I never made a distinctive choice to become a vegetarian. I sort of evolved into a vegetarian. I’ve never really liked meat, and even as a child I gravitated toward chicken or turkey rather than red meat.
Once I was old enough to make the decision for myself, I did so— partly because I preferred to eat that way, and partly because I was simply old enough to assert my independence by making such a “bold” choice. This by no means meant that I ate a healthy vegetarian diet. Like many young vegetarians, (and college students) I ate a lot of cheese, bread, fries, eggs, cereal, and beer. I even occasionally still ate tuna and turkey.
But slowly, as I matured, I began to integrate healthier foods into my diet. I stopped eating turkey all together and shortly after, tuna got the boot too. When I began cooking for living while living in Seattle, my evolution really gained momentum. I learned all about nutrition and balanced meals. My cooking technique improved and I began to see how cooking could be an art form.
These days, I eat well. I’ll admit to still loving cheese, bread, fries, eggs, cereal and beer, but much less frequently. My meals are full of fruits and veggies, grains and beans, nuts and seeds, interesting spices, tofu and tempeh, and flavor, flavor, flavor.
This Grilled Carrot Salad with Crispy Fried Garlic and Goat Cheese marks the latest phase of my ever-advancing evolution into veggie-dom: The reclamation of the grill! It never occurred to me NOT to use a grill as a vegetarian, but until a couple years ago, it never really occurred to me either. As soon as we purchased one along with a vegetarian grill cookbook, the rest was history.
Aside from being able to enjoy the outdoors while cooking, the grill gives a flavor to veggies that can’t be matched by indoor cooking. Carrots cooked on the grill are lovely and slightly smoky with crispy charred grill marks and a sweetness that comes to life over the flames. The bold flavors of the crispy fried garlic chips and goat cheese are a nice contrast to the sweet carrots.
It is a perfect meal for the patio on a warm spring evening. No cereal or beer required.
Recipe is from Epicurious. I cooked my carrots on the grill instead of indoors and simply crumbled goat cheese on the salad.