Every time I go to write a recipe post I think I start it the same way heh. MY FAV...SO GOOD etc. I'm feeling repetitive....I suppose it's because I'm my mothers daughter, and if the apple doesn't fall far from the tree I can say with confidence that any really good meal can in fact be "the best ever"..."no really, THE BEST!!!!". Maybe that's where my excitement about food came from. I really do LOVE falafel. You'll see recipes with dill yogurt type dressings, but I only EVER want this tahini dressing. I'm obsessed. So, let's break this falafel business down...………...
I don't care about rules
I've been making falafel this way for years and years. Purists will say you HAVE to start with dried soaked, uncooked chickpeas. They are correct, that's the authentic way to make falafel. I will try that one of these days...I think...but I have always used canned chickpeas, and I really love the results. The texture is definitely different than the authentic version, but I like it....maybe better??? Simple & flavourful. No matter what anyone says, you're allowed to break the rules in the kitchen. It's your kitchen, and your food and if it works for you then keep on keeping on. I use a bit of baking powder in the mixture to add a bit of lightness to the fritters. Don't leave it out. (this is a rule, please don't break this one haha)
About Tahini Dressing
The tahini dressing is sooo tasty. I honestly put so much of it on my falafel...like every bite needs to be super saucy. I make this ahead of time preferably. It will thicken up in the fridge. You can adjust the consistency by adding a little more water to thin it out, or a bit more tahini to thicken it up. If I'm using it on my salad I like it a bit thinner, in a wrap a bit thicker. So the recipe is a bit loose in that sense, so don't freak out if you have to adjust the consistency. If you like extra heat you could add a bit of sambal oelek to the dressing. It's my favourite chili paste and I use it in everything.
Not going to lie this pita wrap situation? I just piled on loads of veggies, loads of sauce, and ate it with a knife and fork. Works for me! But just make about 3 falafel patties per pita, handful of chopped tomatoes, cucumber, some fresh lettuce, a bit of onion, and PLENTY of sauce.
You can also make a fun buddha bowl! It's basically a salad. Just load in spinach, greens, maybe some roasted sweet potato, tomato, cucumber, some pickled onions and olives would be nice. How about pita chips too? Then of course falafel and ALL the tahini dressing (pictured below)
Green Lettuce Tacos
ANOTHER variation, is to make lettuce wrap tacos with some frilly green lettuce. I actually LOVE it this way, but sadly didn't snap a picture because it was a late night with wine snack. Just use the lettuce as your taco shell. Chopped tomato, cucumber, falafel & sauce. Done!!
No matter what variation I make, I Iike to sprinkle za'atar on top, fresh cilantro, and then a squeeze of fresh lemon over everything.
Now for the recipes!!!
Recipes: Falafel & Tahini Dressing
You can see how I make them in my latest YouTube Video!!! Love it soooo much.
A potato and lentil salad dressed with a bright Dijon forward vinaigrette is something I like to make now and again. I like to mix up the type of fresh herbs, and also the veg. A go to combination is with fresh dill and baby kale folded in. This time, spring was the inspiration so asparagus, radish, green peas & tarragon.
Important things when making this salad. Let it marinate in the fridge over night. It really needs time. Also, don't over cook the lentils. They shouldn't be completely soft. Maybe not quite al dente? But they should have some texture.
Bottom line, if you keep roughly the same volume of ingredients, feel free to get creative. I use the entire batch of vinaigrette to dress it.
Another fun idea, gently heat it in a pan for a warm salad. You could wilt in some arugula or spinach at the end too. I also kind of want to make this and garnish it with some crisp vegan bacon sometime.
Anyway, keeping this post short and sweet. This is a beautiful and flavourful dish. I ate it alone for lunch, but truly I envision it as a lovely side dish, maybe with BBQ vegan sausage or burgers. YUM
Recipe - Spring Potato & Lentil Salad
Vinaigrette (whisk together following ingredients)
This vegan BBQ pineapple pizza was definitely a labour of love. As I'm sitting writing this post, I'm aware that once I start listing off all the recipes that were involved in the making of this pizza, I might lose some people. A 24 hour pizza dough, a home made BBQ sauce, 2 vegan cheeze recipes and a fairly involved seitan bacon recipe by Avant Garde Vegan. If I were to make this again, I would do it the exact. same. way. I'm a perfectionist, and flavour is the most important thing.
