Feisty Chickpea Burgers

Now that I finally have time to sit down and put fingers to keyboard to get this blog updated for you folks, I thought I’d post a recipe that really emphasizes simplicity. I’m focusing on really simple and quick ingredients here since most of my things are packed in bins right now ready to be moved back to Ottawa. With that said, be prepared for a bit of a rant…

Some of the main ingredients that I left unpacked are of course my trusty collection of dried legumes and beans that make up the majority of our meals. Cost-effective, versatile and convenient; these excellent sources of protein and fiber are the perfect foundation of any  meat-free meal and help squash the ignorant myth that vegetarianism is expensive. A bag of Great Value brand dried chickpeas costs $2.57. A can costs 77 cents but you don’t get nearly as much and can only use it for one meal. That’s dirt cheap. Omnivores pay a lot more for meat as the prices continue to soar. So, unlike a pot of dried beans, this myth that a vegetarian diet is “expensive” just doesn’t hold water.

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The only way a vegetarian diet will be pricey is if you shell out all kinds of money on those processed soy meat alternatives. Try to eat those sparingly. I have a very low opinion of soy, which is another discussion for another time. So if you choose to eat soy, choose products like tofu, tempeh and edamame and avoid products with isolated soy protein or soy flour.  And buy organic. Choose dried beans and legumes and buy  other products such as quinoa and nutritional yeast in bulk to save money. And if you feel like the cost of fresh produce is too much, I suggest signing up for a local CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) share to get a weekly or bi-weekly supply of locally-grown vegetables. It’s an excellent investment, trust me.

Here is a local farm in the Ottawa  area that was recommended by the farmers we got our CSA from last year. They are looking for a few CSA members for the summer: http://www.happyradishfarm.ca/csa-organic-vegetable-baskets.html. Check them out if you’re interested!

Now that I’ve gone on a bit of a rant and lecture, I can proceed to the main event..chickpea burgers! It’s that time of year again; the season for burgers, salads and grilled veggies. This is the burger recipe I have tested for perfection and it just has a handful of ingredients.

You’ll need to prepare for these burgers a day ahead by soaking the chickpeas in a covered bowl of water overnight. Drain and rinse the chickpeas the next morning and add them to a pot of water. Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat and let them simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until tender. The instructions on the bag says you have to cook them for an hour but I’ve never needed to cook them for that long. Drain and rinse them.

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It’s just the beginning

At this point, you’re going to throw all the main ingredients in the blender or food processor. Add the chickpeas, after they’ve cooled down, hot sauce, 1 egg, breadcrumbs, olive oil, Dijon mustard, a handful of blue cheese ( I used goat cheese this time because I didn’t have any blue cheese), cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Mix and mash it roughly together with a fork. Pulse once, stir the ingredients together again, adding more breadcrumbs or oil to combine as needed. Pulse again.

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Lovely visual

Scrape mixture into a bowl, and using a potato masher or fork, mash the remaining chickpeas into the mixture that didn’t get blended.

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Take out all your frustrations on these chickpeas; go on, it’s fun!

Form the mixture into patties and fry up!

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Fry on each side twice until slightly browned. The patties should hold together and not fall apart in this recipe. If they’re too sticky and soggy, add more breadcrumbs. If they seem to be too dry, add another egg or more oil.

Voila! For serving, I added a drizzle of hot sauce and crumbled goat cheese on top. I didn’t have any burger buns so I just went the low-carb route and ate them as is with a side of my homemade coleslaw. It’s such a comforting summer night meal. Enjoy, folks!

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup- 1 1/2 cups Dried Chickpeas, soaked and cooked,  or 1 Can
  • (Approximate) 1 cup dried breadcrumbs, I used 2 toasted slices of bread
  • 2-2 1/2 tbsp hot sauce, more for serving
  • 1 tbsp crumbled Blue cheese, more for serving
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Buffalo Chickpea Pizza

Today,  it’s all about the Za!  As the weather starts to get colder and we begin to move swiftly towards the holiday season, I’m been craving all kinds of vegetarianized comfort food to warm myself up:  Several versions of chili which never get old, or cheesy casseroles leaned out by quinoa and roasted vegetables; and pizza, of course, which is the king of comfort food.

I thought  I’d bring back the flavours of my short-lived meat eating days to reinvent the only meat I ever really liked: Buffalo chicken wings, and by that I actually mean the buffalo wing sauce. I don’t think I need to summarize that awful section on chicken slaughter and the stomach-churning details of all the wonderful health hazards involved in getting it prepared for the supermarket in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals. You can still never convince me that it doesn’t taste like a wet rag, that’s just my opinion. I don’t judge anyone for their dietary choices; I am not a PETA-Nazi. The beauty of vegetarianism is that there are a plethora of alternatives out there to enjoy the nostalgic flavours of buffalo-style pizza, dips or “wings.”

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I’d like to re-introduce the chickpea, otherwise known as the garbanzo bean, the versatile legume which originated in the Middle East. It’s high in protein, fiber and  possesses an chameleonic ability to adapt to any delicious flavour you wish.  I typically use the faux-meat products Gardein or cauliflower to make my buffalo chicken dip or breaded and fried cauliflower “wings,” but chickpeas offer a healthier, non-processed alternative to allow you to indulge sensibly.

