Gluten-free Falafel with Vegan Tahini Yogurt Dressing

Before I get to my post and recipe, I wanted to briefly plug an event happening tomorrow outside of Greensboro. Peacehaven Community Farm is having their Annual Harvest Festival, and it would great to see any local readers out supporting this great nonprofit. Peacehaven “is a sustainable farm located on 89 beautiful acres of organic gardens, rolling pastures, and lush woodlands that connects people with disabilities to their community”. The event is from 4-7pm tomorrow, October 21st. Visit their website or Facebook page to learn more about this event, and the work they do!

I will return to our trip in posts to come, but I wanted to break away to share a super simple recipe I made last week that I am super excited about. For a few reasons.

  1. I fried something (Laugh it up or shake your head, but this happens about once a year. Which is good… all things in moderation)
  2. I did not shop specifically for this recipe; the ingredients are simply things that are consistently in my cupboards and refrigerator.
  3. I LOVE falafel. Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe in Winston-Salem makes my favorite falafel, but most local restaurants use gluten-filled flour in their recipes. I always get the sampler platter at Mooney’s with falafel, fried cauliflower, baba ghanouj, and fettoosh. It is one of my favorite date nights, on the sidewalk with lights in the trees.

This recipe was born out of almost having popcorn for dinner, only to glance at the chickpea flour and know. Know that I was destined for something better than popcorn. Even popcorn with coconut oil. This is what happens about four days out from me going to the market. I never plan out meals further than three days in advance.

Based on this recipe off of the back of the bag of flour, this falafel is simple and quick, with some herbs and such added in that I had on hand. The first time I made this I did not have any canned chickpeas, They were missed, and added into the second version of this recipe, but they weren’t missed so much as to stop me from eating half the batch I made in a matter of minutes.  If you don’t have the beans on hand, make it with all flour. I love simple solutions.

Gluten-free Falafel with Vegan Tahini Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients:

1/2 cup garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, processed thoroughly with a blender or food processor
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small shallow, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cumin, ground (fresh ground with a mortar and pestle if possible)
1/4 tsp coriander, ground
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup hot water
2-4 tbsp 0live oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together until thoroughly combined
  2. Add the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, hot water, onion, shallot, and cilantro to the dry ingredients and stir until combined
  3. Allow mixture to rest for at least ten minutes (this could be a good time to assemble the dressing)
  4. Heat oil in a large saute pan or skillet on medium high heat
  5. Divide batter into twelve even balls and fry on each side until golden brown
  6. Blot off on paper towels and serve hot with vegan tahini yogurt dressing for dipping (see recipe below)


Vegan Tahini Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients:

3 tbsp unsweetened non dairy yogurt (I used soy)
2 tbsp tahini
1 fresh lemon, squeezed
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine the first three ingredients. Season to taste and serve.
Like I said, simple but delicious. Enjoy!

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Framer’s Market Tacos with Cashew Cheese Sauce

The west coast gets me. Gluten free beer ON TAP. Separate gluten free menus. Explicit knowledge of what is actually in the food I am eating. I have never found wait staff so willing to help find food that I can eat.

It’s nice to feel like someone cares. Like you’re not in this alone. It’s funny how simple gestures can be the most profound.

Our first day in san francisco was exhausting. We walked for miles. I got grumpy (unavoidable when I have inadequate sleep and/or food. In this case both). I was in search of Cafe Gratitude. What we found was Gracias Madre, a sister restaurant, and I didn’t hide the fact that I was pissed. Until we got inside.

We caught the last moments of happy hour, and I was brought a $3 glass of organic sangria, with fruit from a local farm. The farm where they grow ALL of their produce. All organic, all vegan, all sustainable, mostly gluten free goodness. When that sangria hit the table I felt my shoulders relax and my temper settle. I was suddenly home. Because I love mexican food, but generally end up ordering off the a la carte menu, still wondering if I am doing some harm to my body. Not here. Here I was safe in a delicious blanket of nourishment.

