Friday, 19 July 2013

Chickpea Mayo Salad- a great vegan sandwich filling

Add captionThis is awesome with salad in a wholemeal wrap or chapatti!
I have been seeing chickpea mayo salad recipes all over the net lately, so when Isachandra of Post Punk Kitchen posted hers last week, I was finally tempted to make my own version. What better way to fuel my last working week of the school term than having this delicious treat in my lunchbox? Luckily we have a big bag of organic yellow chickpeas and I had found a vinegar-free* eggless mayo in Holland and Barrett last Saturday (* Vinegar is not offerable to Krishna). I was good to go!

1 1/2 cups (1 cup = 250ml) cooked chickpeas
About 100ml vegan mayo (if you want to make your own, see here, otherwise you can buy it in most stores nowadays)
Half a red pepper, chopped very small (I have seen carrots and celery used here too)
2 level tabs yeast flakes (aka nutritional yeast)- this is in place of onion powder or a little kelp powder
1 tsp hing
seasalt and black pepper to taste
These amounts will make you at least 4 portions, depending on what you use it for.

  • Mash the chickpeas coarsely with a fork or potato masher- you want a little texture here.
  • Stir in all the other ingredients.
  • Keep refrigerated. This is also really good with jacket potatoes.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Beet Burgers with Veg Pulp- vegan

The other day I made a juice from beetroot, apple, celery and ginger. The next day I made carrot juice. Now we have an old centrifugal juicer, which, frankly, isn't really up to the challenge of  many veggies (it doesn't like citrus either, but that's another story). Anyway, whenever I make juice there's always a lot of pulp left over in the machine and I'm pretty sure there's some un-juiced goodness in there as well as all that fibre so I tend to keep it. This is one of my favourite ways to use juicing pulp: veggieburgers.
I added cooked organic red kidney beans, porridge oats, miso, passata, seasalt, black pepper, powdered cumin seed (jeera) and mixed herbs and used a crumpet ring to shape the burgers. I cooked them on an oiled baking tray at 200C, turning halfway through cooking. The texture was just perfect, and they were delicious with salad and relish. They freeze well too. (The dark colour, by the way, is not due to overcooking but because they contain so much beetroot pulp.)
PS: For more veggie burger recipes look here, here, here and  here. For another idea for using juicing pulp, look here.

Monday, 15 July 2013

How-to 14: Make Ratatouille

This time we added some cooked organic yellow chickpeas and served it with gluten free pasta for lunch.

This month's how-to comes to you courtesy of my other half, also the other half of The Yogi Vegetarian. Ratatouille is one of his specialities, and he showed me how to get great results using a method that is a mixture of traditional and quick ways to make it. Ratatouille can form the basis of so many delicious main courses like veggie or vegan lasagne,  or be eaten as a side dish or alone with some crusty bread; or you can add some chickpeas for protein to make a complete meal of it. It is widely available canned, but not only can this ratatouille be insipid, soggy and watery, also for those who avoid onions and garlic it is usually out of bounds. As Summer is well and truly here and homegrown tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and aubergines will soon be available, we thought it timely to write a post about how you can capture all the fresh, sunny Summer flavours of the Mediterranean... 
This recipe makes enough for 6-8 servings, and will go even further if you add cooked chickpeas!
450g aubergine (eggplant)
250g courgettes (zucchini)
300g bell peppers (about 2)
800g-1kg fresh tomatoes (at least 6 large ones)
3000ml pasata (optional)
1 rounded tab dried (or the equivalent fresh) basil/ mixed herbs
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tsp sweetener of your choice (gour/ raw sugar/ agave nectar etc.)
2 bay leaves (optional)
1 1/2 tsps seasalt
1/2 tsp hing
3 tabs olive oil for saute-ing
  • Whizz the tomatoes up in your food processor; skin, seeds and all (these should disappear if you blend for long enough). Put in a saucepan with the seasalt, sweetening agent, black pepper, herbs, hing, bay leaves and basil.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer to reduce. You can make the tomato sauce richer at this point if you like by throwing in 250ml (usually half a packet) of pasata. By cooking the tomato sauce separately you stop the water from other veg making the ratatouille soggy. 
  • Meanwhile, slice the aubergines, courgettes and bell peppers and saute them in the olive oil until soft but not browned. To get them all to cook at the same time you may need to make the aubergine chunks smaller. The important thing here is to cook the courgettes in one pan and the aubergine and peppers in another. Use 1 tab oil for the courgettes and 2 tabs oil for the rest. The point of this is to seal in the flavour of each kind of vegetable and to drive of excess water before adding them to the tomato sauce.
  • Now add the sauted vegetables to the tomato sauce, mixing well. Adjust seasoning if necessary. (Add cooked chickpeas now if you want.)
1: Get your beautiful fresh veggies ready...

2: Whizz up the tomatoes and add seasonings. Reduce to make a rich sauce.

3: Cook the aubergines and peppers in one pan...

4: ... and the courgettes in another.

5: Add the cooked veg to the sauce.

6: The end result, plus chickpeas.