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Tag Archive: vegetarian

Falafel (gluten-free + vegan)

February 1, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Happy February, everyone! We’ve survived the first month of 2015…only eleven more to go before the year I graduate, the year I become an adult, the year where the rest of my life begins arrives.

That’s a while away, though. I’m still getting used to writing the number fifteen so frequently on my papers for school, and I still have so many recipes I want to try and share with all of you, too!

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These falafel–or Middle Eastern crispy chickpea balls–are a dinner staple in my house. I get bored making the same thing over and over again, so for something to be a staple, it must be particularly special. And while it may look plain and simple, this dish is really anything but.

What I love falafel is that they can be made using very little kitchen equipment, require only about ten minutes of hands-on time, and usually yield a ton of leftovers, which are great for lunch and making people jealous. (Though I have brought in falafel for my friends and teachers, too, because I am just oozing with coolness. 😉 ) The combination of flavors and textures is wonderful, and everything on the plate is bursting with nutrition, from the protein in the chickpeas to the healthy fats in the sesame seeds to the vitamins in all of the fresh vegetables.

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Usually, falafel are deep-fried and served in pita bread. Sure, you can opt to do one or both of these routes, but I prefer my falafel baked and served over a bed of veggies for a lighter meal and less mess.

Don’t worry, though. I promise all of the crunch is preserved in the oven! Just follow my advice and you will wind up with a deliciously crispy final meal.

Most bean burgers or fritters call for cooked beans; falafel, however, use dried beans that have been soaked. So, for your first step, make sure you soak your chickpeas in a water bath overnight and up to 24 hours to soften them up.

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The next day, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and invite all of your remaining ingredients–including herbs, spices, onions, and garlic–to the party in the food processor and blend everybody up to get well-incorporated.

Then form into balls and place on a prepared baking sheet…

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…and off to the oven they go! (It’s about to get hot in here.)

After thirty five minutes of baking, let the falafel cool for a few minutes before serving with carrots, lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, and a tasty tahini sauce. It’s as easy as that! (I promise.)

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Falafel

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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What is one healthy dinner staple in your house? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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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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Spelt + Oat Pancakes (vegan + whole-grain)

January 13, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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For some reason, whenever I am feeling nervous or awkward, I start saying the word “cake” over and over again. I don’t know why, I just do. But when I say “cake,” I think I’m actually referring to pancakes most of the time, not the tower of usually-vanilla sponginess you eat on your birthday.

And these pancakes…oh man, these are bae. (Sorry, Natalie.)

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I’ve found that in the world, there are two types of people: people who like fat, fluffy pancakes, and people that like thinner, softer pancakes. My mom prefers hers in the first camp, so when I was younger, she’d always make these giant pancakes the size of my head that I’d slather with Nutella if I got a chance.

But at some point when I was seven or eight, I went to the dark side and began to ask my dad to make the sweet, delicate little pancakes found in the Joy of Cooking cookbook. Perhaps I liked them so much because I’d douse them in a ton of sugar…or maybe it was all of the butter…

I thought my allegiances in pancake-land had been cemented in the second grade…but apparently, I was wrong, because when I made these one day in November, I fed head-over-heels in love with doughy, pillowy pancakes all over again.

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Up until recently, all of my recipes on the blog have been gluten-free. While I think eating gluten-free can be wise (simply because it can mean you’re eating less refined foods and more whole grains and legumes, fruits, and vegetables), I am not completely against eating gluten, provided you don’t have an allergy or intolerance (which most people don’t).

Personally, I love spelt. It’s an ancient grain that’s been cultivated for 9,000 years, and it has both a slightly-nutty flavor and a much lower gluten content than the hard red and white  winter wheat used to make most conventional flours. When paired with oat flour for a little bit of sweetness, these pancakes make a chewy, flavorful delight, especially when smothered with peanut butter and bananas. 😀

These pancakes are also SUPER easy to make–so easy, in fact, that I often have time to whip up a batch before I head off to school in the morning. It’s pretty simple: just mix the dry ingredients in one bowl…

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…mix the wet ingredients in another bowl…

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…pour the wet ingredients into the dry, then mix to combine…

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…let rest for a bit, then PANCAKEIFY!!! (That’s a word, duh.)

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Adapted from this recipe!

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Spelt + Oat Pancakes

Ingredients

Prep Time 30 min
Cooking Time 10 min
Total Time 40 min
Yield 14-16 gigantic pancakes

2 1/4 cups of whole grain spelt flour

2 1/4 cups of oat flour

2 tablespoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/4 cup of flaxseed meal

3 1/2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or water)

1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Directions

In a large bowl, sift together the spelt flour, oat flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk together, then stir in the flaxseed meal.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla almond milk (or water), applesauce or mashed banana, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula to combine. (Be careful not to over-mix!)

Cover the batter with a kitchen cloth and let rest for 15-20 minutes. This will help the gluten develop and form lovely fluffy pancakes.

Meanwhile, heat up a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 approximately 1/4 cup scoops of batter into the pan and let cook until bubbles form on the top, about 3-4 minutes.

Carefully flip, then let continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve warm with more maple syrup, fresh fruit, or your favorite nut butter. (Peanut butter + cocoa powder + bananas + cacao nibs = heavenly!!!) These will keep for up to a week in an airtight container; simply microwave for 30 seconds and toast for a few minutes to reheat.


Bonus–the dry ingredients are easy to mix together before time, so when you get a chance, mix them up and pour into an airtight container or jar. Then, when you want a tasty breakfast, just add the wet ingredients and VOILÀ!

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How do you prefer your pancakes? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Spelt + Oat Pancakes

January 13, 2015 Print this page

For some reason, whenever I am feeling nervous or awkward, I start saying the word “cake” over and over again. I don’t know why, I just do. But when I say “cake,” I think I’m actually referring to pancakes most of the time, not the tower of usually-vanilla sponginess you eat on your birthday.

And these pancakes…oh man, these are bae. (Sorry, Natalie.)

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 30 min
Cooking Time 10 min
Total Time 40 min
Yield 14-16 gigantic pancakes

2 1/4 cups of whole grain spelt flour

2 1/4 cups of oat flour

2 tablespoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/4 cup of flaxseed meal

3 1/2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or water)

1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Directions

In a large bowl, sift together the spelt flour, oat flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk together, then stir in the flaxseed meal.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla almond milk (or water), applesauce or mashed banana, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula to combine. (Be careful not to over-mix!)

Cover the batter with a kitchen cloth and let rest for 15-20 minutes. This will help the gluten develop and form lovely fluffy pancakes.

Meanwhile, heat up a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 approximately 1/4 cup scoops of batter into the pan and let cook until bubbles form on the top, about 3-4 minutes.

Carefully flip, then let continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve warm with more maple syrup, fresh fruit, or your favorite nut butter. (Peanut butter + cocoa powder + bananas + cacao nibs = heavenly!!!) These will keep for up to a week in an airtight container; simply microwave for 30 seconds and toast for a few minutes to reheat.


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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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