Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

Easy Vegan Falafel, Soy & Gluten free (easily oil free also!)

April 9, 2014

The other day I was going through what I had in the fridge that needed to be used. I’d made a large pot of garbanzo beans over the weekend and used some for curry and some more for chili, but there were still almost 2 jars left. I thought about freezing them, but I really needed to make something easy to eat for the next couple of days. (Caring for an infant and trying to work part time from home makes it hard to find time to cook for every meal!) I thought about what would be easy to eat, and decided to make falafel.

I checked out a few recipes on line, but most of them used ingredients I didn’t have on hand, started with the dry garbanzos, or used ingredients I’m avoiding. Most of them are also pan fried in oil. I realized that it was really just a matter of mixing cooked garbanzos with spices, a binder, and cooking them. This is what I ended up with, and they came out quite good if I do say so myself. (Hubby agrees!)

Easy Vegan Falafel

Ingredients

  • 3 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed (or about 6 cups of cooked dry garbanzo beans.)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 T tahini
  • 6T ground flax seed
  • 1 7/8 t baking powder (just under 2 t)
  • 3/8 cup dehydrated onion flakes (fresh diced onion would probably work too, but might require a bit more flour later)
  • 3/8 cup dried cilantro (again, if using fresh you might need more flour later.)
  • 3t cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 3t)
  • 3t coriander
  • 3t chili powder
  • 3/4t salt
  • 3t lemon juice
  • 6 drops doTERRA lemon essential oil (or 6T lemon zest, but again…you may need more flour later.)
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix because I had some that I had no plans for, but any type should work.) (You may need slightly more or slightly less depending on the moisture of your ingredients and how humid it is.)
  • Olive oil (for greasing the pan and brushing on top.)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 450*F
  • Place all of the ingredients, except for the flour and oil, into your vitamix with the garbanzos on the bottom. (If you don’t have a vitamix, a food processor or stick blender would probably do an adequate job.)
  • Blend or process the ingredients until they’re combined and a bit pasty. You don’t want a puree, so make sure you leave some chunks! Scrape down the sides or use your tamper often.
  • Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl
  • Add the flour a little bit at a time until the mixture is somewhat dry (when you make a ball and flatten it the edges should crack a little bit.) If your mixture was already quite dry you may not need all of this. (I only needed 1/2 cup when using all of the drier ingredient options.)
You can see that it's pretty dry.

You can see that it’s pretty dry.

  • Form patties from the dough. I didn’t measure each patty, but I’d say each used about 2-3T of dough…a small handful. Roll each portion into a ball and flatten slightly to make a thick patty.
  • Liberally oil a baking sheet (this could be skipped if you are avoiding oil, but make sure to use parchment paper or another method of avoiding food sticking to the pan.)
  • Place the patties on the baking sheet, making sure they aren’t touching.
  • Brush a little bit of oil over the tops of the patties.
Falafel patties ready to be baked. (This is a toaster oven pan...they aren't huge!)

Falafel patties ready to be baked. (This is a toaster oven pan…they aren’t huge!)

  • Bake for 25 minutes, flipping over halfway through
  • Serve on its own, over a salad, or in a wrap (I prefer over a salad with the sauce/dressing I’ve shared below.)
  • Makes 5 servings of 6 patties each
The ones to the back/left were pan fried (hubby though he'd prefer them that way, but he didn't!)

The ones to the back/left were pan fried (hubby though he’d prefer them that way, but he didn’t!)

 

Vegan Falafel Sauce  

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soy free veganaise
  • 3/4 cup relish
  • 3t lemon juice
  • 1 1/2t chopped garlic
  • 3/8t black pepper
  • 3/8t celery seed

Directions

  • Stir all ingredients together in a bowl with a fork.
  • Serve over Falafel.

 

Yummy! (Ignore the shriveled tomatoes...I told you I was cleaning out the fridge!)

Yummy! (Ignore the shriveled tomatoes…I told you I was cleaning out the fridge!)

These were yummy fresh from the oven, and cold the next day as well. If you want them warm as leftovers, I recommend waiting to bake them until the day you want to eat them. Being heated twice dries them out a bit (but they’re still yummy!) This was a quick nutritious meal I could eat one handed while holding the baby, and beyond the intial (pretty fast) prep, doesn’t take much time to get ready to eat.

Cauliflower Pakora (or as I like to call it – Vegan Popcorn Chicken!)

May 14, 2013

 

A short update on the gluten challenge – I did the 90 days and got my blood-work done. The tests came back negative for Celiac Disease. Initially we planned on doing a biopsy as well, but that’s just not feasible at the moment, so since we already know I am gluten intolerant  I’ll be avoiding gluten again.

