I have long believed that the Word of Wisdom asks us to have a mostly-vegetarian diet.  For years, I found this extremely difficult to adhere to, for two reasons: 1) meat tastes very good, and 2) so much of our convenience food has a strong meat component.  I always said that if I were in a situation where vegetarian eating could meet those two criteria, I would try it, and eventually the right circumstances emerged when I went to work in Iraq.

On the bases where I worked in Baghdad, the dining halls served a lot of meat, but also a lot of impressive salads and vegetarian dishes.  And since I didn’t have to prepare the food, the convenience factor left me with no excuse.  I went on a mostly-vegetarian diet (having an occasional chicken cordon bleu), and between that diet and daily biking around Saddam’s old hunting reserve (now a US base), I lost almost 30 lbs and arrived home in the best shape of my life.

Folks, I am definitely a carnivore.  I grill up various kinds of meat in different ways, with a regularity that some might find shocking.  But occasionally, I come across a recipe that reminds me that if I had no access to meat, there are foods I can cook that would be just as delicious- I really wouldn’t miss it.  Because I love all of you, I would like to share one of those recipes with you today.  My buddy Simmons introduced me to this one a while back, and I think it’s going to rock your world.

Word of Wisdom Made Easy: Grilled Pepper Salad

Ingredients:
2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
Goat Cheese (optional, but I recommend it)

For the dressing:
1 clove garlic (I just use a tsp of garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parlsey or slivered fresh basil
2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Preparation sans goat cheese:

Grill the peppers until the skins are charred, as seen below.  Peel the skins mostly off the peppers (you can scrape the skins with a butter knife), cut the peppers into wedges, and arrange on a plate.  Mix the dressing and drizzle over the peppers.

Preparation with goat cheese:

Grill the peppers until the skins are charred, as seen below.  Peel the skins mostly off the peppers (you can scrape the skins with a butter knife), cut the peppers into wedges, and arrange on either a veggie basket for grilling, or a broiler-safe serving plate if you want to finish them in the oven.  Mix the dressing and drizzle over the peppers, then sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top.  Return the salad to either the grill (as shown below) or an oven; grill or broil until the goat cheese is turning golden.


Peppers, fresh off the grill


Heaven on the grill- Peppers with dressing, topped with goat cheese

Notes:

  • If you prepare the goat cheese version of the salad in a grilling basket like I did, be prepared to serve it straight from the grilling basket.  This works great for outdoor eating.
  • As you can see, I did not use the ratio of peppers specified in the recipe- use whatever kinds of peppers you like, but this amount of dressing works well for about six peppers.