Today was all about the cooking. The main thing to keep in mind about this cleanse is that, while it’s not so hard to meet all the restrictions (no gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, nightshades, alcohol, coffee, red meat, or sugar) when you’re by yourself, at home, on your day off, it pretty much restricts you from eating or drinking anything outside of the house…ever.
Which means that during the workweek, you really need to think ahead and have a whole spectrum of food ready-made to bring with you, because the only times when I find this cleanse to be tough is when I find myself at work, on a slow day, feeling snacky. Or having to stay later than I planned, and starving.
So my plan was to take advantage of the fact that I’m starting this cleanse on my “weekend” (Monday/Tuesday) and equip myself for the week.
First off, lentil spread. This serves the purpose of humus in my mind — something to spread on rice cakes for an afternoon snack — proteiny, flavorful, and salty. But since chickpeas are the protagonist in my salad this week, and because I hate cleaning out my blender more than I have to (smoothie onslaught, remember?), I went with red lentils, because they self-puree!
I took my smallest little pot and poured in a cup of red lentils, and about twice as much water, added some salt, and brought it to a boil, then lowered it to a healthy simmer. To this I added a few threads of saffron, some fresh ground cumin, a clove of chopped garlic, and some grated ginger, and let simmer together for about 45 minutes, adding a little more water if too much evaporated.
Once all the lentils had “popped” and it had a smooth consistency, I let it cool to room temperature, added a few squirts of lime juice, and refrigerated.
Meanwhile, I had wrapped up three little beets in tinfoil, and roasted them at 400 degrees for an hour. I opened up this little nest, let the steam escape, and once they had cooled, slid the skin off with my fingers.
I chopped each one in half, sliced them thinly, and marinated them in olive oil and red wine vinegar, in a 3:1 ratio, sprinkling some lavender rosemary sea salt on top to finish them off.
And finally, a hearty salad for the week. Any meal that begins with a cup of soaked-salted-and-cooked chickpeas is already off to a good start.
One of my favorite refreshing summer salads is crunchy cucumber-dill, so this is just a variation on that: I added to the bowl a healthy dose of olive oil and red wine vinegar, more than seems necessary for this amount of beans.
But once you add the rest of the ingredients — chopped carrots, red onion, cucumber wedges, parsley, cracked pepper (totally on the cleanse! Only chiles, cayenne, and paprika are considered nightshades), and fresh dill — it turns out to be the perfect amount, gently coating each piece. This salad is best eaten with a spoon.