Falafel Bites

A quick and easy recipe for Middle Eastern falafel made with chickpea flour and my own special blend of seasonings. They’re lightly crisp on the outside but delicate on the inside without the deep-frying.
Ingredients
· 1 cup chickpea flour
· 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes; or 2 tablespoons fresh, minced
· 2 teaspoon onion powder
· 1½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
· 1 teaspoon garlic powder
· 1 teaspoon ground cumin
· 1 teaspoon ground coriander
· ½ teaspoon ground rosemary; or 2 teaspoons fresh minced
· 2 cups water
· 1 T olive oil
For Browning the Bites
· 2 tablespoons mild olive oil or other cooking oil
Items Needed
· 8-inch x 8-inch glass or non-stick baking dish
Preparation
Combine the chickpea flour and seasonings in a bowl. Add the dry mixture to the water and olive oil in a medium non-stick saucepan and whisk together until smooth. Place over medium heat.
Cook the mixture while stirring with a sturdy silicone spatula. The batter will begin to get lumpy as it cooks. Continue to cook while stirring vigorously until smooth and it begins to pull away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. It will be very thick.
Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly by pressing into the dish. It will be sticky. Pat down to smooth the surface as best as you can (this will become easier as it begins to cool).
Let cool for 15 minutes and then cover with wrap and refrigerate for an hour or until completely chilled and firm set.
Transfer to a work surface and cut into cubes. Add 2 tablespoons mild olive oil or other cooking oil to a non-stick skillet and place over medium-high heat. Brown the falafel bites in the hot skillet. Serve warm in a whole grain wrap with sliced red onion, cucumber and non-dairy Tzatziki sauce.
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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Zhoug, Tahini Sauce, Sumac Onions and Herbs

A whole cauliflower is marinated in Middle Eastern seasonings, roasted to golden brown perfection, dressed with a variety of tangy and spicy sauces and then garnished with an abundance of fresh herbs. The herb garnish not only lends beauty to the finished dish but is intended to be eaten with the cauliflower. Simply superb!

Ingredients
· 1 large whole cauliflower
· ½ cup grapeseed oil or other neutral cooking oil
· 1 teaspoon ground coriander
· 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
· 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (onion seeds)
· ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

Toppings (recipes follow)
· Sumac Onions
· Zhoug
· Tahini Sauce

Herb Garnishes
· Parsley
· Cilantro
· Mint

Preparation
Remove the stem and excess core from the whole cauliflower, but be very careful not to remove too much, as it will separate the florets.
Whisk together the marinade ingredients and add to a sealable bag with the whole cauliflower. Seal the bag and shake to distribute the marinade. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour (best overnight).
Preheat the oven to 400˚F/200˚C. Place the cauliflower in a baking dish and roast in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until nicely browned and fork tender. Brush with the marinade mixture occasionally during baking time. Transfer to a serving plate and dress with the zhoug and tahini sauce. Garnish with the sumac onions and a generous amount of fresh parsley, cilantro and mint.
Sumac Onions
Pickled red onions seasoned with tart and citrusy ground sumac make a lovely condiment for Middle Eastern cuisine. They make a superb condiment for vegan burgers and hot dogs too.
Ingredients
· ½ large red onion, thinly sliced
· 2 tablespoons white vinegar
· ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
· 1½ teaspoon ground sumac
Preparation
Bring the vinegar and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the sliced onions. Toss thoroughly and let cool. Sprinkle in the sumac and toss thoroughly again. Refrigerate in a sealed container until thoroughly chilled to blend the flavors.
Zhoug
Zhoug (pronounced zoog), is a spicy, green herb and chili condiment that originally hails from Yemen, but has become popular in Israeli and other Middle Eastern cuisine. The flavor and warmth of the spice cardamom is what makes this sauce unique. Spoon it over falafel, vegan shawarma, shish kebab, or grilled eggplant wraps. Use it as a condiment for roasted vegetables and grilled tofu. Swirl it into hummus or non-dairy yogurt.
Ingredients
· 1 bunch parsley, large stems removed
· 1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed (or additional parsley)
· ¼ cup olive oil
· 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
· 3 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed (or leave in some seeds for extra spicy)
· 3 large cloves garlic
· 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
· 1 teaspoon ground cumin
· ¾ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
· ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preparation
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until nearly smooth. Add a tablespoon of water if needed to lighten consistency. Season with additional salt if needed to taste. Refrigerate in a sealed container for a minimum of 1 hour to blend flavors. Use within 1 week.
Tahini Sauce
Tahini sauce is a deliciously rich, smooth and tangy condiment sauce made from tahini (ground sesame seeds), lemon juice, garlic and seasonings. It’s widely popular in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Ingredients
· 2 cloves garlic
· ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
· ½ cup tahini
· ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
· ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
· 1/3 cup water, additional as needed
Preparation
Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. The sauce should have a salad dressing consistency. Whisk in small amounts of water as needed to adjust consistency. Season with additional salt as needed to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use within 10 days.
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Zuppa Toscano – Vegan Italian “Sausage” Potato Kale Soup

A classic Italian soup prepared with vegan ingredients. The traditional crumbled hot Italian sausage was replaced with textured vegetable protein and classic Italian sausage seasonings, which makes preparation very simple and convenient. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Bacun Grease (Seitan and Beyond or Cook and Let Live) or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon ground fennel
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 5 cups vegan chikun broth
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ¾ cup dry TVP granules or broken Butler Soy Curls™
  • 1 small bunch curly kale, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 1 cup soy cream or cashew cream (Non-Dairy Evolution or Cook and Let Live), or equivalent
  • Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • Coarse ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup grated Hard Parmesano (Cook and Let Live) or commercial vegan parmesan, for serving

Preparation

In a soup pot over medium heat, sauté the onion in the bacun grease or oil until translucent. Add the garlic and herbs and spices and sauté an additional minute.

