Sunday, June 10, 2018

Chickpea Coconut Pesto Salad


2 Tbs olive oil
3 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tsp ground cumin


1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs lime juice
1 clove garlic
1 small jalapeño
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

1)  In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and cumin, roasting the cumin until fragrant. Add the chickpeas. Sauté for two minutes, until the chickpeas are heated throughout.
2)  Meanwhile, add all the pesto ingredients to a food processor and pulse until fully combined.
3)  Toss chickpeas with pesto. Allow the salad to marinate for fifteen to twenty minutes. Salad can be served warm, cold or at room temperature.

Review:  I love, and miss, pesto. It's hard to find a suitable substitute for cheese. I've largely depended on substituting nuts, but it's not the same. When I found this recipe that used coconut instead, I was so intrigued. It seemed like a small side dish recipe, but very flavorful. I doubled the recipe and found I didn't need to do so as this dish is incredibly filling. It's also a really great flavor. It's savory, without being sweet (due to the coconut) or spicy (due to the jalapeño). It's also chewy due to the coconut, so it has a more rewarding mouth feel than one would expect. I'm very happy with this dish.
Adapted from:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Fettuccine with Asparagus, Leeks & Mint

1 9oz pkg gluten free egg fettuccine
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large leek, white and light green parts chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1)  Whisk lemon juice, 1 Tbs olive oil, mint, salt, pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Set aside.
2)  Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the asparagus for the last two minutes of cooking. Drain and keep warm.
3)  Heat 1 Tbs of olive oil in a large saute pan. Cook leeks, stirring occasionally, until tender - about 4 minutes. Add mint mixture, pasta and asparagus, tossing to combine.
4)  Serve topped with Parmesan.

Review: This recipe was such a mess to make, all due to my own errors. I couldn't find good asparagus at the grocery store and my husband convinced me to use a frozen SteamFresh bag of asparagus. That cooked for 4 minutes, the pasta cooked for 4 minutes and the leeks needed to cook for 4 minutes. I thought this was going to be EASY. Nope. The asparagus was SPEARS, and I didn't notice. They also steamed up to be a mushy mess. The pasta did not cook in 4 minutes. I used a wimpy burner on my stove and the water completely stopped boiling after I added the pasta. It took about ten minutes to cook, and it clumped terribly. So, by the time I tossed everything together, I already hated the dish. Except it was tasty. So freaking tasty. Despite the mint, it had an overwhelmingly savory, buttery taste (the egg noodles?). The cayenne really helped hone the savoriness and pulled it all together. I ate half of what I made for dinner and wanted to go back for more!
Adapted from:

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Tbs coconut oil
3 Tbs maple syrup (the real stuff!!)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups blanched almond meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1)  Preheat oven to 375F.
2)  In a large bowl, combine coconut oil and maple syrup with an electric mixer on medium speed.
3)  Add the egg and vanilla extract, mix on low speed, just until combined.
4)  Add the almond flour, baking soda and salt, mixing on low speed until combined.
5)  Stir in chocolate chips.
6)  Using a small sized cookie scoop, drop dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes.

Review:  This day's post may seem like a bake-a-thon. It kind of was. My employer is having a bake sale tomorrow. I never get to bake, because baking makes way more goods than the two of us can eat. So, I got the joy of baking to my heart's content, sampling the recipes and then getting rid of the excess. It was a great day!!! This was the least favorite of the cookies I made today. I had way too much almond meal. It was the epitome of a health food cookie, as it had a strong almond flavor and texture. It was gritty instead of cookie like. It also didn't flatten out, so they were lumps that took FOREVER to bake. Ugh. Maybe they'd be better if I flattened them before baking?
Adapted from:

Lemon Sugar Cookies

1 cup vegan butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups gluten free flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one large lemon
juice of one large lemon
extra sugar for rolling cookie dough

1)  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed.
2)  Mix in egg on low speed, just until incorporated.
3)  Mix in flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice, on medium speed until well-blended.
4)  Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes.
5)  Preheat oven to 350F. Roll dough into small sized balls, then roll in sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden.

