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Falafel

January 30, 2015 Print this page

These are a go-to dinner in my house. Simple, delicious, and filled with protein, these are absolutely delicious over a bed of fresh vegetables any time of day (or year!). Best of all, they’re baked, so you can spare yourself the mess of frying and still have a crispy final result. Adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe. (Mark Bittman = bae)

Ingredients

Prep Time 10 min (plus soaking overnight)
Cooking Time 35 min
Total Time 45 min
Yield 25-30 falafel (about 6-8 servings)

FOR THE FALAFEL:

2 cups of dried chickpeas, soaked in water for 24 hours

2 large handfuls (about 2 cups) of parsley, mint, basil, or spinach

1 small onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

The juice of 1 small lemon (about 1-2 tbsp)

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

A pinch of cayenne (optional)

6 tablespoons of olive oil

Romaine lettuce, carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, and other raw vegetables, to serve

FOR THE SIMPLE TAHINI SAUCE:

1/2 cup of tahini (roasted sesame paste)

The juice of 1 lemon (about 2-3 tablespoons)

A generous pinch of salt

Water

Directions

FOR THE FALAFEL:

Before you do anything, make sure you soak the chickpeas in water overnight. This helps get the beans soft enough to go in the food processor and get mostly broken up, which is what you want. DO NOT use cooked beans–that will make your final falafel too mushy.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a large rimmed baking sheet with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. This provides a nice base so the bottoms of the falafel will get super crispy.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the remaining ingredients for the falafel with the exception of the remaining olive oil. I have a strong machine, so I don’t need to do much in the way of chopping/pushing the ingredients around. If you have a smaller/weaker device, make sure you chop everything up a little bit before adding it. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two of water to help get things moving. Try not to do this, though, because you want the falafel DRY so it’ll reach maximum crispiness in the oven.

Once everything is a uniform texture, get out a large ice cream scoop and form the falafel into balls. Use your hands to make them spherical, and place them on the prepared baking sheet. You should wind up with 25-30 falafel.

Pour the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a small dish and, using a brush, gently top each ball with a coating of oil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes (or until golden-brown on the bottom), then flip over and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before eating. Serve with a variety of yummy veggies and tahini sauce (instructions below).

FOR THE TAHINI SAUCE:

To make the tahini sauce, simply combine the tahini with the lemon juice and salt, and slowly add water until a smooth, slightly-runny texture is achieved. Tahini is just weird, so be patient and keep stirring.


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Chickpeas and Dumplings

September 2, 2014 Print this page

The idea for this soup was born when I wanted to make my chicken soup but had just eaten chicken for dinner the night before. What was a girl to do? Well, make it without meat, that is…and throw in some chewy, doughy dumplings! Voila–chickpeas and dumplings. 

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 6 servings

FOR THE CHICKPEAS:

2 cups of dried chickpeas

2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (one with active enzymes, like Bragg’s)

1 strip of kombu (found in the Asian section at grocery stores)

OR 1 15-ounce can of pre-cooked chickpeas

FOR THE SOUP:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder

1 large onion, chopped finely

4 large carrots, chopped finely

2 stalks of celery, chopped finely

1 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

6 cups of vegetable stock (preferably homemade or low sodium)

1 cup of apple cider

FOR THE DUMPLINGS:

1 1/2 cups of almond flour

1/2 cup of tapioca powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of vegetable broth

Directions

First, cook your chickpeas. I always make my beans from scratch–canned beans always give me indigestion, and personally, I find home-cooked beans to have much more flavor. 

Soak the chickpeas in a bowl of warm water and the apple cider vinegar overnight. This will help lower the level of anti-nutrients (like phyates and lectins) and break down the long-chain carbohydrates that are difficult for your body to digest.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and rinse them well with fresh water. Place them in a medium saucepan, cover with fresh water (enough to cover the beans by at least 2 inches), and bring it to a boil. Once bubbling, add in the strip of kombu (a kind of seaweed that also has enzymes to help break the beans down), and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the beans are soft and tender, about 2 to 3 hours.

