Tag Archives: chickpeas

Navigating Noel: Roasted Vegetables, Farro & Porcini-Cashew Cream

Roasted Winter Vegetables & Farro

Roasted Winter Vegetables & Farro

The holiday season can present it’s own set of challenges when either hosting or being invited to a holiday dinner or party. What to serve, what to bring. Who likes what, who’s allergic to this, that or the other thing. It’s enough to make you want to go away for the holidays. I’ve hosted some pretty big dinners in the past, so I understand the amount of preparation that goes into cooking for a crowd. Here’s how I navigate Noel festivities. Whether or not a host offers to make something special for me and Bruce, I happily volunteer to prepare a dish for everyone to enjoy. Bruce and I get to eat the food that makes us feel good and it’s a nice way to show others that a plant-based diet can be sumptuous and scrumptious. We were invited to my cousin’s home for Thanksgiving and I wanted to make a dish that met certain conditions.The dish should be in keeping with tradition, so it had to be made with autumnal ingredients. Since we were traveling to New Jersey, the dish had to be portable and able to fit in the car with three humans, one dog and a dog crate. Lastly, it had to make a hearty meal for me and Bruce, yet suitable as a side dish for others to enjoy. I decided to combine a few of my favorite recipes into one scaled-down feast — Sauteed Mushrooms, Shaved Brussel Sprouts, and Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower & Chickpeas served over farro and adorned with a Porcini-Cashew Cream. It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s not any more difficult than making three side dishes for a holiday dinner. You can always opt to roast the mushrooms and Brussel sprouts with the broccoli and cauliflower. Or you could saute the mushrooms and Brussel sprouts and simply steam the other vegetables. If you have leftover porcini-cashew cream, you can use it as a condiment for bean burgers or grilled vegetable sandwiches.What’s especially nice about this recipe is that everything can be prepared ahead of time and re-warmed either in the microwave or oven just before everyone’s ready to sit down for dinner. Less time fussing over food means more time making merry with family and friends. Have a joyful holiday season and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Roasted Vegetables, Farro & Porcini-Cashew Cream

Porcini Cashew Cream (recipe follows)

1 cup farro
Vegetable broth
Fresh or dried herbs to taste (thyme, sage, rosemary, etc.)

1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets

1 lb. mushrooms, sliced

4 large shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. Brussel sprouts, shaved

1 can chickpeas, drained
Smoked paprika

¼ cup toasted pignoli nuts

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cook the farro according to package directions, using vegetable broth instead of water and adding your choice of herbs.

Place cauliflower and broccoli in steamer basket and steam until they start to get tender. Remove and place on prepared baking sheet. Place on lowest rack and roast until the florets brown on the edges. Remove from oven and place in a large oven-proof serving bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 200F and place bowl in oven to keep warm.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned. Add to broccoli and cauliflower and return bowl to oven.

Add shallots to skillet and saute until softened and browned, adding water 2 tablespoons at a time to prevent sticking. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add Brussel sprouts and continue to cook, tossing frequently. Add to the bowl with the other vegetables and return to oven.

If necessary, wipe out skillet to remove any burned vegetables. Heat skillet on medium-high and add chickpeas. Cook until chickpeas start to brown. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Add to the bowl with the other vegetables.

To serve: spoon farro onto a plate, then add roasted vegetables on top. Drizzle porcini-cashew cream on top of farro and vegetables.

Porcini Cashew Cream

½ oz. dried Porcini mushrooms
½ cup cashews, soaked and drained
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove (preferably roasted)
Ground sage, black pepper and salt to taste

Pour ½ cup of boiling water over porcini mushrooms and let sit about 20 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving water, and place in container of high-powered blender. Add remaining ingredients and process on high, adding reserved porcini liquid as needed to thin out.

12 Dec 2016

Sweet Dreams: Butterscotch Breakfast Bars

Butterscotch Breakfast Bars

Butterscotch Breakfast Bars

Bruce told me about this dream he had the other night. In his dream he and a childhood friend were eating Butterscotch Krimpets. He thought it odd to dream about Butterscotch Krimpets because he hasn’t had one in decades. I remember that one of my best friends loved Butterscotch Krimpets and would have one every day after school. It’s funny how certain foods can kindle happy memories and make for sweet dreams, so I wanted to come up with a recipe to hold onto a piece of our childhood. I looked at a few vegan recipes for Krimpets, but they were nightmarishly loaded with a lot of refined sugar, refined flour and non-dairy butter. Yes, these were vegan, but too far off from being whole food that they were definitely off the table for us. I still wanted to pursue a butterscotch treat and decided to take a different approach. I wanted to come up with a bar that had some flavor worth dreaming about yet not too complex to eat first thing in the morning. I used my Chickpea Blondie recipe as a starting point. The main flavor components in butterscotch are butter and brown sugar, so I turned to macadamia butter and maple syrup instead. To compensate for the extra liquid from the syrup I increased the amount of oat flour in the recipe. There were no add-ins like chocolate chips or nuts, so it’s a pretty scaled-down recipe. The Butterscotch Breakfast Bars came out tender, not too sweet with a “buttery” mouth-feel. These are things that dreams are made of. Sweet dreams and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Butterscotch Breakfast Bars

Makes one 8″ square pan

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • ½ cup macadamia butter
  •  1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats, processed into flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 8×8” baking pan with coconut oil. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.

In bowl of food processor or in container of high-speed blender, process chickpeas, macadamia butter, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth.

In a large bowl, whisk together oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Add liquid ingredients and stir to combine. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the sides start to pull away from the pan and the bars look firm. Cool completely before cutting.


