drops of freshly squeezed orange juice breaks up the sharpness in soya sauce. Soyabeans are an excellent source of protein (38%).
For the salad:
* salad leaves
* a bunch of curly parsley
* a handful of mung bean sprouts
For the dressing:* a spoonful of oil
* a spoonful of soya sauce
* a few drops of freshly squeezed orange juice
Toss everything together and serve with dark rye and seed bread.