Garden Bean Salad

I love me some beans.  They’re a great source of fiber and protein.  They’re delicious hot, cold or room temperature, they place nice with tons of different flavors, and they’re easy.  Despite my bean love, I’ve never quite liked three bean salad.  There’s a weird sweetness to it that tastes kind of stale to me.  So this is my update on a three bean salad, with lots of vegetables to up the freshness (and health benefits!).  You can use pretty much whatever you have on hand.  I’m usually not a fan of raw onion, so I used shallots which have a slightly milder taste, and I soaked the slices in cold water while preparing the rest of the salad to give them an even milder flavor.  In the end I thought they added a nice subtle spiciness, but weren’t too overwhelming.  You could also mince red onion, or just slice red onion depending on your love of onions.

Garden Bean SaladGarden Bean Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-15

Adapted from Food Network Magazine, September 2010

  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 (15oz) cans small white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, diced (orange would be nice for the color, but whatever you like)
  • 3 cups frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

Soak shallots in cold water while preparing the rest of the salad.  In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, and green beans.  Mix in the drained shallots.

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, oil and pepper.  Pour dressing over the salad, let marinate at room temperature for about an hour.  Garnish with parsley, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

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Smooth and Creamy Hummus

I might also call this obsessive-compulsive hummus, but I’ll let you decide for yourself what name you’ll call it.  What makes it different, is that you actually peal the chickpeas.  I know, say what?! Peel chickpeas?!  Well this advice comes from the incredible Smitten Kitchen, so I knew the recipe would be great…so while I caramelized some onions, I tediously sat by the sink, peeling chickpeas.  It really didn’t take that long, and by the time I was done I also had beautifully caramelized onions, so it wasn’t a total waste of time.  The end result is a delightfully creamy and thick hummus.  I’ve been eating this for weeks, and am a big fan of the subtle flavors and smooth texture.  This has just the right amount of lemon and garlic to accentuate the chickpeas but not overpower them.  It’s a great dip, and I highly recommend it with veggies for a great, easy healthy snack.

Smooth and Creamy HummusSmooth and Creamy Hummus (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (more to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Peel the outer skin off of the chickpeas, discard the skins and toss the chickpeas in the bowl of your food processor.  Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt.  Pulse several times, then stream in the water and olive oil while blending.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve with carrot sticks, snap peas, cucumber sticks, crackers, pretzels, and/or bread.

Baked Falafel

Falafel are great.  They’re a wonderful vegan option (I was surprised to learn they don’t even use egg to bind them).  They’re super flavorful, have a nice texture and are a great compliment to other delicious foods.  I’ve always thought of falafel as being rather fussy and something better ordered out than made at home.  However, this recipe is a game changer.  Baking falafel not only makes these healthier, it’s also easier than frying.  The result, while not as crunchy as traditional falafel, is still wonderfully moist, tasty.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, I’ve already made these twice in two days.  Once with friends and once (when I doubled the recipe, seen below) for my parents.  These are super delicious, and I can’t wait to make them over and over again this summer with a nice big Greek Salad.

Baked FalafelBaked Falafel with pita

Makes about 20 golf-ball sized falafel

Adapted from Hungry Girl

  • 1 large (32oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 small onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Generously grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large food processor, add chickpeas and onion and pulse a few times until minced.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to mix.  Baked Falafel

If you don’t have a food processor, you can smash the chickpeas with a fork by hand, or use a blender.  Mince the other ingredients and add everything to a large bowl and mix by hand until it comes together.

Taking about 3 Tbsp of the mix, roll into ball and place on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining mixture and then spray the tops of the falafel with cooking spray.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the falafel halfway through.

Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

As I may have mentioned before, I’m a fan of dips.  I think they’re a great food to take to work, and I love that they can get me to eat a whole pile of veggies without being a salad.  Bonus points if the dip is healthy, so clearly hummus is a top contender.  Hummus is a great vegetarian way of getting protein, it’s got a smooth, rich and creamy texture so it feels indulgent, and while it’s awesome with pita (or pita chips), it also goes great with a variety of veggies.  And since I have a new big and fancy (read: powerful) food processor to work with it makes whipping up some hummus at home a breeze.

