Tag Archives: chickpeas

Produce on the Edge

You know that random produce that you find in the drawer that needs to be used right now before it goes bad? We worked with that this week, and also came up with a new taco filling.

tempeh burrito

I had a four-day weekend the past week due to a day off to prepare food for my niece’s birthday party on Friday, and Martin Luther King Day on Monday. I finally got around to making some tempeh taco filling. I’ve been meaning to try this for a while. I didn’t really follow a recipe. I simmered the tempeh loaf in a shallow pan for about 20 minutes, cooled it a bit, then broke it up with a fork. In the same pan while it was cooling, I sauteed some onions, and added Penzeys Arizona Dreaming seasoning (one of my favorite spice blends ever), smoked paprika, salt, and some vegetable broth. I think it could have used some tomato paste, but I didn’t have any on hand. I tried to approximate the proportions of water and seasonings that one would get using a dry packet of taco seasoning.

Our tacos had lettuce, onions, salsa, and cilantro.

tofu scramble

Lance requested scrambled tofu for breakfast, with mushrooms. I was using the last of the mushroom blend that I chopped and cooked up before the mushrooms went past their prime. I like this technique for vegetables that are about to go bad. I can always cook them up and freeze them to add to soup later, or to blend into something like a sauce or even a smoothie. I’m getting better at not wasting produce. We also added spinach and mini sweet peppers to the scramble. It seemed like the right thing to do.

golden beet and pomegranate salad

This salad is made with some lovely Blue Moon Farms golden beets, apples, dinosaur kale, romaine lettuce, chickpeas, and pomegranate seeds. I’m a fan of fruits and vegetables in a salad, and chickpeas go with everything. It’s not pictured, but I topped this with a simple honey dijon dressing (dijon mustard, agave syrup, a bit of onion powder, and black pepper.)

chickpea salad and starfruit

The leftover chickpeas were made into chickpea salad, in which I used the remainder of the green onions before they went bad. (See the theme here?) I was going for a chicken salad-like version this time with fresh celery, onions, and some Penzeys BBQ 3000 seasoning. We picked up a few new spices over the holidays and are trying some of the blends.

This is the first time I’ve actually enjoyed star fruit. I bought it as a garnish for a fruit salad, but it’s tasty when it’s properly ripened. Here we had it with sliced kiwis and a banana that needed to be eaten that day.

On Sunday, Lance was our special guest on Food for Thought Radio, with Vegan Linda and myself. (A 7-year-old on live radio… what could possibly go wrong?) He did a good job talking about things he likes to eat, and packing lunches for school. For some reason known only in the mind of a 7-year-old boy, he also dreamed up a race in which the participants run 100 miles and drink beer. (I know a few people who would actually attempt something like that.)

Lance on Food For Thought

Lance on Food For Thought Radio

 

 

Smoky Mexican Chickpeas and Cranberry Chimichurri Grilled Tofu

smoky mexican chickpeas and cranberry chimichurri tofu

Vegan MoFo 2011 - Vegan Month of FoodSometimes I’m in the mood for channa masala, but I’m out of canned (and fresh) plain tomatoes. So I grab whatever tomatoes I have – in this case, Muir Glen Organic Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Adobo flavor. They said “NEW” on the label, yet were on clearance at the grocery store. Go figure, but I stocked up. I’m glad I did, because I think they have been discontinued. Boo! If you can’t find them, you could probably use their regular fire-roasted tomatoes, and add two or three tablespoons of adobo sauce.

For the tofu marinade, I had some cilantro and jalapeños that needed to be used. The immersion blender was already out from blending the tomatoes (nobody around here likes tomato chunks except me). So I decided to throw some fresh cranberries in the blending cup with the cilantro and jalapeño and make a tart and spicy chimichurri sauce to marinate the tofu. I left the seeds and ribs in the jalapeño, and the resulting sauce was quite spicy. You can de-seed your pepper if you want less heat.

I love how this marinade worked. Some parts of the tofu immediately took on a pink color from the cranberries, and other parts were dyed green with cilantro. Pretty tofu!

