Anyone raised in an Armenian home, like I was, knows that food is a central part of our world. Family gatherings were abuzz with endless food preparation and overlapping conversations.
We were a traditional group – men cooked the shish kabab and women did everything else. Whoops, I almost forgot – the men did suggest it was time for leftovers as soon as the last plate was dried and put away.
Generally speaking, Armenian foods are labor intensive. Dolma, lahmajoun, boereg, and kufte take quite a bit of time to produce, especially for a large family with hearty appetites. But, believe it or not, there are one or two dishes that are easy, nonfat, and meatless – something that’s sure to tug at your vegetarian heartstrings.
Armenian Salad is a favorite, particularly during the summer when bounty from the garden (or your local farmer’s market) can be chopped, tossed, and chilled in no time. The flavor of these few ingredients awakens your mouth with an explosion of freshness – a perfect foil to the heaviness of many Armenian dishes.
- 4 cups tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I use Roma tomatoes)
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- ½ cup scallions, thinly sliced, using white and green part
- 2 cucumbers, skinned, seeded, and chopped
- ¼ cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- 2 tsp salt
Toss everything together and chill briefly. The longer it sits, the soupier it gets, so lessen the chill time by using cold ingredients.