Now that your chickpeas are ready, get started on the soup base.

In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until beginning to sizzle. Add the arrowroot powder and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to help brown it a bit.

Next, add in the onion. Let it saute for five minutes, then add carrots and celery.

Let all of the veggies saute together for another 5 minutes, then pour in the salt, poultry seasoning, and turmeric. Stir to cover the vegetables with the spices and let saute for another 2 minutes.

To the vegetables, add the cooked chickpeas, vegetable stock, and apple cider (the SECRET ingredient!). I made my own vegetable stock, but if you use store-bought, please purchase the low-sodium variety! Increase the heat to high and bring everything to a boil, then turn it down to low and cook for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings, adapted from this recipe.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the almond flour with the tapioca powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/3 cup of vegetable broth. Pulse for about 30 seconds until a soft dough is formed, then simply roll into balls and drop into the soup for 25 minutes.

Serve hot and eat with a big old spoon. Enjoy!


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Vegan Spinach Cannelloni

July 7, 2014 Print this page

Do you see all of that cheese in there, from the ricotta inside to the mozzarella on top?! There is no way this thing is vegan. But it is. And you don’t miss the dairy or regular pasta at all in this cannelloni: it’s just as cheesy, indulgent, and flavorful as its heavy Italian counterpart.

Ingredients

Prep Time 1 hr
Cooking Time 30 min
Total Time 1 hr 30 min
Yield 6 servings

1 recipe of Basic Tomato Sauce, or 2 1/2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce

1 recipe of Vegan Ricotta Cheese

2 cups of spinach, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon of olive oil

12 gluten-free lasagna noodles or pieces of thinly-sliced zucchini

1 recipe of Vegan Mozzarella Cheese

Directions

Prepare the tomato sauce and set aside to cool slightly.

Prepare the ricotta cheese.

Rinse and dry off the spinach. If you got big leaves, chop it up a bit–if you got baby spinach, don’t bother.

Heat up the olive oil in a small saucepan, and when hot, add the spinach. Saute just to slightly wilt, only a minute or so, then immediately remove from the heat. Transfer to a bowl or plate and let cool to room temperature–you can speed up the process by putting it in the fridge.

Once your spinach is cool, place it over a fine mesh strainer in the sink and squeeze out as much water as you possibly can. Then, transfer it to a cutting board and chop into smaller pieces. Stir the spinach into the ricotta “cheese” and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once bubbling, add in the lasagna noodles–I used brown rice because I tolerate it well and there are just three ingredients (rice, rice bran, and water). Use whatever noodles float your boat–or substitute thinly sliced zucchini, if you’d like. 

Here’s the trick: cook your pasta for ONLY five minutes. This ensures that it’s pliable but still not cooked on the inside. Your cannelloni will be spending 30 minutes in a hot oven, so you want to leave the pasta very al dente to prevent it from becoming a mushy mess later on.

Once the five minutes are up, strain the pasta and rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Prepare the mozzarella cheese.

It’s now time to assemble! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Take out a 9 x 13 dish and pour (approximately) 1 cup of your prepared tomato sauce on the bottom. Use a spatula to spread it out.

To roll the cannelloni, take one lasagna noodle and lie it flat on a clean surface. Add a large scoop (about 2-3 tablespoons) of the prepared vegan ricotta “cheese” and use the back of a spoon to spread it out. It should cover 3/4 of the noodle, not the entire thing.

Then, using a good amount of torque, roll up the noodle with the filling inside. Place it seam-side down in the dish with the tomato sauce and repeat with the rest of the lasagna noodles.

The cannelloni should fit snuggly in the dish.  Cover the top with another cup and a half of tomato sauce, then use a small spoon or ice cream scoop to put the vegan mozzarella “cheese” over the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce is bubbling. To get the cheese on top to be golden-brown, brush it with a little olive oil and put it under the broiler for a few minutes.


