My Favourite Vegan Chickpea Bowl with mushrooms, smoked tofu, cherry tomatoes & spinach.
When I worked at the Pearl Eatery in North Rustico, PEI (back in the day) I remember a dish I had on the menu, it started with lemon dressed cannellini beans with garlic and wilted greens mixed in. Ok so they were a base for lamb meatballs and had aged cheddar broth poured over top but people did love it. Anyway that dish is basically how this meal evolved in my own home. It was as simple as a can of white beans, minced garlic and wilted greens dressed with lemon vinaigrette. It has been one of my go to easy & healthy meals for years. Needless to say over time I've thrown in enough random ingredients to figure out what my fav add ins are. That's where the mushrooms, tomatoes and smoked tofu come in. You could really take this in any direction with whatever you have on hand. I've swapped the white beans for chickpeas but next time I might change my mind. Just make it garlicky and bright with the lemon vinaigrette. A good hit of nutritional yeast at the end takes the dish to NEXT LEVEL vegan. (IMHO) Get yourself some crusty baguette or make the socca (gluten free) recipe on this site, and you can start dipping, scooping or piling. So healthy, so delicious. I love it sfm
In restaurant kitchens the goal is always to prepare a dish as much ahead of time as possible without compromising quality. If everything was done last minute people would be waiting hours for their food! For this meal if I was planning to have leftovers vs eating it in one sitting, I would prepare it up until the point of adding the spinach, which is the last step. At this stage I would cool my mixture and keep it in the fridge. Then when I wanted a portion I would simply heat some in a small pan with a splash or so of water, adding my spinach "to order". A note about canned chickpeas: I always used to strain and rinse my chickpeas until the chef I'm working with now at Island Stone Pub (Kensington, PEI) dumped the whole thing into a pot one day to which I replied wtf r u doing? (yes we are allowed to swear, it's a kitchen) and she said: flavour! OK cool. So I tried it at home and realized certainly with this dish I dig it. The liquid from the can helps to create a bit of body/thickness while the liquid reduces a bit.
1. Heat a couple tbsp of vegetable oil in a large sautee pan over medium high heat. Get your onions and mushrooms into the pan, season with a couple pinches of salt and black pepper. Make sure the pan is hot enough so you can get a bit of colour happening. We don't want sad mushrooms.
2. Once they are softened up add the garlic to the pan, toss things around a couple times. If you aren't sure when they are softened up, just taste an onion. Is it soft? cool.
3. Now I throw in my chickpeas (add the liquid from the can too!!) and smoked tofu. I add the lemon vinaigrette and if it seems like it needs a splash of water to allow everything to heat through while reducing down into a sauce, then add a bit of water Season with some more S+P. Give this step a couple minutes to get going then...
4. Add your halved cherry tomatoes and Nooch (nutritional yeast). Now I like the cherry tomatoes to stay a bit plump, which is why I add them at the end. When they cook too long the skin starts separating from the tomato halves. Now, I taste the liquid/food in the pan as it is reducing and adjust seasonings. I like to mix about a tbsp of cornstarch with water to make a slurry and then stir it into the pan to thicken the broth, making this kind of stew like.
Now you can stop here if you are making this recipe ahead. Or add a bit of spinach if you just want one portion and scoop that bit out for your dinner, or add all the spinach if feeding a bunch of people and it's going to be eaten all at once.
4. Add the spinach and don't over cook it. Once it's mostly wilted, it's good.
5. Taste for seasoning. You might want to add a bit more lemon vinny, or serve with a couple lemon wedges on the side. I top it with more Nooch at the table and garlic panko crumbs.
I really hope if anyone makes this they love it as much as I do. It truly reminds me that food can be simultaneously vegan, simple and super delicious.
I keep a jar of this in the fridge for this recipe and for adding to any dish when I want to dress it with a bit of olive oil and added acidity. You can certainly just use straight up olive oil and lemon juice to the dish without making this vinny but..... I like this because I know that the ratio of olive oil to lemon juice is balanced the way I like it without having to adjust too much along the way.
1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp water
pinch of s&p
1. Use a hand blender to emulsify, or whisk really well. Pour it into a mason jar. Refrigerate if you have any leftover (might not I've dumped the whole amount in before)
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Hey! I'm Trisha