Now…Dinner tonight was one of our favorite not so healthy meals…cauliflower pakora (an Indian dish,) which reminds us of popcorn chicken!
Vegan Popcorn ChickenPakora

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chickpea (garbanzo) flour (milling dried chickpeas works)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 large head of cauliflower chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2-6 cups of oil for frying (I use olive oil)

Directions:

  • Blend together all ingredients except for the cauliflower, onion, and oil. The batter should be smooth, and slightly thick.
  • Stir in the chopped cauliflower and diced onion until coated with batter

IMG_2779

  • Heat the oil in a heavy pan to 375*F (We use a wok with a couple of inches of oil in it.)
  • Fry in batches for about 4-5 minutes, until golden.

IMG_2782

  • Removed to a paper towel lined bowl or plate to drain.
  • Serve hot with optional chutney like sauce (recipe below.)

Chutney (may bear very little resemblance to actual chutney since I’ve never had it, and sort of made this up randomly.)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 half cup of apricot preserves (check the ingredients for any ingredients you might need to avoid)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of juice from canned or jarred jalapenos. (optionally include a few bits of diced jalapeno)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • dash of powdered ginger

Directions: 

  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly and serve as a dipping sauce for pakora

The pakora (vegan popcorn chicken) works great in a big bowl shared during a movie or party. Stay tuned for how to use cauliflower as a buffalo wing substitute!

Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan Bagels for the Win!

January 15, 2012

Ok, so they don’t look as good as the ones here, but for a first try, they look gorgeous to me, and tasted yummy!

I’ve been wanting bagels even more than I’ve been wanting regular bread (no luck yet on a loaf recipe that works yet.) I started looking around for a vegan, gluten free, soy free bagel recipe that I could eat that had the right kind of qualifications. I grew up in NY so am picky as to what constitutes a bagel. A flour with a strong flavor wouldn’t do it.  A recipe that isn’t boiled first wouldn’t do either. Then I found Kelli & Peter’s recipe. They’re from NY, so know what a real bagel is. None of the flours are strong flavored, and it didn’t need to be cinnamon raisin to cover up the odd flavor. There were only a couple of very small changes needed to make it vegan. I had everything on hand (well almost,) so gave it a go.

The original recipe is gluten free and soy free. It can be found at NoGlutenNoProblem. The changes I made were as follows:
Instead of egg whites in the bagel I use Ener-G egg replacer. For the egg wash I used extra virgin olive oil. I didn’t have quite enough potato starch, so used 20g potato starch and 17g arrowroot powder to make up the difference. The flour blend is listed here.  For all of the flours and starches in the blend I used Bobs Red Mill brand.

The bagels were great straight out of the oven, and half an hour later. I will be making a multiple batch the next time I make these as long as they freeze well. I guess I have to freeze one of these (I ate two already!) to see if they’ll do well being frozen then thawed. I ate them with some soy free Earth Balance and they made my mouth happy and won’t upset my gut. I made two plain, one onion, and one sesame. I ate a plain bagel and the onion bagel for dinner. I’m just so excited, and I hope you enjoy them too!

Vegan Tuna Salad

August 31, 2011

The other day my husband and I stumbled upon a happy accident. While mixing up a mix for veggie burgers I tasted the mix, and it tasted like a mild tuna salad to me! A couple of modifications, and instead of waiting for burgers to cook, we had a cold lunch of “tuna” salad. Not a bad thing since it’s been hot out and I was hungry!

Vegan Tuna Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw, hulled sunflower seeds, ground
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2T ground flax seed
  • 2/3 cup chopped carrot
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 2T water
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup dried Nori or Kelp – Roasted (Roast at 300* for 5-8 minutes, crush and mix with 2-3T warm water)

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a large bowl
  • Process with a stick blender or food processor leaving slightly chunky
  • Refrigerate until cold
  • Serve on a bed of lettuce with vegan mayonnaise (see recipe below,) or any way you’d serve tuna.
  • Makes 4 servings

Vegan Mayonnaise/Sour Cream (Also Raw!) 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 4T lemon juice
  • 1t onion powder
  • 1/2t garlic powder
  • 1t salt

Directions

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender on high speed until creamy (a vitamix works well)
  • Refrigerate until cold

A delicious lunch. A bed of fresh baby romaine lettuce leaves, tomato wedges, a scoop of vegan “tuna” salad topped with dollops of homemade vegan mayonnaise.