Add the broth, potatoes and TVP. Bring to a simmer and cook partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in the kale and cook until leaves are tender and bright green, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer 5 minutes more.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with the Parmesan.

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Bagels

Originating in the Jewish communities of Poland, bagels are a yeasted wheat bread traditionally shaped by hand into the form of a ring, boiled for a short time in alkalinized water and then baked until golden. They can be made plain or seasoned. 

Dough Ingredients

  • 240 grams/ml (1 cup) lukewarm water
  • 1 packet rapid rise instant yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons organic sugar
  • 400 grams bread flour*
  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt

*To enrich with whole wheat, use 300 grams bread flour and 100 grams whole wheat flour.

Simmering Bath

  • 3 quarts water
  • ¼ cup barley malt syrup, real maple syrup, brown rice syrup or agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Optional Toppings of Choice

  • sesame seeds
  • poppy seeds
  • everything bagels: combination of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried minced onion, granulated garlic, and coarse sea salt or kosher salt

Preparation

If using, scatter the bagel toppings on a plate; set aside.

Whisk together the warm water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the flour, vegetable oil and salt and process on low speed until elastic, about 6 minutes. The dough may wrap around the hook while processing; simply stop the motor, push the dough off the hook with a narrow spatula and continue processing. Mixing and kneading can also be done by hand. Shape the sticky dough into a ball and place into a roomy, lightly oiled container, loosely cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 6 roughly equal pieces (for uniformity in size, weigh the dough and then divide by 6). Roll each piece into a ball. To form the bagels, slightly flatten the balls of dough with the palm of your hand. Pick up a portion and poke a hole into the center with a fingertip, then using your forefingers and middle fingers, gently stretch from the interior into a 3-inch interior diameter while rotating the ring of dough in your hand. Set aside on a lightly floured work surface. Repeat with the remaining portions. Shaping takes practice, so be patient with yourself.

Let the bagels rise again for 30 minutes while preparing the water bath.

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in large cooking pot and add the chosen sweetener and the baking soda. Preheat the oven to 450˚F/230˚C.

Reduce the boil to a vigorous simmer, add 3 bagels and simmer for 1 minute. Flip the bagels over with a slotted spoon and simmer another minute. Remove with the slotted spoon to a baker’s rack to drain briefly. Repeat the simmering with the remaining 3 bagels. When cool enough to handle, lightly press the top and sides of the bagels into the topping of choice and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Avoid rough handling to prevent deflation.

Bake on the middle oven rack for 17 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to the wire rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature in a sealed bag or container. To serve, slice horizontally through the center. Toast until lightly browned. Top with a “schmear” of vegan butter or cream cheese as desired.

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Course Breads
Cuisine Jewish
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Vegan Tamales

In the photo, the tamales were filled with Tex-Mex seasoned shredded beaf brisket from my Crafting Seitan cookbook (available through Amazon). Vegan carnitas (from the same cookbook) would be delicious too. Other filling suggestions might be refried beans, or chopped and cooked mixed vegetables, with shredded vegan cheese; Tex-Mex seasoned textured vegetable protein or soy curls. Yields about 20 tamales.

Ingredients for the Masa Dough

  • 4 cups masa harina (do not use regular cornmeal)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 3 cups broth (vegan beef, vegan chicken, or vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil

Other Ingredients

  • package dried corn husks
  • Fillings of your choice (about 4 cups of filling for one batch of masa dough)

Preparation

Immerse the corn husks in a large container of very hot water and let stand for a few hours to soften (you will need about ½ the package).

Prepare desired fillings and set aside.

To make the masa dough, add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Add the broth and oils and mix well to create a smooth thickened batter.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out.

Assemble the tamales: Lay a corn husk, glossy side up, on the counter with the wide end at the top. Scoop about ¼ cup of masa on to the top center of the corn husk. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and spread the masa using your fingers into a thin layer, about ¼-inch thick (be sure to only spread the dough along the top half of the corn husk to allow plenty of room to fold the bottom husk up when finished filling). Working with the sticky masa takes a little practice, so be patient.

Place about 2 generous tablespoons of desired filling in a line down the center of the dough. Avoid using too much.

Fold in one long side of the husk over the filling. Fold in the other long side, overlapping the first (like folding a brochure). Fold the bottom of the husk up.

Add water to the bottom of your conventional steamer or instant pot (electric pressure cooker). Use 2 cups for the pressure cooker; or a few inches for a steamer pot. In either case, don’t fill above the steamer rack. Lay a few extra corn husks on the bottom rack to keep the tamales from falling through and any boiling water from directly touching them.

Place the tamales standing upright, with their open end up, just tightly enough to keep them standing. If using a steamer pot, lay a few soaked corn husks over the top of the tamales before closing the lid.

Conventional Steamer Pot

Bring the water to a boil (in Mexico it is a common practice to place a coin at the bottom of the steamer and when the coin started to tap in the pot you know the water was boiling.) Set a timer for 50 minutes.

Pressure Cooker

Cook on Manual/High for 25 minutes. Allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, and then quick release.

Store leftover tamales in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

To freeze, allow the cooked tamales to cool, then place them in a freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Reheating

Reheat the tamales in a conventional steamer; or wrap chilled or frozen tamales in a few dampened paper towels and microwave until warmed through.  The wet paper towels will help them “steam” as they are reheated.

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