This recipe takes the usual suspects and adds some roasted cauliflower, lemon and a few herbs to give it a fragrant, slightly sweet, and nutty taste which is absolutely delicious.

Roasted Cauliflower HummusRoasted Cauliflower Hummus

Makes about 2 cups

Adapted from Edible Perspective

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • sprinkle of Kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and pick off the skins for a smoother consistency
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon zested
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Cut cauliflower into florets and spread out on a large baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse Kosher salt, mix well.  Roast for about 30 minutes, until golden brown, tossing halfway through.Roasted Cauliflower

Once the cauliflower has cooled a bit, add it and the remaining ingredients into the bowl of your food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to blend and mix with a spatula as necessary to ensure an even, smooth consistency.  Refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.  Serve with veggies, pita, chips, or spread on a sandwich.

Moroccan Chickpea, Squash and Sweet Potato Tagine

This is a great vegetarian dish.  It was a great vegetarian option to go with the Moroccan Chicken recipe.  The spices are a bit more subtle in this, but I thought it was a great dish that highlights the flavors of the sweet potatoes and the butternut squash.  I love when a dish brings out the natural flavors in vegetables.  I recommend serving this with couscous with golden raisins and/or dried apricots.  If this feels to starch heavy to you, I think cauliflower would be awesome in this too.

Moroccan Chickpea, Squash and Sweet Potato TagineMoroccan Chickpea, Squash and Sweet Potato Tagine

Serves 12

Adapted from The Roasted Root

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 2 large sweet potato, peeled and diced in 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped in 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 heaping Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 large (28oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray and toss diced sweet potatoes and butternut squash with a little olive oil and salt and spread out on the baking sheet (it’s ok if it’s kind of piled on, they don’t have to roast, steaming is just fine).  Bake for about 25 minutes, until tender.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and then sauté onion until tender and beginning to brown.  Add  cooked sweet potato and butternut squash.  Add spices, vegetable broth, chickpeas and lemon juice, mix well.  Cover and let simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Serve with couscous, rice or pita.

Avocado and Chickpea Dip

After all the feast of the past several weeks (months?), having something simple, light and green is exactly what I need.  This is a really simple recipe, but all the ingredients really shine.  This is a great dip to take to a party, but it also makes for a great sandwich.  This combines healthy omega-3s of avocados with the protein of chickpeas.  Add it to some whole grain bread and you have a wonderful filling meal.  I served this on thin slices of a baguette which makes nice appetizers or snacks.

Avocado and Chickpea DipAvocado and Chickpea Dip

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 large (28oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp salt (more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt
  • pepper to taste

In a large bowl, use a fork to smash the avocado flesh and chickpeas together.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve with chips, pretzels, bread and/or crudités.

Spiced Stuffed Acorn Squash

This stuffed squash was DELICIOUS!  This will definitely be a regular recipe for me.  It took quite a bit of searching to find an acorn squash recipe I liked the sound of.  So many vegetarian squash recipes out there don’t sound like a main dish (in that they don’t have a lot of protein), so I was really intrigued by the chickpeas.  I also liked the inclusion of some extra veggies that I don’t normally think of in a stuffing but worked out really well.

I’m not sure this is the right name for this since it’s pretty hard to describe in a word or two, the main seasoning is garam masala.  Garam masala is a warm spice blend typically used in Northern Indian/South Asian cuisine.  It has a lot of those warm baking spices like cinnamon and cardamom, so it works really well with this slightly sweet, but savory dish.  I’m not normally a fan of celery or raisins, but in this dish they work wonderfully.  Although if you can’t get your mind wrapped around celery you might be able to use frozen peas instead, and if you don’t want to give golden raisins a chance then you can use dried cranberries instead.  But really I think it was absolutely perfect as is.  Definitely make extra because the leftovers are just as delicious.