28 Apr 2016

Hummus for the Holiday: Moroccan Chickpea Spread

Moroccan HummusMy brother and sister-in-law will be spending the holidays with us this year, which brings to mind two cliches about coming home. Since Tommy & Belinda live in Kansas, the first cliche is “there’s no place like home” from the Wizard of Oz. If only they could click the heels on their red shoes any day of the year could be a holiday for us. The second cliche comes from the popular Christmas song that goes like this (you can sing along if you like): “Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays, ’cause no matter how far away you roam, if you want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home.”  I think it’s because I never moved away from my family that I can appreciate the sentiment of this song. Anyway, I thought I’d make it a real home-coming and invite my family down from New Jersey for an after-Christmas gathering. I want to have some tasty tidbits to snack on since everyone will most likely be arriving at different times. Just about everyone likes hummus, so I decided to come up with something a little more exotic than a basic chickpea spread. ( If you haven’t figured it out yet, I tend to do things in a big way). I thought about chickpea recipes that I like and remembered my Moroccan Chickpea Stew that’s made with onions, tomatoes, garlic, olives and raisins and spiced with cinnamon, cumin and cilantro. My intention was to make a basic hummus recipe and swirl in the Moroccan-inspired olive-raisin puree. The swirling concept worked in my head, but it didn’t work in the bowl, so I simply folded the puree in with the hummus. (I might try layering in a glass bowl next time I make it.)  The spread may not look too pretty, but it tastes delicious. I plan to serve it on warmed pita points, but you can use pita chips, crackers or fresh vegetables. Any leftovers can be used for wraps later in the week. Whether you’re staying home or going back home, may your holidays be merry and bright. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Moroccan Chickpea Hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained (reserve liquid)
  • 4 cloves of roasted garlic
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, soaked until soft
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

In blender or food processor, puree chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, cumin and salt, adding reserved liquid to desired consistency. Remove to serving bowl or storage container.

Place raisins, sundried tomatoes, olives, cilantro and cinnamon in mini-chopper and process until a chunky paste forms. Incorporate paste into hummus by either swirling or folding it in.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups.


24 Dec 2015

Stir it up: Swiss Chard with Garlic-Roasted Chickpeas

Swiss Chard Garlic Roasted Chickpeas

I wish I could say I was an” old sage” when it comes to gardening, but I like to refer to myself as “the accidental gardener”. My experience with gardening has been kind of hit or miss. This year I’ve had a few hits, one of them being Swiss Chard. Swiss Chard is typically a cooler weather crop, but I planted a row of a non-bolting variety in partial shade. It’s taken a long time but I finally have a nice harvest for a substantial meal. Greens all by themselves don’t make a hearty meal, but when you add some legumes you have a meal with some staying power.  Any type of leafy greens are loaded with fiber and antioxidants, so try to include them in your diet on a daily basis. This recipe adds a layer of flavor by roasting the chickpeas with garlic and shallots and then tossing them with the sauteed greens. Other greens like spinach, kale, collard or mustard greens can stand in for the chard. I like to serve this dish with a rustic bread, but perhaps some roasted potatoes would round out the meal just as well. If you’re inclined to try your hand at gardening, now’s the time to plant some cool-weather greens. The next best thing is to pick up some fresh greens at a local farmers market. Stir up some greens and make it Vegi-curious day.

Swiss Chard Saute with Garlic-Roasted Chickpeas


2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained (about 3 cups)

10 garlic cloves, peeled

2 large shallots or 1 small onion, chopped

3 small bay leaves, preferably fresh

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine ingredients in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Cover dish with foil. Roast until garlic is tender, about 45 minutes.


2 cups water (or vegetable broth)

1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon No Chicken base (if not using vegetable broth)

½ tsp. liquid smoke

extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed

3 small bay leaves

2 shallots, sliced

1 lb. Swiss chard, roughly chopped

Mix together water, bouillon and liquid smoke; set aside.

Lightly coat large non-stick skillet with oil and heat over medium-high heat. (Or use 2 tablespoons of water or broth.) Add garlic, bay leaves and shallots. Cover; cook until shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Add chard in batches and toss until chard wilts and volume is reduced by half. Add broth. Cover and cook until chard is tender and broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season chard with salt and pepper.

Add chickpeas to chard in large skillet. Continue to cook over medium heat about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Note: You can use more Swiss chard or substitute other greens for the chard.

26 Aug 2015

Egg-less Salad Sandwich

Eggless Salad 006I’ve been on a sandwich kick this week and worked up a chickpea sandwich that has an “essence” of egg salad. The trick to getting a hard-cooked egg taste is to use Indian Black Salt. (I get Indian Black Salt, of course, at an Indian grocery store. You can also purchase it online.) It has that “sulphery” aroma and taste that you get when you crack open a hard-cooked egg. The other trick is to use avocado in place of mayonnaise for some creaminess. It also helps to keep the salad ingredients together. The rest is just a basic egg salad recipe I’ve been making for years; onions, celery and mustard.  If I had some fresh dill on hand, I would have tossed that in as well. Toast up some multigrain or pumpernickel bread then stack it up with tomato, lettuce and pickles for a tasty (and filling) sandwich.  Hope you enjoy and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Vegi-curious Egg-less Sandwich

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ small onion, chopped fine
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
2 teaspoons mustard of your choice
½ to ¾ teaspoons Indian Black Salt
Fresh dill, to taste (optional)
Avocado, smashed (use only what you plan to use for your sandwich)

Lettuce, tomato, pickles

In a medium bowl, smash chickpeas using a fork or potato masher. Mix in onion, celery, mustard, black salt and dill.

To assemble sandwich, spread a layer of mashed chickpea on bread. Spread on a layer of smashed avocado, then layer on tomato, lettuce and pickles.

Makes 3 to 4 sandwiches.

06 May 2015

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