Sunday, December 29, 2013

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Lentils, Stilton & Walnuts

What's on your New Year's menu?  I'm making this beautiful, high-protein appetizer of portobello mushrooms stuffed with lentils, Stilton and topped with half a walnut. Served with pretty micro greens, this recipe is easy and such a satisfying bite.  The tempeh bacon wrap adds protein and smokiness, but it's a gem even without it!

Portobellos, broiled with olive oil and balsamic, 2 minutes downfacing, 1 minute upfacing, packed with Trader Joe's Steamed Lentils mixed with red wine, then topped with Stilton and walnuts. Broiled 2 minues then wrapped in lightly fried tempeh bacon. Served over pretty micro greens. I got everything from Trader Joe's except the Tempeh bacon (Whole Foods).

These are so easy to prepare and no knife and fork required. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Chickpea Cakes with Spinach, Red Pepper & Feta

Still looking for an tasty Christmas dish to add to your table? Try these festive savory cakes made with chickpeas, herbs, spinach, roasted red pepper and chickpea flour. I'm just hoping I can save some from tomorrow!

My daughter requested chickpea cakes for our Christmas entree this year.  I had recently made a batch based on the Black Bean Pecan Cake recipe from my class at Millennium in June.  The black bean cakes were so popular, I decided to explore different beans and flavors.  The chickpea version tastes quite like a falafel, so how could I go wrong adding Mediterranean ingredients like roasted red peppers and feta?  

They came out brilliantly!  I think they'll go nicely with cranberry sauce.  I did a version with pecans and one without:  I prefer the pecan version. 

Happy Holidays to all!

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Chickpea Cakes with Spinach, Red Pepper & Feta:

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced fine
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp sumac (optional)
1/8 tsp powdered harrisa (optional)
15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 TBS vegetable broth
1 tsp lemon olive oil (can substitute regular)
1 tsp meyer lemon juice
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro and parsley (I did a 50/50 mix)
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/4 cup diced roasted red pepper
1/8 cup crumbled feta
2 TBS finely chopped pecans (optional)
Additional 1 TBS oil for pan frying

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the spices and cook an additional 30 seconds.  Add the chickpeas, vegetable broth, lemon olive oil, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the chickpea start to soften and can easily be crushed with the back of a spoon.  Remove from the heat and cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cooled chickpea mixture with the cilantro, parsley, and chickpea flour.  Start by using a potato masher to crush the chickpeas and mix with the flour, then use your hands to knead into a dough. Leave lumps of chickpea and some whole chickpeas in the mix, you don't want a puree. Add the spinach, roasted red pepper (squeeze out any extra moisture if you are using jarred),  feta and chopped pecans and knead into a dough.  Taste the mix and add salt and pepper as desired. Form into patties about 2 inches in diameter.  

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the patties.  Cook on each side for about 2 minutes until they have a nice browned color. Remove from the pan and place on a cookie sheet and bake in the 350 oven for 7 minutes.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Spicy Christmas Soup with Cauliflower, Kale & Red Peppers (Cold-Snap Soup)

This vegan high-protein, spicy soup with cauliflower, kale, red peppers, chickpeas and lentils is seasonal in its Christmas colors and has been the perfect warming lunch for our recent cold-snap, so I'm dubbing it "Cold-Snap Soup".  It uses freshly available winter produce and canned/jarred extras and, to give it a real sinus-clearing warmth,  I've added a pre-made Chili-Garlic Sauce.  Additional winter vegetables include potatoes and cabbage and I've added lentils to round out its heartiness. Spices include ground cumin and coriander, but if you have some handy, feel free to add a little harissa.

I have to admit, I've become pretty addicted to the warm comfort this soup provides.  And it's all good for you, so take the chill off and make a warming batch today!

Spicy Cauliflower, Kale & Red Pepper Soup (Cold-Snap Soup):
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 onion, fine diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp harissa (powdered, optional)
1/3 cup potato, diced
1/2 cup cauliflower florettes, cut small
1/2 cup cabbage, chopped
16 oz vegetable broth
1 TBS tomato paste
6 oz canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, diced
1 cup kale leaves, stems removed and torn into 1-2" pieces
1/2 cup cooked lentils (I used Trader Joe's steamed)
1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the ground cumin, coriander and harissa (if using).  Stir for 1 minute.  Add the diced potato and cauliflower, cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Stir well and add the cabbage. Cover and cook 2 minutes.  Add some salt and pepper. Add the vegetable broth and raise the heat to high to bring the soup to a boil.  Turn heat down to a simmer and add the tomato paste, chickpeas, kale, and cooked lentils. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chili-garlic sauce and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Taste the soup and determine if you need to add more salt and pepper. If you want a spicier soup, add more chili-garlic sauce.  Enjoy!