Quinoa or Millet “Crumbles” (ground beef substitute without soy or gluten)

January 2, 2011

One of the hardest things for me, is that all of the pre-made vegan crumbles (Boca, Morningstar, etc.) are soy and gluten based. I like having some non-bean texture in my tacos, and something other than “just veggies” on a pizza or pasta dish. This recipe is adapted from the recipe “Walnut Wheat Crumbles” in the cookbook “Tasty Vegan Delights.” It works equally well with millet or quinoa, though millet takes longer to cook initially, and I like the flavor of quinoa better, as well as it being a complete protein.

This recipe doubles easily (and if you have room for more pans in your oven, could be multiplied even more, though I can only fit a double recipe in my vita-mix at a time.) It’s a good recipe to start in the morning on a day when you’ll be home most of the time, and won’t need the oven for anything else. I usually start it around lunch time, and stir the crumbles in the oven every hour or so, until I go to bed, then I turn off the oven and leave the pans in overnight. By morning they are done!

Quinoa Crumbles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnut or pecan pieces, or meal (meal is less expensive, and we’ll be pulverizing it anyway, but I usually get walnut pieces)
  • 4 1/2 cups of water (divided into 1 cup, 1 cup, and 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 3t garlic powder
  • 1t  salt (I use sea salt that still has the minerals in it for better nutrition and flavor)
  • 2 cups quinoa (or millet)

Directions:

  • In your vita-mix combine the nuts and 1 cup of water, and blend on high until smooth.
  • Add another 1 cup of water, and the onion powder, garlic powder, and salt, and blend to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into a pot (a single recipe needs about a 3 quart pan, and if you double it, keep in mind it does foam, and it does expand, so make sure your pot is big enough!
  • Add the last 2 1/2 cups of water, and bring the mixture to a boil.

    Boiling on the stove...don't let the light color fool you, these will be nice dark brown crumbles!

  • Add the quinoa or millet and cook until most of the water is absorbed. (When it starts to look like a porridge or oatmeal consistency.) Quinoa took about 20 minutes for me, and the millet took a lot longer.
  • Remove the mash from the heat, and let it cool for a while (about 1/2 an hour or so) and it will thicken more
  • Divide the mixture into a couple of pans: Cookie sheets with a lip edge work well, but large (9″x13″ or so) casserole dishes work too. If you have only smaller pans, us more of them. You don’t want the mixture to be too deep in each pan.

    Here they are, still quite wet, but looking a bit more brown.

  • Put the pans in the oven at 200*
  • Stir every hour our so, flaking and fluffing the crumbles as they dry. If you have pans on multiple racks you’ll want to rotate them as well (move the ones from the bottom to the top, and vice versa.) Do this for about 6 or 7 hours. They should really be getting darker brown and crunchy.
  • Turn the oven off, leave the door closed, and go to sleep. In the morning, you’ll have perfect crumbles. Divide them into freezer bags, and freeze them.
  • A single batch makes enough for the equivalent of 2# of “browned ground beef.”

    A generous 2 cups of crumbles is just about equal to a pound of "browned ground beef"

Using them:
I prefer them to have a bit of crunch, so I don’t add a lot of liquid back to them. If you use them in a recipe that has liquid already (like chili) there’s no need to reconstitute them at all. I recommend adding them towards the end of the cooking time.
If you want to reconstitute them (say for sloppy joes or tacos):

  • Put 2 cups of crumbles into a small pot.
  • Choose a liquid you’d like to use (water is fine, but for more flavor you might want to use broth or soup. For tacos I use salsa!) You’ll need up to 2 cups of this liquid.
  • Add the liquid a little bit at a time, stirring it in.
  • When the crumbles are the consistency you like, stop adding liquid, and use them in your recipe!

I use them crunchy in “nacho” type dishes, stir them into chili just before serving, or mix them into homemade tomato sauce the last minute or so of cooking.

I made a double recipe, and so packaged it into 4 "pound" packets of about 2 1/4 cups each. Don't forget to label them! They're ready for the freezer now (or to use!)

This recipe could easily have other seasonings put in from the beginning, if you know you’re going to use it for a specific type of dish. I think if I found a “smoke” flavor that was safe for me to eat, adding that would make these work as a “bacon bit” type crunchy topping for baked potatoes or salads. I do that with them as they are anyway. Let me know your favorite ways to use these crumbles, or your favorite variations. Enjoy!

Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup

November 1, 2010

So pretty in a jar, ready to share with friends!

