Tag Archives: garbanzo

Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin, Sundried Tomato Bread!

I’ve been working on my baking with encouragement and inspiration from Somer at VegedOut and Annie of An Unrefined Vegan. These two ladies are ace bakers and manage to survive without eggs, milk and sometimes even wheat. Pastries are a little easier since lower protein flours have a good texture for cakes and cookies, but not bread. Bread is the one thing we can’t reliably get that’s gluten-free, vegan and tasty. Usually commercially available breads fit one or two of those three criteria. Therein lies my quest.

My early attempts at gluten-free vegan bread were unreliable and didn’t always rise properly so things have come up a few notches since then.

One of the big things was getting a stand mixer with a dough hook. I can knead bread myself, but this makes mixing much more consistent. I got a cheap used $55 3.5 quart stand mixer. I’ll probably get something nicer when this one goes, but for now it’s perfect for experimenting.

The biggest issues I find with gluten-free vegan bread is that it’s usually dry, crumbly and/or dense. I’m still struggling with these issues, but things are improving slowly but surely.

My ever evolving bread recipe is currently as follows.

1 cup garbanzo flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup teff flour

1/2 cup chopped sundried tomato

1/2 cup chopped nuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin pits (shelled)

1 tsp herbes de provence

1 tsp salt

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp yeast (or one packet)

1/4 cup flax meal

1 cup water, warmed slightly in the microwave

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup tinned unsweetened pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 300F/150C. I combine the dry ingredients (except for the yeast in a bowl. Mix them lightly.

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I combine the water (warmed) and dissolve the yeast in it and then put that and the rest of the wet ingredients including the pumpkin in the bowl of my trusty stand mixer and give it a quick mix on the lowest setting. Then I wait for 3-5 minutes until the yeast starts to activate and look bubbly.

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After that I start to add the dry ingredients one cup at a time until it’s all mixed and doughy. It’s usually pretty sticky but holds its form well. I plop that onto a floured baking sheet and quickly mold it into a loaf form. (I haven’t tried any other formation, but you’ll know when I do!)

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I slash the top of the loaf to allow some of the steam to escape. When I tried skipping that step I ended up with a loaf of bread that looks like it exploded in the oven. I baked this for 2 hours and then started checking every 5 minutes to see if it was cooked all the way through by checking to see if a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf came out clean.

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This bread is still a little dense, but the flavor and texture are getting there fast. We’ve been enjoying it for simple things like grilled ‘cheese’ or toast with jam or vegan cream cheese.

 

This is Christie, signing off!

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Tunaless Melt!

This could have made an amazing sandwich but it made an awesome wrap. I’ve been missing tuna melts, not for the fishy tinned tuna but for the melty goodness and crunchy celery. To make the filling I combined the following:

1 32oz tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp vegan mayo

1 cup of chopped celery

1/2 chopped onion

a generous pinch each of tarragon and thyme

1 tbsp marmite or vegemite

salt and flake red pepper to taste

I started by adding the celery and onion and microwaving it until the onion was soft.

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I actually used a fork to mush the chickpeas. I liked the texture it provided since it reminded me more of real tuna that way. Once it was all mixed together, I microwaved it until it was hot and then adjusted the seasoning.

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We combined this on a wrap with some Daiya cheddar which we melted by microwaving and then topped with some spinach and tomato. It hit the spot, EXACTLY!

This is Christie, signing off!

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The Good Bean!

I love discovering vegan snacks! They are usually products that I would have never taken a second look at before going vegan. I found this particular product while I was in Toronto:

The Good Bean is based in Berkeley, CA, so it’s funny that I discovered them in another country. (There is only one store near me that sells their products and it’s a store that I have never been to.) The packaging tells you everything you need to know about their snacks: lots of protein, high in fiber, gluten free, and non-GMO.

I tried the sweet cinnamon flavor. It has a very subtle cinnamon flavor that is well balanced with vanilla as well as a nice hint of salt. The beans themselves are as hearty as you would think, which means that you’re not likely to eat the whole bag in one sitting. Yum!

Check these out if you get a chance. They’re simply a fun and healthy snack! –Melissa

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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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