Spiced Stuffed Acorn SquashSpiced Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves 14

Adapted from Mountain Mama Cooks

  • 7 acorn squashes, cut in half and scoop insides out
  • olive oil, kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 head of celery, about 10 stalks, chopped
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked buckwheat (or barley, couscous, etc)
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 3 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a large baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Drizzle olive oil on the insides of your prepared acorn squash, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, and stab the insides repeatedly with a fork.  Place squash cut side down on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until just fork tender (the fork should be able to pierce the skin pretty easily.  In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp (table) salt.  In the last five minutes of baking, carefully flip the squash over and sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.  Return to oven to finish baking until fork tender and brown sugar has melted, about 5 minutes.Stuffed Squash and Roasted Cabbage

While squash bakes, prepare the filling.  In a large sauté pan or wok, heat a little olive oil over medium heat.  Add celery, scallions, and garlic, cooking until tender.  Stir in kale.  As kale begins to soften, add in the cooked buckwheat and the garam masala, cumin, and salt.  Mix well.  Just before flipping the squash, add in the raisins and chickpeas, mix to warm through.

When the squash is done, carefully transfer to your serving dish and then scoop filling into the center of the squash.  Serve and enjoy!

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Salads get a bad rap.  They’re frequently thought of as diet or rabbit food.  So I’m trying to make more of an effort to make salads exciting.  And add things to add interest, color, texture and taste to what might otherwise be boring greens.  Last Tuesday for SCL I made this grilled vegetable salad.  You could also roast vegetables if you don’t have a grill pan, or want to keep the stove top for something else.  Just by simply adding a little grilled flavor to your veggies, this salad becomes something a little special that makes you just a bit happier to eat your greens (especially in winter when cold salads are less enticing).

You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.  I went with colorful bell peppers and red onions.  While I’m not normally a fan of red onions, grilling them (or roasting them) gives them a lovely sweet flavor that’s just delicious.

Grilled Vegetable SaladGrilled Vegetable Salad

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Love and Lemons

  • 3 romaine hearts, cut in bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 (15oz) cans chickpeas
  • 4 bell peppers, deseeded and cut into quarters
  • 4 red onions, cut into eighths
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

dressing:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 9 Tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine romaine, spinach, and chickpeas.

Preheat a large grill pan over medium-high heat.  Toss the bell peppers and red onion in olive oil and salt.  When pan is ready, place peppers and onion in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd.  Let grill for 1-2 minutes on each side until tender and grill marks are visible.  Remove cooked vegetables to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly before cutting into bite-size pieces.

Top salad with grilled vegetables and toss lightly with a third or half of the dressing, to taste.  Serve immediately.

Channa (Chickpea) Masala

I love Indian food.  But I’ve been rather intimidated to try making it at home.  I finally got over my fear, and tried several recipes for a culinary adventure!  This dish came out really well, and actually came together pretty quickly.  I’d recommend having everything ready to go before you start so you can just dump in the next ingredient when it’s ready.  I definitely recommend overcoming any kitchen fears you have and experimenting with something new, you never know when you’ll discover something delicious.

This was the first time I’ve cooked with green chilies, but it turns out that they’re very mild (at least in the States).  I didn’t even bother removing the seeds and it was just a very subtle heat (less than a jalapeño).  Here’s a picture, in case you’re not sure what they look like.  Now you won’t have to google it when you’re in the store (like I did).

Channa Masala

Serves 4-6

Adapted from The Novice Housewife

  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 inch piece cinnamon
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3 green chilies, thinly sliced (these don’t tend to be very spicy in the States, it’s a very subtle heat)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 (15oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Steep black tea in 1 1/4 cup water for 3 minutes.

In a saucepan, heat oil.  Add cinnamon, bay leaves and cumin seeds, cook for a few seconds until fragrant.

Add in ginger, garlic and green chilies.  Sauté for a few seconds.

Add in the onions and cook until light brown.

Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook for another few minutes until you see oil separating.

Add chickpeas, tea, salt, cumin powder, garam masala and black pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add juice of half a lemon, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Mix in the chopped cilantro.

 

Hummus

I’ve wanted to make my own hummus for a while, and I’m not sure what has taken so long as it’s terribly easy to make.  I look forward to experimenting with some different flavor and bean combinations.  In the meantime here’s the basic recipe I started with.  I was a little concerned when I sampled it while making it as it didn’t taste quite how I expected, but after a night in the fridge it was exactly right.

Hummus

Serves about 6-8

Adapted from Delicious Shots

  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup water (from boiled chickpeas)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add chickpeas to a small saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes.  Scoop the chickpeas out of the water and into the bowl of a food processor.  Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth.  Serve with carrot sticks, pita, pretzels, or whatever strikes your fancy.