In the last post I said that I thought the roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower (or either alone) would make a good soup. Here’s the yummy recipe I made. I was in a hurry so didn’t take a lot of pictures (in fact I only took one, of the soup in a jar ready to go to our friends house for dinner!) There weren’t any leftovers either 🙂

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • This works best in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender, but if you don’t have one, you can add the ingredients to the liquid more slowly.
  • Put the Roasted Broccoli and nut milk in the blender and puree on high until smooth
  • Add the cashews and sugar and blend again until smooth.
  • If you have a Vita-mix, your soup is now nice and warm and ready to eat!
  • If you don’t have a Vita-mix, pour your soup into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until warmed through.

This made 2 quarts of soup, and 4 of us finished it as a light dinner with salad. It tastes very different from traditional cream of broccoli soup in a good way!

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

October 26, 2010

Roasted to sweet goodness!

A friend of mine brought over a full grocery bag of fresh broccoli and cauliflower the other day, and so I decided to make a recipe I came up with the last time I had an abundance of fresh broccoli! The last time, I figured this out because I’d also had a lot (like 20#!) of cherry tomatoes that were starting to go soft, and I’d roasted them, so I figured why not try roasting broccoli? Now broccoli and cauliflower are closely related, so mixing them seemed to be just fine. The amount I had filled two 9″x13″ baking pans, and could easily be halved. I do plan on trying to make a blended broccoli soup with the leftovers, so I’ll let you know how that goes.

Ingredients:

  • 3# of broccoli and/or cauliflower florets
  • 1 head of garlic coarsely chopped
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • 1t salt
  • 1t pepper
  • 1/4c lemon juice
  • 1c nutritional yeast
  • 1/2c (or more!) of any one or combination: slivered almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (optional but gives a nice crunch, and I like to include nuts or beans in most recipes to give it more substance)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425*
  • Wash and trim the broccoli and cauliflower florets, then dry thoroughly. If they are wet they’ll steam and not end up with the crunchy roasted texture.
  • Toss the broccoli and cauliflower florets with the chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Spread the broccoli and cauliflower floret mixture in baking dishes in a single layer. You don’t want to stack the florets as they won’t roast well. Use multiple pans if necessary.
  • Roast in a 425* oven for 20 minutes
  • Toss the roasted broccoli and cauliflower with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and nuts or seeds

I like it as is, or topping a baked potato. I think it would make a good soup as well. It really gives the broccoli and cauliflower a different flavor than the usual boiling or steaming does. Even stir frying doesn’t match this. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Please share you comments!

Chopped and ready to be prepared for roasting!

Easy Tostadas and Instant Guacamole

October 23, 2010

Tostadas with Daiya cheese, instant guacamole, and tomatoes

Dinner tonight was very uninspired, and uses Daiya cheese again. I swear I don’t eat it that often, but this week I seem to. Once my Organic Acres General Store order comes I’ll have the raw cashews I need to make cheese, then you’ll see! (Of course I have to finalize and PLACE the order first!

Instant Guacamole Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • dash of lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic from a jar (or 2 cloves fresh garlic chopped)

Directions:

  • Mash ingredients together and use anywhere you want guacamole, like on Easy Tostadas!

Easy Tostadas Ingredients:

  • Corn Tostadas (don’t forget to check if they’re made with soybean oil!)
  • Cheese (Diaya cheddar, mozzarella, or both!)
  • Any of your favorite toppings such as
    Re-fried Beans
    Guacamole
    Salsa
    Fresh tomato
    Sliced olives
    Corn

Directions:

  • Turn oven on to 350* (It won’t need to preheat all the way, but it will get warm while we put together the tostadas)
  • Optional: Spread re-fried beans on tostada before putting the cheese on
  • Spread desired amount of cheese on each tostada shell
  • Put the tostada shells on a cookie sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes to let the cheese melt
  • Remove from the oven, add your desired toppings, and enjoy!

I usually eat about 3 tostadas for a meal, my husband usually eats 4. He doesn’t like guacamole, so a single recipe of Instant Guacamole works perfectly for my 3.  He likes salsa and I don’t usually, so it works out. Here are some variations we like:

Easy Tostadas with refried beans and tomato

This one has the re-fried beans under the cheese, and is topped with salsa (Instant Mexican Pizza!)

What are your favorite combinations?

Lentil and Carrot Soup in the Crock-pot

October 22, 2010

Healthy and Easy Lentil and Carrot Soup

Last nights dinner was a super easy soup that is very versatile. It came about due to an abundance of carrots in my refrigerator. To buy the organic carrots you had to buy five pounds, which is a lot of carrots! So I was thinking about what to do with the carrots that would be easy and healthy. I don’t really like carrot soup, and I don’t have enough room in my freezer right now to freeze them. I do like soup with carrots in it though, so I thought about what would give it substance (since I don’t like soup that has no bite to it.) I have lentils in the pantry always, so that made sense, an then for an added depth of flavor, onions (of which I have too many as well!) The recipe below fit perfectly in a 3 1/2 quart crock-pot. This could easily be adjusted for a larger pot. If you purchase broth to use in the soup, make sure to read the label carefully. They often include soy ingredients, and even wheat ingredients. I make my own veggie broth a lot of the time too. (Another post for another day!)