Review:  Once upon a time, I had a micrograter for zest. Seems as though I threw it out at some point and I turned to the finest side of my grater for zest. Neither has been successful in giving me the desired zest. I give up. In the meantime, these cookies are simply divine. They have a warm lemon taste, with just the right amount of sugar. They took seemingly forever to bake (and the recipe made a lot of cookies!). This recipe will definitely make the rotation of favorites.
Adapted from:

Rose Water Almond Cookies

3/4 cup cup-for-cup gluten free flour
1/4 cup blanched almond meal
6 Tbs vegan butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs rose water
1 egg, room temperature
extra powdered sugar for sifting on top of finished cookies

1)  Sift together the flour and almond meal in a small-sized bowl. Set aside.
2)  In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter, vanilla extract, rose water, salt and sugar together with an electric mixer, on medium speed, until well blended.
3)  Add the egg and beat for 15 seconds, on low speed.
4)  On low speed, add the flour mixture slowly. Mix until just incorporated.
5)  Place in refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes.
6)  Preheat oven to 350F. Roll the dough into small balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until light brown on the edges.
7)  Place cookies on wire cooling rack and sift powdered sugar on top of each cookie.

Review:  These are so very delicate, including the rose taste!! The rose is just a hint of an aftertaste, in the back of the mouth. I love the flavor of rose and was disappointed. I will definitely make these again, but double (maybe triple?) the amount of rose water. Until then, this will hopefully be enough to appease whoever buys them at the bake sale.
Adapted from:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cauliflower Fried Rice (Original Recipe)

1 Tbs coconut oil
5 cubes frozen minced garlic
2 cubes frozen minced ginger
1 10 package frozen, sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 yellow potato, diced
1 12oz bag frozen riced cauliflower medley
1 7oz package sriracha tofu, diced
4 Tbs almond butter
6 Tbs soy sauce
sriracha sauce to taste

1)  In a deep skillet, heat the coconut oil, garlic, ginger, shiitake mushrooms and potato over medium-high heat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated. As this is cooking, heat the riced cauliflower medley according to package directions and set aside.
2)  Once the water has evaporated from the skillet, and the potatoes are tender, add all remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine and heat until temperature is even throughout the dish.
3)  Serve warm.

Review:  I tend to make the same version of fried rice over and over again. Unfortunately, this tended to make rice heavy dinners, with little vegetable variety. Mike's been buying these riced veggie bags and I thought it might make for an interesting version of fried rice. It worked amazingly well! I really enjoyed the flavor combination and it seemed to make it a little more savory. The omission of rice greatly reduced the calorie load, which allowed me to use more almond butter to increase the amount of protein (and flavor!). This was quick, easy and incredibly flavorful. I'll be making this quite a bit!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Rice with Roasted Garlic, Lentils & Mushrooms

1 bulb garlic
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs olive oil, plus 1 tsp (separate)
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 cup dry lentils (green or red)
1 cup brown rice

1)  Preheat oven to 350F. Slice top off garlic bulb to expose cloves, and discard top. Place bulb on small square of foil and pour 1 tsp olive oil over it. Fold up corners of foil to seal. Roast garlic in oven 40 to 50 minutes, until soft when gently squeezed.
2)  Meanwhile, bring rice and 2 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Once water is all absorbed, transfer to a large bowl.
3)  Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss sliced mushrooms with 2 Tbs olive oil and 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar, in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Spread on baking sheet in single layer. Roast mushrooms 20 to 30 minutes in oven with garlic, or until tender and browned, stirring halfway through. Add to large bowl.
4)  Meanwhile, bring lentils and 2 1/2 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer (20 to 25 minutes for green lentils, or 10 to 15 minutes for red lentils). Drain and add to large bowl.
5)  Cool garlic until easy to handle. Squeeze out roasted garlic into a small bowl and discard skins. Mash garlic with fork until smooth. Fold mashed garlic into lentils/rice/mushrooms mixture.
6)  Add additional balsamic vinegar to taste and serve warm.

Review: I made this after work, not realizing how labor intensive it was going to be. I had four different pots/pans cooking at the same time, with varying needs. That's more than I wanted to manage and the length of time it took was longer than I wanted to wait to eat. I was further disappointed by the flavor. I love all these ingredients, so this should have been amazing. Instead, it was fairly dull. The roasted garlic was barely noticeable and it tasted mostly of lentils, rice & balsamic vinegar. If I make it again, I'd roast a few bulbs of garlic to really make the flavor noticeable.
Adapted from:
Vegetarian Times, February 2016 issue