With that being said, I think your favourite BBQ sauce would be just fine here. Maybe even a different vegan bacon. (though this one is literally the best ever) I have found that an overnight dough (as taught to me by my friend Antonio who makes authentic Neapolitan style pizza for a living) gives you such good flavour and texture. I don't even bother with a quick pizza dough anymore. But if you have a go to pizza dough, go for it. Then the vegan cheeze. I would never go buy a vegan mozzarella unless I found some artisan brand that knocked my socks off. Really though my vegan cheeze recipes are the most simple of the components so I highly recommend trying them out, I use them on all of the pizzas I make at home.
Now about this particular pizza. I am not a huge BBQ sauce person, but this whole situation was really good. Smoky and sweet, fresh pineapple, crisp seitan bacon, lots of thinly sliced red onion that in the hot oven shrivelled up into the most delicious oniony bites, thinly sliced mushrooms & green peppers. Then once out of the oven fresh cilantro to garnish. I ate it three nights in a row to find the perfect balance. LOTS of the cheeze was necessary to balance everything out and the cheeze has to be on the bottom layer to stay super creamy as it tends to brown too quickly if it's on the top layer. I baked it on my pizza stone. I let the stone preheat for about 30 min at 450. Then I take it out, put my rolled out dough right onto the stone, and build the toppings on there. It took about 20 - 25 minutes in the oven.
Recipes - BBQ Pineapple Pizza
So, I'm going to break down these recipes for you, take or leave the components that interest you. Maybe you'll find something delicious to add to your repertoire.
My YouTube video is dedicated to the making of the dough, and you can see how much cheeze and other ingredients I layer on. As I mention in the video the dough is the best I can do without being a pizza professional, Antonio already watched it and as I predicted he messaged me and was like yeah but did you do this and this?! Uhm it was delicious, and no regular person without a woodfired oven and temperature control and experience will ever be able to make it to the same standard as a pizzaiolo, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't make it. Because it's the best dough I've ever made. The trick is a long rise and using less yeast. It gives better flavour, texture, and is better for your stomach & digestion.
The recipe is for a really big batch of dough. About 8 pizzas depending on the size you want them. You could halve the recipe of course, but personally I love having individually wrapped balls of dough in the freezer when a craving for pizza strikes.
Check out the video to see how I make the dough and to see how it all comes together!
One of my favourite meals!! Cuban black beans with Chimichurri. This is SIMPLE food at it's best. Sometimes the most enjoyable meals are the humble ones. This dish has been in my repertoire for many years for a reason. Bright & garlicky chimichurri on beans and rice. It may not sound exciting but there's tons of flavour!!
One of my favourite side dishes to this meal is plantains. Sliced into coins and fried in a bit of oil/vegan butter. Just cook them until golden brown on each side, season with salt and pepper, and then serve them with thin fresh strips of red bell pepper and green onion scattered over top. I wanted to make it for this post, but I wasn't able to get any plantains. Next time.
The other way I enjoy this meal is as a "buddha bowl". Slice up some avocado, add some roasted sweet potato and any vegetables you want, then garnish with LOTS of chimichurri. YUM!
A note on soaking beans: You can either soak the beans overnight or use the quick soak method which is what I did. Perfect for when you realize last minute you want to make something with them.
Now to the recipe. Check out my latest you tube video or the written version below!
This was SO GOOD. I have been craving a sandwich to fill the void of an egg salad or tuna salad sandwich, so I decided to make this smashed chickpea salad version, and it turned out beautifully. I will share the recipe as I made it. But I wouldn't hesitate to mix it up. Capers or dill pickles would be nice chopped in, or how about curry powder with raisins and apple? Endless possibilities.
I do love this sandwich exactly as I made it though. I used my home made brown bread, and the sweetness from the bread really worked with all of the other components. The main chickpea mixture tastes bright and fresh with dill, Dijon, apple cider vinegar, minced red onion, celery & vegan mayo and a bit of smoked paprika. I also tucked the tofu cheeze I just made into the sandwich because I had it in the fridge and it's delicious!
I added a few crisp slices of seitan bacon, I found a chunk in my freezer which made me feel like I had won something because I thought I had eaten it all. It is my go to vegan bacon recipe by Gaz Oakley. You could omit it or use a different vegan bacon, but it's worth the effort. It's TASTY on a sandwich. If you do check that recipe out, keep in mind: while it requires effort, you won't have any regrets. It makes a big batch, and you can cut it into chunks and freeze it for later. The trick to cooking it, is thin slices (you'll need a razor sharp knife) and cooking it on low-ish heat in a bit of veg oil so it has time to crisp up a bit without burning. I remember making my mum a toasted tomato sandwich with that bacon and a bit of vegan mayo and she was impressed. It is impressive!! OK I think I've sufficiently made my point about the vegan bacon.
