Chickpea Fries

While I’ve started incorporating some animal products back into my diet, I still try to eat vegan most days. Vegan appetizer recipes are hard enough to find, but add in other dietary restrictions (nightshades, etc) and it’s even tougher. While they don’t taste like traditional potato french fries, these fries are pretty tasty; you can add additional flavor with seasonings and/or dipping sauces of your choice.

Chickpea Fries

Chickpea fries

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chickpea flour (learn how to make your own here)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F and line a sheet pan (or two) with aluminum foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large pot combine the water, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then slowly add the chickpea flour, whisking as you go. Be careful not to let it boil or you’ll have hot batter flying at you (I’m speaking from experience, here).
  3. When the batter is a little thicker than pancake batter remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool a bit.
  4. Pour the batter onto a greased sheet pan and spread with a spatula until you’ve filled about half the pan.
  5. Chill the batter for at least an hour. When the batter has firmed up, cut into desired size and shape.
  6. Place the fries on the lined sheet pan(s) and sprinkle some seasoning on top (garlic powder is a tasty option).
  7. The baking time depends on the size of your fries and how crispy you want them, so keep that in mind as you go. I baked my fries for about 30 minutes, flipped ’em, sprayed them with more cooking spray, and baked them for an additional 25-30 minutes.
  8. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or enjoy them just as they are.

My fries turned out to be a bit on the dry side (though crispy), so I’ll probably cut back on the cooking time in the future.

You can certainly pan or deep fry these if you want, but I prefer baking them because it’s a bit healthier and a little less mess to clean up.

Source: Adapted from The Brazen Kitchen

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Acorn Squash and Pecan Soup

I’ve mentioned my love of squash before, so it’s no surprise that I always seem to have one sitting around waiting to be used in some recipe or another. This time it was an acorn squash, and I wanted to use it to make something fit for a Minnesota winter (usually pretty cold this time of year, but we’ve been experiencing  a warm streak), something warm and comforting, AKA soup.

 Acorn Squash and Pecan Soup

Acorn Squash and Pecan Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin, divided
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup cannellini beans, drained and puréed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Mix the olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp chili powder, and 1/4 tsp cumin together in a small bowl. Brush the squash halves with the mixture and set cut side up on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool. Meanwhile, place the pecans on a baking sheet and roast for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Once the squash has cooled scoop it out into a blender or food processor. Add the pecans, vegetable broth, agave nectar, and remaining spices. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and stir in the puréed cannellini beans. Cook over medium heat until heated through.

Source: Adapted from Food 52

Vegan Baked Beans

Baked beans are not the healthiest thing ever, but they are delicious. Most canned baked beans have meat or meat products in them, and even the vegetarian variety are loaded with sodium. I wanted to make a vegan variety and found this relatively simple crockpot recipe. You can further reduce the sodium content by using reduced sodium broth in this recipe.

Vegan Baked Beans

Baked Beans 1

Ingredients

  • 1 pound small white beans (I used Great Northern beans)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Soak the beans for a minimum of eight hours or overnight, according to package directions. When they’re done soaking, rinse and drain the beans and set them aside.
  2. Add all of the ingredients except the beans and bay leaf to your crockpot. Mix together. Add the beans and bay leaf and stir.
  3. Cook for 8-10 hours on high or 12-14 hours on low, checking to make sure there’s enough liquid in the crockpot after a few hours. Once everything has come together and beans are as tender as you’d like, remove the bay leaf and serve.

These finished cooking fairly late at night so I didn’t get the chance to try more than just a bite or two until today. They’ve got a bit of a kick to them (though I’m kind of spicy-averse these days, so take that how you will) but they’re really good. You could add a touch of maple syrup to them if you’d like, to add some sweetness and/or combat the spiciness.

Source: Adapted from Kitchen Treaty

Rice, Lentils, and Greens – Oh My!

Going on week three of the job hunt, and trying to do more cooking, even if it’s just throwing some stuff together for a quick dinner. That’s pretty much what I did last night, using some basic pantry staples and a few other ingredients to whip up a quick and delicious meal. You can sub other grains, protein, and/or greens in this recipe, adjusting cooking times as needed.

Quick Meal: Rice, Lentils, and Greens

Rice, Lentils, Greens

Yield: Approximately two servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice (I used the instant kind)
  • 1/2 cup pink lentils
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth, divided use
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp garlic scapes, minced
  • one large handful of baby spinach ( or other leafy greens)

Instructions

  1. Prepare rice as directed on box/bag, using vegetable broth in place of water. Set aside.
  2. Rinse and sort lentils, removing any rocks or debris. Pour lentils into a medium saucepan and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth. Simmer for 15-20 minutes,or until lentils have reached desired consistency.
  3. When lentils have about 5 minutes of cook time left, pour olive oil into small skillet. Add garlic scapes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
  4. Combine rice, lentils, and spinach, and enjoy.

Source: My own culinary genius ; )

White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip

I went to the local farmer’s market yesterday before heading to the Minnesota Twins game with a friend from college. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, but found some great-looking kale and garlic scapes (the green part attached to the top of the bulbs). I’ve never used garlic scapes before, but I’ve heard a lot about them and was curious to find out how I might use them in recipes. They smell pretty garlic-y, as the dog waiting at the crosswalk near the market surely noticed as it sniffed my bag.

This recipe is pretty simple, though it took me a bit of time to make because I cooked my beans from dry. I had to play around with the ingredients to get the taste just right, but it turned out pretty good.

White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip

Dip 1

Ingredients

  • 2 cups navy beans, canned and drained OR cooked from dry
  • 1/3 cup garlic scapes
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend together until smooth. Adjust ingredients as desired.

Source: Adapted from Mountain Momma Cooks

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

As a child I wasn’t a very adventurous eater, partially due to the fact that we had picky eaters in the family. I remember thinking,  at some point (middle school?), that hummus looked and smelled weird, and that it wasn’t something I was going to be eating. I’m not sure when that changed, but I’m glad it did.

These days, I love hummus – on sandwiches, in wraps, or as a dip for veggies or chips. It’s a tasty, healthy alternative to the more traditional condiments and dips, and it just so happens that it’s incredibly easy to make, too. It’s a little tough finding tahini (sesame paste), but it’s well worth the effort to be able to make homemade hummus.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas (or you can use dried chickpeas – find conversions here)
  • 4 oz roasted red peppers
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Toss everything into a blender or food processor. Blend until it’s as smooth as you like, scraping the sides and adding liquid (the liquid from the roasted red peppers works well) as needed.

This does have a bit of a kick to it, so modify the spices to suit your taste.

Source: AllRecipes

Indian Spiced Lentil Sandwich Spread

This weekend was quite a busy one… Friday night was my mom’s retirement party and a friend’s 30th birthday party. I had a meeting Saturday morning and then spent a good chunk of the day hanging out with a college friend in Red Wing before heading over to another friend’s house for movie night. Today I had a four hour long feminist activist meeting. It’s been an enjoyable and productive weekend, but I didn’t have a ton of time to cook, so I was glad to have bookmarked this lentil spread some time  ago – it’s perfect for busy days/weekends because it takes very little time to prepare.

Indian Spiced Lentil Sandwich Spread

Inidian Spiced Lentil Sandwich Spread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked lentils, mashed (pink lentils cook very quickly; brown and green take a bit longer)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock or broth
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small pan and cook for 5 minutes.

Add as much vegetable stock/broth as you need to get it all to stick together so you can use it on a sandwich. You can eat this warm or chill it. This was delicious with a bit of spicy mustard and spinach on top, but feel free to use whatever suits your fancy.

Source: Adapted from Food.com