Daily Vegan Lunch for 15 December, 2013: Spinach Falafel

vegan spinach falafel IMG_3828Shown with roasted fingerling potatoes that look like sausages and taste like what you’d expect: mini baked potatoes.

FALAFEL INGREDIENTS:

1 fifteen ounce can chickpeas (about 1.5 cups) rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons plus one tablespoon any type of flour, I used chickpea flour
1 teaspoon cumin
Oil for frying

CREAMY TAHINI SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon vegan cream cheese (I used homemade cashew cream cheese recipe from 5 September)
1 tablespoon tahini
1/3 cup water
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Make the falafel.  In a blender or food processor, combine chickpeas, spinach, garlic, 2 tablespoons tahini, cumin, lemon juice, and salt.  Process until it is almost but not quite a paste.

Transfer chickpea mixture into a bowl and add 4 tablespoons of flour, stirring in completely.  Put remaining tablespoon of flour in the middle of a plate or small cutting board.

Heat about 1 inch of oil in a pan that IS NOT NON-STICK to the smoking point.  I prefer to use a small cast iron pan for this.

Put flour on your hands from the plate and use your flowered hands to roll several meatball sized blobs of chickpea-spinach mixture.  The mixture will be a bit sticky.  Flatten each ball a little to make a flatter shape.  Drop them (carefully) into the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes each side or until browned.  Turn them over in the oil once.  Makes about a dozen falafels depending on ball size.

To make the sauce, combine veggie cream cheese, garlic, and tahini in a small bowl, mash together.  Add water a little at a time, stirring in as you go until it is the right thickness for you.  Add salt to taste.

Serve the falafels in oven-warmed pita bread with some shredded or chopped cucumber and tahini sauce.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 9 December, 2013: Quick Rice Soup with Broccoli and Chickpeas

rice soup with broccoli and chickpeas IMG_3808

INGREDIENTS FOR ONE BOWL:

2 cups vegetable broth (I used Better Than Bouillon mixed with water)
1.5 cups cooked white rice — this is a great recipe to use if you accidentally overcook rice and it’s too mushy to use for anything else
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon chopped pickled plums
1 cup broccoli florets
3/4 cup chickpeas
1 tablespoon roasted pine nuts
Nori seaweed, cut into strips, to sprinkle

DIRECTIONS:

Combine rice, broth, onion, chickpeas, pickled plums, and broccoli in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes on high. Alternately, combine the same ingredients in a small pot on the stovetop and bring to a boil, turning heat down to medium as soon as it boils and simmering five minutes.

Roast pine nuts by placing them in a pan without oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Be careful to watch them so they don’t burn.

Top the soup with shredded nori and roasted pine nuts.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 8 December, 2013: Chef’s Salad

vegan chef's salad

IMG_3803

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

4 cups green salad mix (I used an organic one by Earthbound Farms)
2 cups shredded red or other color cabbage
1.5 cups chickpeas
1 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (I used some from a jar)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup sliced radishes
1 cup green onions, chopped

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese or sour cream
2 teaspoons vinegar (any kind will work except balsamic)
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup plant milk (I used almond milk)
1.5 teaspoons salt or to taste

Mix the salad ingredients — green mix, cabbage, rinsed and drained chickpeas, radishes, tomato, red pepper, and green onions — in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, combine vegan mayo, cream cheese, vinegar, mustard, garlic, plant milk, and salt and fork whip until smooth.  Pour the dressing over the salad right before you plan on eating it.  This would have been good with black or green olives but I forgot I had some in the cupboard.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 11 October, 2013: Crockpot Minestrone

vegan minestrone

INGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1.5 cups chopped celery
1.5 cups chopped carrot
2 cups cooked chickpeas (drained)
2 cups crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon basil

6 cups water
2 veggie broth cubes

1 cup uncooked macaroni

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients except macaroni in a crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Add macaroni during last 20 minutes of cooking, simply dump it in and turn crockpot to “High” setting.

Alternately, cook soup on the stovetop by cooking onion first in the oil on medium-high heat for about five minutes. Add all ingredients except macaroni and let it simmer on medium high for 45 minutes. Add the macaroni and cook about 10 more minutes or until the macaroni is al dente.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 26 September, 2013: Mediterranean Macaroni Bowl

vegan mediterranean macaroni bowl

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups cooked macaroni (I used organic whole wheat macaroni)

2 teaspoons oil
1.5 cup onion, chopped

1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1 small chopped tomato
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, minced
2 tablespoons pine nuts

Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-cook macaroni according to package directions, set aside.

Thaw frozen spinach and peas in microwave by combining them in a microwave safe bowl and cooking them on high power for 2 minutes. Alternately, pre-thaw them on the counter top for about an hour or so.

In a large fry pan, fry onion in oil on medium heat until translucent. Add tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes and let it stir fry for about 1 minute. Add the chickpeas. Make a well in the center of the chickpea/tomato/onion mixture and spread the pine nuts in it. Allow the pine nuts to brown slightly, about 2 minutes. Douse the pine nuts with the thawed spinach and peas, stir until all ingredients are mixed.

Add the cooked macaroni to the pan and stir until macaroni is evenly distributed.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 25 September, 2013: Vegan Chickpea Toona Macaroni

Vegan chickpea toona

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups cooked macaroni (I used organic whole wheat macaroni)
1 cup of cooked chickpeas, fork mashed
1/2 cup minced onion
1.5 cups celery, chopped
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
2 teaspoons sugar or 1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon kombu dashi (kombu seaweed squares ground up in a blender to a powder, you could also use substitute 1/2 a crumbled nori sheet)
1/2 a lemon’s juice

DIRECTIONS:

Mash the chickpeas with a fork or pulse them for 10 seconds in the food processor, set aside. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain, set aside. Combine macaroni, onion, and celery in a large bowl and stir. You could pre-cook the onion and celery but I decided not to. I think it tasted much better with them raw. Add the mashed chickpeas to the bowl. Add vegan mayo, sugar, and kombu. Sprinkle with lemon juice and stir well to incorporate all ingredients. Salt to taste.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 10 September 2013: Mushroom Barley Chickpea Stew

vegan mushroom barley stew
INGREDIENTS:

1 Tablespoon oil
1 portabello mushroom, chopped small or 2 cups button mushrooms, chopped

1.5 cups onion, chopped

1 summer squash, cut into small pieces

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

6 cups vegetable broth

1 cup barley

1/4 cup flour for thickening plus 1 cup water

SPICES/HERBS

1/4 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dill

1 teaspoon paprika

 

DIRECTIONS:

In the bottom of a large stockpot, fry mushrooms and onion in oil on medium-high heat until the mushrooms brown and the onion is translucent.  Add  spices and herbs, allow to fry 30 seconds.  Add broth, turn heat to high  (I usually add water, 1 vegan broth cube, and then salt it to taste  with sea salt instead of adding actual broth).  Add squash, chickpeas, and barley, cook for about 20 minutes until barley is cooked and chewy.

Once barley is done, mix 1 cup water and 1/4 cup flour until well blended.  Add to soup and stir until soup thickens, about 2 minutes.