 

Smoky Mexican Chickpeas

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp cumin
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 14.5 oz cans Muir Glen Organic Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Adobo flavor
1 15 oz can chickpeas, or your own fresh-cooked chickpeas
1 cup water
salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:
In a heavy pan, heat olive oil and saute onions until translucent. Add oregano, cumin, and garlic. Saute until fragrant.

Add paprika, tomatoes, chickpeas, and water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or longer, until chickpeas are tender. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve over hot basmati rice.

 

cranberry chimichurri tofu

Cranberry Chimichurri Grilled Tofu

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
1 pound extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced into squares or triangles
3/4 cup cilantro, leaves and stems, packed tightly
1/2 jalapeño pepper, chopped (de-seeded if you want it less spicy)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except tofu in a blender, food processor, or cup for an immersion blender. Blend thoroughly until smooth.

Pour sauce over tofu and marinate for at least a half hour.

Grill tofu on a oiled indoor grill or outdoor grill until browned on each side.

 

Random Eating: Aug. 28 – Sep. 3

seitan fajitas

Seitan Fajitas: Simple Seitan from Veganomicon (similar recipe on Post Punk Kitchen), sauteed with taco seasonings (chili powder, paprika, cumin, onion, garlic), water, and vinegar. I was going for a chorizo-type flavor. It was very tasty, but I’m not sure about the texture of simmered seitan. I like it more chewy, like what you get from the Julie Hasson steaming method.

peaches and greens smoothie

It was still hot this week (it’s September already!) so I had a few smoothies. This is a Peaches and Greens Smoothie: coconut milk, agave nectar, kale, frozen bananas, frozen peaches.

ukranian borscht and waldorf salad

Lunch at work: red peppers and basic homemade hummus, grapes, waldorf salad (granny smith apples, black raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, low-fat Vegenaise), with Ukranian Borscht from Common Ground Co-Op.

portabella steak dinner

Portabella steak dinner: steak sauce-marinated mushrooms, yellow basmati rice, sauteed zucchini.

zaatar

This week I finally tried Za’atar. I am SO addicted! I’ve seen this many times at World Harvest foods, always sold in what seemed like very large bags, and wondered… who would need that much of a spice? Now I know.

Za’atar is a mixture of thyme, oregano, sumac, sesame seeds, salt, and other spices that you can mix with olive oil and use as a spread, dip, or condiment. I like it mixed with olive oil on bread. I sprinkled it on some spring mix salad. It’s also good with hummus.  I should make some chapatis for dipping.

channa masala with zaatar

Here is more za’atar, with basmati rice and channa masala.

mobile crockpot unit

Despite the 90 degree heat this week, I made a big hot crock pot of vegan chili to share with colleagues. Everyone liked it. I’ve made chili twice in the last two weeks, and I’m a little tired of it, so I think I’ll freeze the leftovers for later.

Indian Lentils + Coconut Makhani Sauce – Failed Ravioli = Soup

makhani lentil soup

There’s a best practice in debugging computer programs that recommends changing only one variable at a time in order to isolate the problem. I’ve also found this to be true when trying new ingredients, techniques, and combinations in cooking: try only one new thing at a time!

Failure to follow this rule resulted in some really bad ravioli last weekend. My vision was to combine Indian flavors in an Italian preparation: Indian-spiced lentils and carrots, stuffed into a chickpea flour ravioli, topped with a creamy makhani sauce made with coconut milk.

I’ve never made fresh pasta, or worked with chickpea flour. The result? Gummy, chewy, too-thick pasta with an odd, beany flavor. Not good.

At least the other components of the dish worked well on their own. These Indian-spiced French green lentils were simple to make and worked well as a side dish later in the week. The Coconut Makhani Sauce tasted like a warmly-spiced, slightly creamy tomato soup. They worked well together, too!

French lentilsLentils are fantastic. These are French green lentils, prior to cooking.

I’m offering the lentils and sauce as separate recipes. If you have other uses for one of the recipes, please share them!

Indian Spiced French Lentils

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/4 cup french lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
1 medium white onion, diced
1 large carrot, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 black cardamom pods

Instructions:
In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and cardamom pods and sauté until tender. Add lentils and broth, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Do not overcook lentils, or they will become mushy. Cooking time will depend on the age of your lentils. Older lentils are generally more dry and may take longer to cook, or require a bit more water.

