Vegan Falafel

Vegan Falafel
Vegan Falafel

I know Easter is tomorrow, but it just isn’t a food holiday for me. This year we won’t even be at home. We are taking my 3 year old skiing for the first time! I’m super excited. So instead, Falafel.

Falafel is one of the most perfect foods when done correctly; salty, herbaceous, crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, delightful alone and outstanding with a few sauces. The important part of these falafels is that the chickpeas are not cooked, but simply soaked overnight. It takes a little more planning, but is work the effort. The texture is lighter and the flavor more fresh. Serve with your choice of toppings, or just snack on them as is.

Ingredients

  • 2 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper (optional)
  • 6 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour or chickpea flour if gluten-free
  • Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
  • Toppings of choice.

Instructions

  1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain.
  2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
  3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and half of the flour, and pulse. Continue to add flour and pulse until the dough  easily forms a ball when shaped with your hands, and is no longer sticky.
  4. Once dough is the right consistency, cover it and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight. You can cook it right away, but the texture is better if you allow it to sit.
  5. When ready to use remove the dough from the refrigerator and form the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut.
  6. Heat 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a wide deep pot and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour and try again.  Then fry falafel balls in batches being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry until all sides are golden brown turning as needed.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. I like my falafel best with baba ganouj and tahini sauce for dipping. Many like a sandwich in pita bread. Always serve with pickled or fermented something for that sour note.

Note:

For tahini sauce simply stir together tahini, water, lemon juice, salt and minced fresh garlic in proportions you like. I start with 2 TBL tahini, 2 TBL water, squeeze of lemon, one small clove of garlic, and a dash of salt. Minced fresh herbs go nicely here if you have extra parsley or cilantro.

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Vegan Mushroom Walnut Pâté

Vegan Mushroom Walnut Pate
Vegan Mushroom Walnut Pate

I’ve been really hungry lately, Truthfully, I’m always really hungry, but it seems especially bad lately. I think it’s because I’ve finally started working out again post baby. Being hungry is good and bad for me. I love to eat, but I actually hate snacks. I pretty much never want to eat snacks. More often than not they aren’t very good, and then you can’t eat something you really want to eat because you’re full. Also, rarely are snacks good for you, at least the ones that taste good. So, I don’ t like snacks. If I do snack (and I do, several times a day) I usually eat a small portion of leftovers because it’s just better food. I’m ranting about this because this Pâté is an exception. I made it for guests, and then ended up eating it for days and looking forward to it!

This delightful Pâté -originally from the Veganomicon– is super easy, and you probably have almost everything in your pantry. I used fresh herbs in mine because I happened to have them hanging around. The original recipe calls for dried so I’m sure that would be fine if it’s what you have on hand.

 Vegan Walnut Mushroom Pâté

Originally from Veganomicon

 Ingredients

  • 3 TBL olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBL fresh tyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 TBL fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 LB cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • 3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • up to 1/4 cup vegetable broth (I didn’t use any)

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and saute for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent,
  3. Addthe garlic, thyme, tarragon, salt, and pepper, and cook another minute.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until they are very soft, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent them from burning.
  5. While the mushrooms are cooking, place the walnuts in a food processor or blender and process until very fine.
  6. Add the cooked mushroom mixture to the walnuts in the food processor, along with the balsamic vinegar, beans, and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Process until smooth, adding the vegetable broth 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to make a smooth puree. Note: I didn’t need to use any.
  7. Continue to puree the ingredients until the pate resembles a smooth, thick and spreadable paste.
  8. Scrap mixture into an airtight container and chill for at least an hour before serving, to allow the flavors to meld.

Simple Kale Chips

Simple vegan kale chips
20 Simple vegan kale chips

I was going to buy kale chips the other day, and then I was like  “why would I do that?” They are so simple, and quick to make at home, and wayyyy cheaper. So here is your very simple kale chip recipe. Feel free to add other seasonings of choice to jazz them up a bit, though they are delicious as is. My toddler loved them! She kept asking for the “crackers” how could I say no? The picture above is her sneaking a few as I was attempting to shot a legitimate photo. I couldn’t keep her out of them long enough to get a good picture, so you have proof these are irresistible to toddlers.

 Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of curly kale de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200F.
  2. Place the chopped kale into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands massage the kale with the oil until each leaf is coated with oil.
  3. Place kale in a single layer (very important!) on a baking sheet, or two if needed.
  4. Sprinkle lightly with salt and bake for 15-20 minutes until the kale is crispy to the touch and the edges are just starting to brown. Start checking around 10 minutes and check every few minutes after to make sure it isn’t burning.
  5. Allow to cool before consuming.