Conclusion first: the original experiment failed after only a few hours. I am not a vegan and will probably never succeed in becoming one (especially not in France where I am surrounded by such good yogurt and cheese).
When my sister told me she was going vegan for a month, it reminded me of the first time I tried. One day in 2003, I made it until mid-morning. Seven years later, I thought I had a stronger will and, since I wanted to be a good big sister and support her endeavor, I decided to go dairy-free for one week. (The whole month was out of the question). As I mentioned: big failure. I was only able to resist the strawberry yogurt nestled in the fridge until noon.
Thus, the original experiment has been redesigned: as a creative challenge, I’ll prepare one vegan meal per day until the end of the week.
Despite the fact that I have not yet met a vegan in France (nor a vegetarian for that matter), they do exist and the French language (despite popular belief) does have a word for them. Vegetarian translates to végétarien (no meat or fish) and vegan to végétalien (no meat, fish, dairy, eggs…not even honey). As I’ve mentioned in the past, I grew up vegetarian, and am now pescetarian.
Breakfast was one of the reasons going vegan sounded so scary to me. Milk, yogurt, butter: breakfast necessities. Without milk in my cereal, butter on my toast, milk in my tea, yogurt with my fruit…breakfast would cease to exist – as would any motivation to get up!
Yesterday morning, ready to tackle the first challenge, I headed into the kitchen. This was a completely un-prepared adventure and I had to make do with whatever was in the cupboard. Just leaving out the dairy would be too simple. First point: dry cereal was out of the question. Second point: my breakfast had to make sense and include protein, iron, calcium… all the important nutrients. A mix between muesli and tabouli ended up being my inspiration for this “Vegan Breakfast Salad.”
First, some nutritional info:
Bulgur is a whole grain, widely used in Middle Eastern cooking and rich in fiber.
Flax seeds have many benefits, but I added them for their Omega-3 fatty acids (similar to salmon).
Raisins contain antioxidants, iron and Boron (a mineral that helps absorb calcium and, thus, develop strong bones).
Nuts are a great source of protein. Walnuts are pretty much a miracle food if you ask me (they contain fiber, vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, B vitamins…). Almonds are a source of calcium (didn’t know that till yesterday), as well as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, B vitamins…
A juicy orange and lemon
1. Cook the bulgur in boiling water for about ten minutes. Add the dried fruits just before draining so they will just slightly cook. Drain well.
2. Mix in seeds and nuts.
3. Squeeze in some orange juice (until the bulgur takes the flavor) and some lemon juice (just a bit). Mix well.
I thought the fruit sweetened the salad enough, but add some agave syrup or cinnamon to taste if you like.
This salad is also great served cold and will give you a boost of energy to start your day.