OMG Chickpea Nuggets!

This recipe, originally Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon, has taken internet blogs by storm.  Everyone speaks of this Veganomicon Chickpea/wheat gluten hybrid as if it’s better than God’s own supply of puffy cheeze balls.  Really, going fucking crazy about its deliciousness.  I have never made it before.  I made it today. 

I. love. these. nuggets. 

I think I’ve found the food I’m bringing to share at the picnic this Sunday. 

The chickpeas make them crispy on the outside; the vital wheat gluten makes them chewy on the inside.

Seriously. Good.

Chickpea nuggets

 

Red thought they were perfect little vessels for ketchup and mustard.  While I love drowning just about anything in a healthy helping of the red and yellow stuff, I thought that, in this case, the delicate and delicious balance of herbs and spices of the nuggets were overpowered by said red and yellow stuff.  In my opinion, they were perfectly complemented by something sweet.  In my case, honey.  But in the case of a vegan, perhaps agave nectar or maple syrup.  I’m thinking they will be fabulous fo deffs with some homemade BBQ sauce. 

Ingredients

  • 1 c cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c vegetable broth (or water)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (sub veggie worcestershire sauce or just some plain ol’ salt, I guess, if you need to be soy-free)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest (I didn’t have this and just squirted in a bit of lemon juice.)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • additional oil for frying or baking

Step one Mash the hell out of the chickpeas with the oil until there’s no identifiable chickpea matter left.

Step two Combine the rest of the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir through.  Add this to the mashed chickpeas.  Then add the wet ingredients and stir well to combine.  Knead the mixture in the bowl until the gluten strands begin to form and hold everything together (about three minutes).

Step three Divide the dough into little chunks and form them into little balls, then flatten into nugget shapes.  Rub a bit of olive oil on both sides of the nuggets and place them on a baking sheet.

Step four Bake for 20 minutes on 200C.  Flip nuggets and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes. 

Serve. 

Mmmm…

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Jerk Tofu

While we were in Essex this weekend, I brought my new Veganomion cookbook with me so that I could try out recipes in a fully stocked and equipped kitchen.  I realised, however, that a vegetarian’s ‘fully stocked’ kitchen is different from a non-vegetarian’s ‘fully stocked’ kitchen.  So I didn’t get to make any baked goods or even the recipes I truly wanted to test out, but I made do.  In fact, I chose a recipe that I thought Eddie (father-in-law) would appreciate for a Sunday roast dinner.  So, I wasn’t going to choose anything vegan-y exotic anyway.  I ended up making the Leek and Bean Cassoulet, but I didn’t take pictures, so no recap here as of yet.  It was quite tasty in the downhome-stodgy-starchy kind of way.  So, perfect really for a vegetarian Sunday dinner served to non-vegetarians.  It was a hit.

Anyway, I digress from the matter at hand.  I accidentally left my copy of Veganomicon in Essex.  Boo.  So I just found something from the PPK  to tide me over until I can get the cookbook back.  Jerk Tofu.  Served with a sweet potato and broccoli. 

Jerk Tofu

Now, I’ll be honest.  I don’t usually like component meals.  I like one-pot meals that incorporate everything a healthy vegetarian needs.  That is to say, I want my vegetables and my protein source to be handily contained in a single serving.  While this was certainly tasty, I don’t think I will be bothered to do it again.  I had to make the marinade way ahead of time so I could marinate the tofu for a couple hours.  Then I had to cook up the broccoli and sweet potatoes separately. 

Also, this meal calls for a lot of olive oil because the tofu is shallow fried.  So if you’re not looking for something greasy, this one’s not for you.  If you are, then proceed and be merry.  Although, it would probably be just as good if not better if it were baked in the oven instead of fried, so I might try that if I can be bothered to make the marinade again in the future.  It wasn’t really as big of a hassle as I’m making it out to be; I just can’t stress enough how little hindsight I tend to have and how little patience I therefore have for recipes that require me to start three hours before I want to eat.

Ingredients

  • 150g extra firm/firm tofu pressed for one hour

         for the marinade

  • 1/2 large white onion, roughly choppped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • juice of 2 limes
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (or one if you don’t want it too spicy)

Step one Put all marinade ingredients into a blender/food processer and whir until completely smooth.

Step two Cut the tofu up into pieces in the shape of your choice.  (I went with the uninspired rectangle.)

Step three Emerge tofu pieces in marinade and let sit for at least two hours.  If marinading overnight, place in refrigerator

Step four Heat 1/4-inch oil in a skillet and place tofu into skillet when it’s hot enough to make a sizzling sound.  Cook for eight minutes.  Use tongs to flip all the tofu pieces over.  Cook for another eight minutes.

Step five Remove tofu from oil and let dry on a paper bag or paper towels. Serve with accompaniments of your choice.

Sweet Potato Broccoli Spirali

I don’t really know what a ‘spirali’ is, and Google lends no assistance in finding its definition, but that’s what this dish is called in Slimming World’s Green Recipes cookbook.  I don’t usually cook from ‘diet’ cookbooks, but I received this one from Maggi when she was a Slimming World consultant.  It is pretty much a strictly vegetarian cookbook without being a ‘vegetarian’ cookbook.  I wonder if that’s because a dieting meat-eater’s mind will go, ‘NO!’ if you tell her/him that s/he must start eating vegetarian food to get healthy. 

Anyway, I digress.  

The recipe in the cookbook looks and sounds really odd.  It shouldn’t taste good, you see.  The flavour combinations are so bizarre.  You read the ingredients and think, ‘Where does the flavour come from?’  And you are then blown away by just how tasty the recipe is.  And then you’re blown away by just how healthy the recipe is while still managing to be really tasty.  And then you’ve added a new recipe to your arsenal of fall-back meals that are easy, cheap and healthy.

It ends up looking like slop, but it tastes wonderful.

Sweet Potato Broccoli Spirali

Ingredients

  • 2 medium- to large-sized sweet potatoes
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 7-ounces tomato passata
  • 6 spring onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4-inch ginger
  • 1tsp vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

Step one: Chop up sweet potatoes (roughly) and chuck them in some salted boiling water for 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside

Step two: Chop your broccoli head into big spears and chuck them in some other salted boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Step three: Heat vegetable oil in a pot and stir fry minced ginger and garlic and spring onions (cut into 1-inch pieces) for 3 minutes.

Step four: Chuck in the sweet potatoes, broccoli and passata.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir everything up so that the sweet potatoes break up and go all messy and mushy.  Make sure passata gets stirred through.  Cook until everything is warm (if you didn’t time steps one and two to end about the time you embarked on step three).

Step five: Serve sloppily.

 (Yields 2 large servings)

This recipe, although filled with veggies and no protein source and no grain, keeps me well full for several hours.  The original receipe called for skinning the potatoes, but a) I can’t be bothered with that and b) if I leave them on it means more fiber.  It truly is a great little dinner.  Make sure you go easy on the ginger, though!