Tag Archives: chickpeas

Nacho Mac&Cheese: Not your Ordinary Mac and Cheese.

This was an evening when the man-meat and I just wanted to chill out so we made something super fast. Brent prepared the pasta (as I’ve noted in previous posts, I can’t be trusted with parts of a meal that require patience) and I added a tablespoon of olive oil and about 2 cups of chickpeas (1 cup of dry beans, soaked or 1 can, drained) and fried them lightly with some chili powder.

To this I added a tin of diced tomatoes. I used a tin of “Rotel” mild with diced green chilis.

After this was looking and smelling amazing we shredded some basil (cilantro would have been better but we didn’t have any) into it and then added the cheese. You can also add some nutritional yeast for a flavor boost and nutrients.

This cheese is called “Ste. Martaen” and we used their pepperjack variety. I don’t like this cheese for eating: I find the texture disturbing. It’s great for cooking since the flavors are fabulous and it melts well. It’s made with an agar base (that’s a seaweed based gelatin, very sustainable and low calorie) As you can see, we’ve got a cheesy mass of chickpeas and tomato that’s still very low in calories, cholesterol free and high in nutrients like protein, vitamin C, and fiber and we haven’t even added the quinoa pasta yet!

This is the finished product. We devoured it and vowed to make it again. The creamy sauce was spicy and cheesy and the bite of the peppers was balanced by the smooth chickpeas and mellow tomato.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Cooking Challenge: Chicken/Chickpea Piccata

My sister and I have started a cooking challenge of sorts. We take a dish and then, together, make two versions of it: vegan and non-vegan. It has solved two problems for us. First of all, she has three kids that keep her busy and so we aren’t able to spend as much time together anymore. Cooking is something that she has to do for her family and that we both enjoy doing, and it’s a fun way for us to hang out and be productive at home. Secondly, it solves the problem of having to accommodate my vegan diet. Last week, we made two versions of chili (we used Christie’s recipe for the vegan version) and two versions of sausage balls (vegan recipe will be posted pending further experimentation and satisfactory results). This week, we made chicken piccata and chickpea piccata.

Chickpea Piccata

1 16oz can garbanzo beans, drained
1 sliced shallot
5 or 6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 cups vegetable broth (I used two packets of Swanson Vegetable Flavor Boost and 1 cup water)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup capers
juice of half a lemon, save the other half for garnish or to spritz fresh lemon juice on the dish after plating
3-4 cups spinach
olive or safflower oil
salt and pepper

Heat up the oil in pan. Brown the shallots and garlic. Then, add the breadcrumbs and mix until the crumbs are toasty.

Add the broth, wine, salt, and pepper. Let it heat to a rapid boil until it’s reduced a bit. Then, add the chickpeas and capers. Once it is all heated through, add the lemon juice and remove from heat. Top it with the spinach, which should wilt nicely. Piccata dishes are great with pasta, mashed potatoes, probably even with rice. We used spaghetti.

I tried a bit of my sister’s chicken piccata. Both dishes turned out tasty. I’ll go ahead and say that in my completely biased opinion, I liked mine better. Both recipes were easy and used ingredients that we are both likely to have on hand at any given time. The vegan version cooked more quickly, and it’s a plus that undercooked chickpeas aren’t potentially life-threatening. Bonus: no cholesterol in the vegan version. I think I will be making this recipe many times.

Cooking is always more fun and satisfying when you share it with someone you love! XOXO… Melissa

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Beans, beans, the musical, magical fruit! … and hummus.

People often tell me that being vegan is too expensive or they can’t fit it in their budget. Being vegan can be really expensive if you eat a lot of prepared foods but cooking from scratch makes vegan meals cheaper and healthier. I’ve recently been converted to dry beans. These are the reasons why.


1. Dry beans are cheaper. A 1 pound bag of beans costs about as much as 1 can of beans and makes 3-4 cans volume of beans. I pay $0.79-$2.79 for a 1 pound bag and $0.89-$3.19 for a can. Jeepers H Crackers, that’s ridiculous! You can’t even get chicken that cheap. Check out my before (above) and after (below) pictures of some soaked chickpeas.


2. It saves space. A bag of dried beans take up less room in your kitchen than the 3-4 cans of beans you might otherwise purchase. They’re also lighter to carry around and won’t hurt if you drop the bag on your foot or head from a high shelf. (I’m a klutz… don’t judge me.) This is a pound of beans beside a can of beans.