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Pizza party team: Mozzarella, hot sauce, Green bell pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, Danish blue and cilantro.

Let’s get started! Get your crust ready. Although I admit I didn’t make mine;  I bought a 2 pack of whole wheat crusts from the store in order to avoid to disappointment. Pastry still isn’t my strength. I will be tackling Tarte au sucre (French Canadian sugar pie) this Christmas so stay tuned for that.

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The empty canvas.

 

For the buffalo wing sauce, mix half a bottle of hot sauce, 1/4 cup pizza sauce, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Spread a layer of the sauce on the crust, smoothing it out evenly towards the edges. Add the chickpeas to the sauce to allow them to marinate. Quick tip: Soak the chick peas overnight, then cook a few hours before making the pizza. Soaking them overnight reduces their cooking time to 30 minutes. If you’re using canned, you can skip this whole tip. Although I highly recommend using dried chickpeas; they’re cheaper and better for you.

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Saute the bell pepper, onion, and garlic until softened. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

To prepare the ranch dressing, stir a cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir and let it sit for 10 minutes to allow it to curdle. I never buy buttermilk and when I happen to have it on hand for a recipe, a majority of it goes to waste. This is the perfect alternative. Once the milk is ready, add 3/4 cup sour cream, a tablespoon of mayonnaise, dill, garlic powder, salt, pepper and a splash of apple cider vinegar. If you like thicker ranch, add more sour cream. Whisk until smooth and set aside.  Once you start making ranch dressing from scratch, there’s no going back. What Hidden Valley?

Spread a layer of the dressing on the pizza evenly, and set aside the rest to use as an optional garnish with chopped celery.

Spread the chickpeas on the pizza, adding the crumbled blue cheese and shredded mozzarella.

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Add the peppers and onions on top.  Place the pizza in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Once it’s out of the oven, add the chopped cilantro. Brace yourselves for the adventure you’re about to take, this is one intense and fiery pizza. Keep a pitcher of water at the table, you’re definitely going to need it. Enjoy at your own risk.

Ingredients

     Pizza

  • 1 Whole wheat pizza crust
  • 1 cup dried Chickpeas, soaked, drained and cooked
  • 1/2 bottle Hot sauce
  • 1/2 can Pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup Crumbled Danish blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Homemade Ranch dressing, recipe below
  • 1 Bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chopping cilantro
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped into sticks for garnish-Optional
  • Sliced cucumbers or carrots-Optional

Ranch dressing

  • 1 Cup unsweetened plain Almond milk
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup Sour cream
  • 1 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1/8 tsp Organic Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper

That’s it for today. I’ve been brainstorming for ideas as to what to write in my other blog-Life’s characters, where I make critical and analytical observations of society and reflect on things that get me thinking. If you have any ideas, let me know!

Cheers,

L.D.

 

Lazy woman’s Roasted Chickpeas with Broccoli and Cauliflower

This past Friday I was having one of those tiring weeks where, when  I finally made it Friday, I just wanted to plant myself on the couch and not move an inch unless a fire broke out. So when dinner time rolled around, I decided to chop up some veg, season some chickpeas and throw them in the oven. I was back to the couch in no time!

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For the chickpeas I used canned because, of course, this was the lazy woman’s edition of roasted chickpeas but I usually soak the dried ones overnight and cook them myself. I rarely have digestive issues but dried beans make a world of difference. After 13 years of vegetarianism, I’m used to the cheap and easy protein that beans  provide and have become immune to the gassiness that it causes in other people. If you’re really concerned about that, try out the old trick with the strip of seaweed that they do in Japan. I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve read that it does help make the magical fruits more digestible.

Now, enough of the bean talk. For the seasonings, I grabbed the half a jar of sundried tomato pesto that I had in the fridge and coated the chickpeas in it. Anything with pesto makes the flavour of the food pop, and combining that with roasted vegetables, I was sure to get maximum flavour. My love for pesto has no bounds, whenever possible, I try to put it in as many dishes as possible.

Set aside the chickpeas in a bowl. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet (one less thing to wash later, yay!) toss the broccoli and cauliflower in olive oil, minced garlic, sea salt, pepper, oregano and italian seasoning. Make friends with these wonderful cruciferous vegetables,which also include cabbage, bok choy, kale and brussels sprouts. Why? They contain large amounts of antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins. Studies show that they can lower the risk of cancer so eat your damn veggies!

Pop the beauties into the oven, plop yourself on the couch and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until it’s golden brown and crispy.

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You can serve with quinoa or rice, but it’s perfectly filling on it’s own. I personally couldn’t be bothered with it.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar Sundried tomato or Basil Pesto
  • 1 can Chickpeas
  • 1 head Broccoli
  • 1 head Cauliflower
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • Paprika, a pinch
  • Italian seasoning, to taste

This dish happens to be vegan, Gluten-free, peanut-free, low-carb, low-calorie, sugar-free, air-free, grass-free, etc, so no one is left out. Even the gluten-free fad dieters who I don’t usually cater to. So, enjoy!

Cheers,

L.K.D.