Onto the Sandwich recipe.
This will definitely be a new staple for me. So fresh, healthy & satisfying.
Check out my you tube video recipe here, or the written version below.
Much LOVE xoxox
Smashed Chickpea Salad
Yield: Enough filling for 4 Sandwiches
Yield: 2 loaves
Let me tell you - THIS is a treat. If like me you aren't an expert bread baker, don't worry, you don't need to be in order to make yourself a tasty loaf. I do think this recipe would be a great place to start for beginners though and even if you are an expert bread baker, that's cool too - this bread is amazing. It makes 2 beautiful loaves; slightly sweet from molasses and lots of healthy goodness from oats. The dough is very sticky which can be a bit of a challenge in theory, but instead of trying to knead it on the counter and making a sticky - doughy mess, my mum told me she just uses a wooden spoon to fold and push the dough around for 10 minutes in the bowl. It works like a charm. This recipe works best when baked in dark metal loaf pans. The dough sticks a lot worse in pyrex pans so I don't recommend those here.
I have been eating this brown bread with my broccoli soup and it's a perfect pairing. I'm going to attempt some baked beans to have with the second loaf. (In the decade I've been cooking professionally I've never actually made baked beans … wtf?? wow) Anyway, I got myself some vegan hot dogs - so beans, wieners and brown bread is definitely going to happen.
I will be posting a video of this recipe on my Instagram stories, and I just started my you tube channel. So any recipe I record I will do my best to get it up there too. Still learning so it's a bit slow going... Stay tuned.
and just a little thought …….
I hope everyone who is self isolating / practicing social distancing right now is able to make the most of it, or somehow see a silver lining. I know that's not possible for everyone because there is a lot of things going wrong in the world right now. My silver lining is having time to be creative. I am grateful to be able to keep testing recipes & sharing my food with readers while the Pub is closed. Will I be off work for weeks? Months? I don't know. So many unknowns right now, and that's not always easy to cope with, but one thing doesn't change and that's the fact that we still need to eat! Even with the ups and downs we might as well enjoy some good food if we can. So … onto the recipe.
Yield : 4 litres
Ahhh soup. I make this whenever I want to get a lot of green goodness into my body. It's a broccoli soup with green peas to add a touch of sweetness and some spinach to amp up the green goodness. I add raw cashews and nutritional yeast to give it that cheezy richness I want in a broccoli soup. Honestly I've been eating my way through the batch of brownies I made a few days ago...they are deadly good. I've been heating them up and enjoying with a scoop of vegan ice cream (search chocolate chunk brownies on my blog...seriously good) ughh...this is why I can't keep treats in the house...and because it's social distancing isolation time I have no one to share with! It's ok I'll eat all of the chocolate and then get back on track...starting with this soup!
A Note On Raw Cashews
If raw cashews are new to you, they are used a lot in different vegan recipes. Pureed into hot chocolate, or to make rich tasting coffee based drinks, also the base for a variety of vegan cheese recipes. They key to using them is to soak them first. This allows them to soften and blend in smoothly without any detectible bits. Usually I'll soak them in water for at least a few hours, but for this recipe I just pour boiling water over top while I start the recipe and let it sit. They get added into a hot soup and I'm able to get a silky smooth texture just by blending a lot.
Raw cashews have a mild buttery flavour compared to their roasted counter parts. The idea isn't for the dish to taste like cashews, but to provide richness, a vegan alternative to using dairy products. I usually buy mine from the Bulk Barn and I always store my nuts and seeds in cloth bags in the freezer. Nothing worse than having to toss out expensive nuts because they went rancid sitting in the cupboard!!
How To Eat This Soup
With a vegan grilled cheese on the side!! Or maybe some crusty bread and vegan butter. The garlic panko crumbs I use to garnish my bolognese is a delicious garnish. (I use these everywhere for fun toasty crunch) Just 1 cup of panko crumbs, 3 tbsp olive oil & a clove or two of garlic minced. Stir it all together in a pan over medium heat until golden.
Hope everyone is staying as happy and healthy as possible right now.
1/4 veg oil
1 large onion, diced (330g)
1 head garlic, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced (75 g)
1 large carrot, diced (100g)
couple pinches red pepper flakes
2 small bunches of broccoli (900g), stalks peeled, and everything cut into big chunks
3 cups frozen peas
a couple big handfuls of baby spinach
10 cups veg stock (preferably home made)
1.5 cups nutritional yeast
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp curry powder
1 cup of raw cashews, soaked
1 tbsp lemon juice
Hey! I'm Trisha