3. It also saves space in landfills and energy costs for transportation. The empty plastic bag from beans versus 3-4 BPA-plastic lined tin cans with paper labels means less energy allocated to transporting and recycling and less space in garbage dumps.
4. There’s WAY more variety in the dried beans section of my supermarket than the canned beans section. I like variety.
5. Dried beans don’t contain preservatives or salt. You can also control what you add to the beans. I use distilled water but only because I’m not sure if my municipality uses hexafluorosilicic acid (an industrial waste derived from the production of aluminum metal and phosphoric acid) to fluoridate local tap water. I’d rather not add diluted industrial waste to my food. Yeah, I’m weird like that.
6. Dried beans taste better and aren’t as mooshy as canned. I find I have to add canned beans last in chili recipes because they fall apart when you stir them. Dried beans are firm enough to stand up to vigorous mixing and haven’t lost their flavor to the liquid they’re canned in.
7. There’s also more control with cooking. If I’m only going to be cooking for a couple of people and still want to use 3 different kinds of beans, that’s all I’ll have to prepare. No opened tins with plastic over them in my fridge potentially waiting to spoil and be wasted. 1 cup of dried beans translates to about 1 can.
8. Dried beans are incredibly easy to prepare. There’s no can opener and no sharp edges on the lid or can for you, your little ones or your family pet (who inevitably will get into your garbage pail…) to cut themselves on. I set them in a bowl in my kitchen sink the night before. I see the bowl when I put my dishes from breakfast in the sink the next morning. I am then reminded to fill the bowl with water, cover it and go to work. When I get home, my beans are ready to start cooking. What I’m saying is. if you can put water into a bowl, you can use dried beans.

So you might be wondering what I’m going to do with that HUGE bowl of chickpeas. This post is really about hummus. All you need is the following:
1 cup of dry chickpeas, soaked OR 1 can of drained chickpeas (save some of the liquid from soaking or the can)
juice from 1 lemon
3-8 garlic cloves
1 heaping tbsp tahini (optional but recommended)

I’m adding a generous handful of fresh basil and sundried tomato… for fun. You can add anything: roasted red peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, cucumber and dill… whatever.

Put it all in your blender or food processor and blend until you like the texture. If you need more liquid, add some of the liquor from the soaking or from the can. Voila! Hummus. I sprinkle mine with some smoked paprika powder and ate it with my own sesame ginger carrot crackers. Yeah, I make my own crackers.  Wanna learn how to make those too?  Some day… some day.

I wish you could taste how delicious this hummus is. The spicy basil and garlic are amazing with the mellow sundried tomato on the backdrop of creamy chickpeas and tahini. Let me know what combo you dream up for hummus and tell me how you like it. I want to make MOAR!

This is Christie, signing off.

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I’m Fallin’ For Falafel

I love me some falafel. I am so happy it’s vegan. Falafel is ground chickpeas that are seasoned, formed into balls (heehee… balls) or patties and then deep-fried. Chickpeas are yummy, versatile, and seriously nutritious. I refer to them as garbanzo beans. Growing up, garbanzos were added to some Filipino dishes such as menudo.

I had never noticed garbanzo flour in the grocery store until I sought it out after seeing (or rather, smelling) something delicious that one of my co-workers brought for lunch. I grabbed some Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour, which is even more versatile than the bean itself. You can use it in place of traditional flour for baking. You can also use it to make hummus and falafel.

I decided to try making falafel patties. After all, the recipe was on the package and I had all the ingredients. So… why not? Visit their site for the recipe, which is super easy and great for experimentation. I opted to fry some of the patties in safflower oil and bake the rest. The ones in the back are fried; the ones up front that seriously look like peanut butter cookies were baked (in the toaster oven, natch’).

These were so easy to make. The fried ones had a better texture and were slightly – very slightly more delicious, but the baked ones were great, too. There’s really no way to go wrong with this recipe.

I didn’t have any pita so I ate them with white rice, which is always available in my house. We had leftover hot sauce from a pita place, which was GREAT. So what will I do differently next time? I’ll use fresh ingredients next time: parsley, cilantro, garlic. Definitely more garlic, as well as a tad more salt. And I’ll buy or make some tahini next time, too. Oh, delicious.

I can’t wait to use the garbanzo bean flour to make other foods! Yay. Happy eating, everyone… Melissa

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