This is a long story to say that we returned to Gracias Madre on our last day in San Francisco. It was that good. And I came home on a mission to recreate their seasonal vegetable tacos.

My first attempt, in all humility, was pretty damn good. Jump below the photo for the recipe.

(at Gracias Madre for the second time)

 

Farmer’s Market Tacos with Cashew Cheese Sauce (dinner for two)

Because I don’t currently have a productive garden I call these Farmer’s Market tacos, as this was the source for my vegetables. Note that this is not a quick meal to prepare, especially if you make the tortillas yourself, which I highly recommend. Each element takes time and attention, but it is well worth it.

The beauty of these tacos, like the rest of the menu at Gracias Madre, is that the vegetables can change with the seasons. Use summer or winter squash, broccoli, different peppers, or even try roasting fruit (peaches, yum!) depending on what season you are in. Keep it simple, and nourishing, and local. Love the food you eat.

Ingredients:

6-8 handmade corn tortillas (in lieu of a tortilla press I used two flexible cutting boards and my dutch oven)
6 medium collard leaves sliced into 3-4″ strips
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1 small serrano pepper, halved
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2″ rounds
olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 cup cashew cheese sauce (see recipe below)
1 small handful raw pepita (pumpkin) seeds
salsa verde for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500F
  2. If you haven’t ahead of time, prepare your cashew cheese sauce
  3. Place eggplant on an oiled pan, brush with a coat of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste
  4. Roast eggplant in oven, approximately 5-7 minutes per side
  5. Once eggplant is in, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat
  6. Saute the onion with a bit of salt and pepper in the heated oil
  7. Add the serrano pepper and greens, bring heat down to low and cover, stirring frequently until greens are wilted and tender, approximately 7-10 minutes. Don’t forget about the eggplant!
  8. Remove the greens from heat, and discard the serrano pepper. Keep covered until ready to plate
  9. When the eggplant is finished, remove from oven and dice into 1/2″ cubes
  10. In a smaller oiled pan individually heat the corn tortillas

Assembly:

To assemble the tacos, place the heated tortillas flat on large serving plates. Place a small amount of one of the fillings on each tortilla, and drizzle on desired amount of cashew cheese sauce. Sprinkle pepita seeds over the tacos with sauteed greens. Serve with a side of organic refried black beans. Rice could also be served, but we find the tacos and beans to be more than filling. Keep salsa verde and extra cashew cheese sauce on the table with the meal.

 

 

Cashew Cheese Sauce (thanks to Cafe Gratitude for the base recipe)

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked
1/3 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)

Directions:

Place ingredients in a high speed blender and blend for 1 minute. Taste for flavor and texture, and adjust accordingly. I had to blend mine several times before I got away from the grainy texture of the cashews, but I also don’t have the best blender.

 

I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spinach Artichoke Bean Dip

What a game! I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about football, but my attention was held. Our favorite commercials included Honda’s Matthew Broderick’s Day Off and the Chevy Truck Apocalypse. Kat and I splurged, and I made white sangria (with stevia), but that is a recipe for another day (maybe tomorrow, you never know).

I made the spinach artichoke dip, and I sit here conflicted. It was a delicious, healthy, and creamy dip. But it was quite different from the spinach artichoke dip from my childhood, and I would be remiss if I did not confess this. I loved it, I ate it again for lunch today, but I believe the recipe should be titled spinach artichoke bean dip.

My only deviations from this recipe were to take out the bread crumbs, and to replace the nutritional yeast with about 4 tbsp. of vegan cream cheese. I also steamed the diced onion in the microwave for a couple of minutes so it did not absorb as much oil and cooked down much faster.

With a whole can of beans and lots of vegetables, this dip really is nutritious and filling. Along with some fresh guacamole, it was my dinner last night. And yes, Aunt Gail, last night I put garlic in my guacamole! Sometimes a girl’s just not in a garlicky mood though, you know?

Happy Monday Everyone.

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