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Vegan Pesto Pizza

May 14, 2014 Print this page

Oh yes I did. I made completely vegan and gluten-free pizza. And it actually tastes like real pizza. Real cheesy, doughy, crispy pizza that you’d get at a pizza shop. I don’t tell lies, people. This pizza is AMAZING. Probably the best pizza I’ve ever made at home, regardless of gluten and dairy content.  Adapted from Zenbelly!

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr
Cooking Time 10 min
Total Time 2 hr 10 min
Yield 4-6 servings (2 medium pies)

2 tablespoons of yeast

1/2 cup of warm (but not hot) water

2 tablespoons of maple syrup (or your preferred liquid sweetener)

1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon of blanched almond flour

1 1/2 cups of tapioca powder

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

2 tablespoons of olive oil (or melted coconut oil), plus more to finish

3/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

VEGAN MOZZARELLA CHEESE

TRADITIONAL PESTO

Basil and oregano, to garnish

Directions

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast with the warm water and maple syrup. Whisk just to combine, then let everything sit and hang out for 10 minutes. If the yeast doesn’t get all bubbly, toss it out and start over again.

Meanwhile, stir together the blanched almond flour, tapioca powder, and salt, breaking up big clumps of almond flour with your hands.

Pour the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer and also add the olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Mix at low speed for 2 minutes until everything is just combined, scraping the bowl down once halfway through.

Cover with a warm or slightly-damp kitchen towel and let rise for 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and put a pizza stone in there, if you have one.

Doing the best you can, divide the ball of risen dough in the bowl into two pieces. Take one piece and put it on a large sheet of parchment paper. Using damp hands–water will prevent the dough from sticking to you–spread the dough into about a ten inch ball. If a hole appears, use a little water to smush it back together again.

Put the dough circle on the pizza stone WITH the parchment paper and bake until just beginning to turn color, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, take out another piece of parchment paper and shape the second half of dough. When the first crust comes out, put the second one in.

Now, spread half of the pesto on the first crust. Using a small spoon or ice cream scooper, make the “cheese” into balls and drop them all around the pizza to your liking.

Bake at 500 for another two minutes, then take the pizza out of the oven and turn it on broil. Slide the pizza off of the parchment paper and put it on a heavy cookie sheet. (Parchment will burn in the oven, as I learned the hard way.) Brush the top of the slightly-set “cheese” with a little olive oil, and broil until the cheese begins to turn golden brown, about three minutes. (It should bubble, too!) It’s OK if the crust gets a little burnt–it tastes better that way!

Repeat the same with the other crust and remaining pesto and cheese. Sprinkle with fresh basil and oregano before serving.


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Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

April 24, 2014 Print this page

I wanted to have macaroni and cheese, but I wanted it to be filled with healthy, wholesome ingredients and not leave me feeling groggy, icky, or guilty. This was no easy task, but I think I have accomplished it.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 30 min
Yield 4 servings

1 cup of raw cashews, soaked overnight

5 tablespoons of nutritional yeast

1 heaping tablespoon of arrowroot powder

1 tablespoon of red palm oil (or 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric + 1 tablespoon of coconut oil)

1 cup of vegetable broth (preferably homemade)

1 roasted red pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

The juice of 1/2 of a small lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

The equivalent to 4 servings of gluten-free pasta (I used this one), spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles

Directions

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Don’t look at it much: remember, a watched pot doesn’t boil!

Soak the cashews in a warm water bath overnight, then strain and put in the blender with the nutritional yeast, arrowroot powder, red palm oil, vegetable broth, roasted red pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes, then taste and adjust.

Once the ingredients are all blended up, pour the cashew-cheese-like mixture into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to simmer just to keep warm, and give the sauce a good whisk frequently to prevent it from sticking.

Meanwhile, your water should be boiling. It’s time to add your pasta!

Cook the pasta according to the box’s instructions, then strain in a colander. If you’re using veggies instead, well, let your veggies do their thing.

Toss with the sauce and eat immediately. I’d recommend a side of roasted brussel sprouts or cauliflower.

Oh, one more thing: if you’d like, you can bake your macaroni and cheese, too! Pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for half an hour, and sprinkle the top with some almond flour or ground walnuts for extra crunch.


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