Ingredients:

  • 1#Lentils (about 2 cups) (sorted and rinsed)
  • 1# Carrots (about 4 average sized) (chopped)
  • 1 Large onion (about 1/2 pound) (diced)
  • Salt to taste (1/2 to 1 teaspoon is what I use)

Optional ingredients:

  • 1 16oz can of corn (drained)
  • 6 cups of unsalted vegetable broth

Directions:

  • If desired, caramelize the onion in a hot frying pan (with or without oil.) I did not do that this time because I didn’t want to do extra dishes, but if you do it gives a much better flavor to the soup.
  • Place the lentils, carrots, and onion in the crockpot. Add 6 cups of water (or vegetable broth for more flavor)
  • Do NOT add the salt yet, it will toughen the lentils!
  • Cover your crock-pot and set it on low for 6 hours.
  • After the 6 hours are up, you have a few options, and this is where it gets to be fun!

Option 1: Stir in salt to taste and serve!

Cooked Lentil and Carrot soup (chunky)

Mmmm...chunky soup!

Option 2: Add the salt and take a stick blender to it and make a blended soup! (If you don’t have a stick blender you can use a regular blender but be very careful when blending hot items…the lid needs to be vented!) I don’t really like broth so blending it makes me eat everything, and I don’t lose the nutrients that have leached into the water!)

Blended into thick soup goodness!

Option 3: Blend the soup (or not) and add the can of corn for a burst of color, texture and sweetness!

Blended soup with corn

Option 4: Get creative! Cooked grains could be mixed in (I like brown rice in just about everything, and I have a fool-proof way of cooking it perfectly every time! ) Stewed tomatoes, salsa, mushrooms…the variations are limitless. Post your favorite ideas!

This recipe made about 3 quarts of soup, which is about 6 servings for me.

Welcome to Vegan Without

October 21, 2010

It’s dinner time, and you are sick of salads, stir fries without substance, and dry “rice bread” that leaves much to be desired. The standard vegan standby of a frozen “veggie meat” meal is out because almost all of them contain soy or gluten (or both!) and you are not able to eat either.

First I’d like to mention Sunshine Burgers, because they are vegan, as well as soy and gluten-free. If you can get them, they are yummy, but a bit soft as far as texture. Unfortunately they aren’t available where I live now, so I must be creative. Of course we still lack something to eat the burgers on, so I hope to be experimenting with rolls in the near future.

Now for a dinner that is easy, healthy, and yummy: Roasted eggplant over pasta.

This recipe uses a couple of convenience items that you may or may not be able to get locally. You need pasta, and there are several gluten-free pastas out there. Most are rice or corn-based, and have varying textures. My favorite is a quinoa based pasta by Ancient Harvest. The bite sized shapes have a very small window of “readiness” where they aren’t crunchy anymore but aren’t mush. The spaghetti is much more forgiving, and even my husband who loves plain white pastas likes this one. You may be able to find it in a health food store, but it is also available online.

This recipe also greatly benefits from cheese. Later I’ll cover how to make your own cheese, but for now, Daiya mozzarella works really well. Even people who eat “real” cheese like it. It melts, has some stretch, and a good flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of your favorite gluten-free pasta
  • 2 medium eggplants washed and diced into 1″ cubes
  • 1 quart of your favorite pasta sauce (we’ll make our own another day)
  • 1 8 oz bag of Daiya mozzarella cheese
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Spread the eggplant cubes no more than 2 cubes deep in a large baking dish (9″x13″) and sprinkle with salt. You don’t need a lot of salt, but if you don’t use any the eggplant ends up being very bland.
  • Place in a 450* oven for 30-40 minutes until the eggplant is soft and starts to brown.
  • While the eggplant is roasting, prepare your pasta according to the package directions, then drain.
  • Toss your pasta with a small amount of sauce to keep it from drying out and sticking.
  • Pour the rest of the sauce over your roasted eggplant in the baking dish, sprinkle with cheese, and roast for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  • Serve the eggplant over pasta.

A yummy dinner that is easily multiplied or divided based on your needs. When I make this my husband and I get 3 meals each out of it, so it’s about 6 servings.

I appreciate feedback, so please leave comments, especially if you make the recipe. Thank you!