Serve with rice, or add to Coconut Makhani Sauce to create a soup.

Coconut Makhani Sauce

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Earth Balance, melted
1/4 cup ginger, finely minced
6-7 garlic cloves, pressed
2 black cardamom pods
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp celery seed, crushed
5  cups tomato sauce
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Salt to taste
1 14 oz can coconut milk

Instructions:
Heat Earth Balance in a saucepan. Add cinnamon, cardamom pods, and mustard seed.

Once the seeds start to sizzle, add ginger, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Cook until small bubbles form on surface of the mixture.

Add tomato paste or tomato puree, cinnamon powder and celery seed.

Simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes, until reduced by about one third.

Just before serving, whisk in coconut milk and simmer for about 5 minutes.

A Salad Tip

I like to bring big salads to work for lunch. When I ride my bike to work, I can’t always fit everything into a trunk bag. With a lunch, clothes, wallet, keys, and extra shoes, space is a priority. When I don’t have room for a separate salad dressing container, here’s what I do.

kale salad

1. Grab a good-sized salad container.

2. Pour in a serving of your favorite dressing. I used a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

3. Top the dressing with chopped vegetables or other salad ingredients. I used chopped crimini mushrooms, roasted chickpeas, and imitation bacon bits. Chopped raw asparagus would have made this combination even better.

4. Add chopped kale, enough to cover the dressing. You can stir it up a little to get some dressing on the kale, or carry it with you as you ride your bike to work – this will mix it up a bit! The idea is to wilt the kale a bit and marinate the vegetables.

5. Top with the more delicate salad greens of your choice. I used spinach, but any type of lettuce will work. It sits above the dressing, and should remain unwilted and crisp until lunchtime.

Chickpea Salad Wrap with Hot Cherry Peppers

chickpea salad wrap, arugula salad with grapes and sesame

Chickpeas are my Swiss Army Legume.

Steep them in spiced tomato sauce for channa masala. Mash them up with Vegenaise and whatever you fancy for a Chickpea Salad sandwich or wrap. Roast them for a crispy snack. Bake them into burgers. Grind them smooth to make hummus. (I made a wonderfully spicy southwestern-style hummus last week that I’ll post very soon. It disappeared before I could take a pic.)

I could go on, but… Chickpea Salad. This is a new family favorite. My son asked for this wrap in his lunch today, with the hot cherry peppers and everything. He’s six, and he has always liked spicy foods.

I don’t follow a recipe for this salad, but I’ll try to give some general guidelines. The result is something like tuna salad. I love to serve it with hot cherry peppers because it reminds me of the Jimmy John’s Totally Tuna sandwiches I used to order, “with pep”. It disappears instantly.

Today’s lunch: Chickpea Salad Wrap with Hot Cherry Peppers, and Arugula and Grape Salad with sesame seeds and sweet onion dressing.

Chickpea Salad

Ingredients:

  • One 32-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
  • 4 tbsp Vegenaise
  • 4-5 slices white onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • a few twists of black pepper

Directions:

Coarsely mash chickpeas in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Serve on bread, in a wrap with baby arugula and hot cherry peppers (as shown above), or on crackers.

Edit: Makes about 5 large-sized wraps with Mission Spinach Herb tortillas.

Crock Pot Channa Masala

PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart begins tomorrow. I’m going to give it a try. I don’t feel like I’m “giving up” all the things I can’t have (or more accurately, that I choose not to have). I see it as an opportunity – for better health, to reduce my footprint on the world, and to discover new tastes. Many of the dishes I already love are vegan. Like this one, a family-favorite Indian dish. It’s easy to prepare in a slow cooker, and the chickpeas turn out perfectly.

If your slow cooker has a removable stoneware crock like mine does, you can even assemble it the night before and store the crock in the fridge, then pull it out in the morning and plug it in. Dinner will be waiting for you, and your house will smell amazing.

Crock Pot Channa Masala

1 29 oz (large) can chickpeas, undrained
1 28 oz (large) can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 black cardamom pods
2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
2 tbsp garam masala
few dashes cayenne (or more to taste)

Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on low for 8 hours, with the lid off for the last hour so it can thicken. Serve with hot cooked basmati rice or naan, and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.