Archive for Chickpeas

Chicken Parm!

One of the many options for the chickpea cutlets...

Just like I had predicted, I found myself making the chickpea cutlets again, and this time making them into a ‘chicken’ parm dish. This was DELICIOUS, and again, really easy to make. I had the chickpeas pre-cooked before work, so when I came home I started making them immediately, which does not take long at all. This time I cooked the chickpeas for a little longer, so they were more soft, and I think it made the consistency of the cutlets even better, and particularly easier to work with, as there was not little pieces of chickpeas that had not become totally soft falling out of the mixture when I was kneading it.

While the patties were cooking on the stove (I pan-fried them again, next time I make them, which I am sure will be soon, I will try to make them in the oven and see if it changes the texture of the cutlet at all), I started boiling water to cook my whole wheat pasta. I understand that there are a ton of carbohydrates in this dish, but that’s alright every once and awhile I think, especially when it tastes this good. When both the pasta and the cutlets were done, I heated up some marinara sauce, poured it over both (I used a generous amount, the pasta and the cutlet seem to suck up the sauce pretty well), and sprinkled some vegan Parmesan cheese over the entire plate. I only wish I had my pot of spices on hand to add on some fresh basil and parsley. It was so good, and the texture of the cutlets turned out great for a second time, really making it a good stand in if you are ever missing chicken parm.

I don’t know if I have made this clear or not, but I really love this recipe from the Veganomicon. It is so easy, and tastes like it should have been a lot more difficult to make. I think this is definitely one of those recipes everyone should try out. It is a dish I would gladly feed to a non-vegetarian to gauge their response, it’s that convincing!

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Apple Cider Tofu with Quinoa salad

Here the power grain quinoa and the ever amazing tofu come together to make a fantastic dinner (or lunch, snack, whatever you prefer). In opening my pantry, seeing a container full of quinoa, and remembering that it has loads and loads of calcium, I knew I had to make it. Other than that, I really wasn’t sure where else I was going to go from there. All I knew is that there were bricks of tofu in the refrigerator, tons of vegetables around from the farm share (need I tell you again how awesome farm shares are!?), and that I wanted to have dinner cooked for the boyfriend after he got home from class and before he had to go to work. I had precious little time to work with, and from it came this meal, which I am actually pretty proud of.

I started by cutting up a little less than quarter of a sweet red onion, and sauted it in a medium sauce pan with a clove of minced garlic. Then, I added some cut up swiss chard and a can of chickpeas. Following this, I added two cups of vegetable broth, and then one cup of rinsed, uncooked quinoa. I also added some salt and pepper, and a touch of hot sauce, since I’ve been putting it on/in everything lately. Once it came to boil, I reduced the heat. threw the lid on and let it simmer.

I then retrieved my pressed block of extra firm tofu, and cut it into eight pieces, width-wise. I began pan-frying them in a tablespoon of olive oil, not sure yet what I would be doing with them. While they were cooking, I was inspired by opening the refrigerator, when a bottle of maple syrup fell off the bottom shelf from the inside of the door. “Ok,” I thought, “I will make maple-glazed tofu.” And then, even better, I saw a quart of apple cider left in there as well, and decided to make maple apple cider glazed tofu. When the tofu was just about done, I added in 1 1/2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, and 1/2 cup of apple cider. I let the tofu simmer in the glaze for a bit, to ensure that it would soak up all of the goodness, and then added cornstarch (you could use this or flour), teaspoon by teaspoon, until the glaze became thicker and throughly coated the tofu.

With the quinoa finished, I served it into a bowl and placed two pieces of tofu on top. I think the tofu really stole the show. Maple syrup and apple cider always go well together, and being slathered all over tofu is no exception. I think next time I would even consider marinating the tofu overnight in it, to give it even more of that great sweet, tart, maple apple flavor.

The quinoa was great as well. Cooking it in the vegetable broth with the onion and garlic really gives it more a flavor, because sometimes, in my opinion at least, quinoa can be a bit bland. The chickpeas and swiss chard went great together, and even without the tofu this would be a wonderful meal or side on its own. The mild taste of the quinoa really let the swiss chard shine, and after not having this leafy green prior to this year, I cannot tell you how much I love it, and what a distinct taste it has. I even added some of the diced stems, because I think they taste great as well, and don’t like wasting any part of the vegetable if I can help it. The quinoa salad really was great and filling, and the best part is that it is very versatile. You can add whatever vegetable or bean you’d like. Everything tasted amazing, was warm, filling, and was done just in time for the boyfriend to get home!

Chickpea cutlets!

Chickpea cutlets - the favorite child of the Veganomicon

Even before making these, I had heard nothing but good things about them. Even the little blurb before them in the cookbook says how they (Isa and Teresa) are super proud of it. They have every reason to be. These are super easy to make (and you can make them fairly quickly too, which is makes them even better), they are extremely versatile, and a fabulous meat substitute. The texture of these is spot on, dense and slightly chewy, for a stand in for something like fake chicken, especially if you were to use seasoned or Panko bread crumbs instead of the plain ones. They smell delicious when cooking (I fried them in a pan, but they can be baked in the oven as well, which perhaps I will try next time), and even have a scary resemblance to their real meat counterparts. I think the best part of them however, is that they are absolutely fantastic whether or not you want them to be a stand-in for meat or not.

I can see these working perfectly in a chicken parm dish, which I can see myself making anytime now, smothered in sauce and vegan Parmesan cheese. This time when I made them, I served them alongside a string bean and potato casserole, and drizzled some left over tahini dressing on top of them (they went very well together!). I love this recipe so much. I like the idea of making my own meat substitutes rather than just buying Boca burgers and letting them do the job. Plus, it is more rewarding making them yourself, even if it does require a little extra time and effort.

Curry and Cajun Fries

When first flipping through Vegan with a Vengeance after it came in the mail, the recipe for Chickpea Spinach Curry really stood out. I love curry (and curry powder, for that matter). There are very few dishes that can pack a powerful punch with spices, fill you up and warm your insides. Plus, look at this dish, it is gorgeous! I also love spinach and chickpeas, so this clearly was a match made in heaven.

More flavorful than you can imagine

Making the curry was fairly simply and quick. The boyfriend and I followed the recipe, except for the fact that we threw in some beets and string beans from our farm share. It turns out that they worked really well with the curry (the beets, however, could have been cooked a little longer before hand so they may have been softer). The best part of cooking this recipe was watching/listening to the mustard seeds pop while in the oil. I never knew they did that – and they smelled similar to popcorn too.

The curry itself was great! Having a tomato base rather than a traditional coconut milk base worked really well and made the curry less dense (and less in fat and calories too, if you worry about such a thing). I actually liked having chunks of tomatoes in my curry, this could be because I really love tomatoes though. It had that distinct curry taste and the chickpeas, spinach and beans were just the right amount of soft and filling. The only negative comment I have about the recipe is that it seemed like there was too much coriander in it. Next time I would put slightly less in as so that it is less over powering.

Leftovers spiced up with some french fries

For dinner the following day I had another bowl of the left over curry (it made a lot!), along with the Cajun baked french fries from Vegan with a Vengeance. They are great! I added a little too much oil by accident (I was surprised at how fast it came out, oops!) but other than that they were fantastic. They seems like a strange combination with the curry, but trust me, it really worked out, particularly given their crunchiness.  I loved the seasoning on them and how they crisped up in the oven – I like my fries well done and crunchy. I don’t understand why anyone would want McDonald’s fried when you could just have these.